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Physical therapy in workers comp may increase due to COVID-19

Posted On: Dec. 9, 2020 1:00 PM CST


Increases in pre- and post-surgery physical therapy in workers compensation and longer therapy durations may be a trend in 2021 as a result of surgical procedures postponed due to the pandemic, according to a report released Tuesday by workers comp managed care organization MedRisk LLC.

The King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based company predicts that more injured workers will be referred to physical therapy to help them prepare for postponed surgeries, and that the duration of PT may be extended due to delayed medical care.

This trend could continue as COVID-19 cases spike again, forcing state closures, and workers with soft-tissue injuries that don’t receive timely PT may result in higher medical and indemnity costs than similar claims without delays in treatment, according to the report.

Sharp increases in depression, anxiety and substance abuse in the U.S. may also lead to delayed recovery, MedRisk said.

“Insurers, (third-party administrators) and employers need to prepare for the long-term impact of COVID on the duration of care and total medical costs,” Mary O’Donoghue, MedRisk’s chief operations officer, said in a statement.

More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.