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The pandemic had no noticeable impact on medical treatment for injured workers who filed non-COVID-19 claims, according to a report released Thursday by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.
In a study comparing access to medical treatment for injured workers in the second quarter of 2020 compared with the same quarter in 2019, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based WCRI researchers found that the average number of days from injury to treatment changed less than 1.5% for nearly all types of treatment, including evaluation and management, the emergency room, physical medicine, pain management injections, major surgery and both minor and major radiology. The only access to neurological testing went above that threshold, with days from injury to treatment rising just 4% in the second quarter of 2020 compared with the same quarter in 2019.
Even in states hard hit by the pandemic early on — such as Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey — injured workers with non-COVID-19 claims did not experience longer wait times for treatment during the first half of 2020.
WCRI noted that for emergency room services, physical medicine, major surgery and neurological and neuromuscular treatment and testing during the first two quarters in 2020 saw slight improvements in wait time for claims compared with the same quarters in 2019.
Stability is a common theme in pre-COVID-19 workers compensation medical treatment cost trends across 18 states studied by the Workers Compensation Research Institute, according to a report released Thursday.