Cambridge, MA – The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) recently released an updated version of its study that helps compare prices paid for medical professional services across 36 states and monitor price changes from 2008 to 2019.
The study, WCRI Medical Price Index for Workers’ Compensation, 12th Edition (MPI-WC), focuses on professional services (evaluation and management, physical medicine, surgery, major and minor radiology, neurological testing, pain management injections, and emergency care) billed by physicians, physical therapists, and chiropractors. It shows how prices paid for these services compare across states, how the prices have changed, and whether price growth is part of a broader phenomenon or unique to a state. The study also discusses the price comparison results and price trends in relation to the principal policy mechanism for regulating prices—fee schedules.
Among the study’s findings:
- Prices paid for a similar set of professional services varied significantly across states, ranging from 28 percent below the 36-state median in Florida to 165 percent above the 36-state median in Wisconsin in 2019. Prices paid in states with no fee schedules were higher than in states with fee schedules.
- Most states with no fee schedules experienced faster growth in prices paid for professional services compared with states with fee schedules—the median growth rate among the non-fee schedule states was 34 percent from 2008 to 2019, compared with the median growth rate of 7 percent among the fee schedule states.
- Seven study states (Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia) had substantial changes (i.e., an increase or a decrease of 10 percent or more) in overall prices paid following major fee schedule changes during the study period.
“This study will provide a baseline for policymakers and other system stakeholders to observe any effects the current COVID-19 pandemic might have on medical prices in workers’ compensation across states and over time,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel. “This study is instructive for states that implemented or are considering a fee schedule change in the future as the study shows the effect of changes and interstate comparisons.”
This edition covers 36 states that represent 88 percent of the workers’ compensation benefits paid in the United States. These states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The authors of the study are Dr. Rebecca (Rui) Yang and Dr. Olesya Fomenko.
Download the free report: WCRI Medical Price Index for Workers’ Compensation, 12th Edition (MPI-WC).