Cambridge, MA – As vertical integration of medical providers has increased over the last decade, a new Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) study found that vertical integration results in more medical care, higher claim costs, and longer recovery among workers injured on the job.
“Supporters of vertical integration argue care can be delivered more efficiently and this translates into improved outcomes. Opponents argue that the rising concentration of medical providers may lead to higher payments for medical care, due to lack of competition, without improvements in outcomes. This study addresses these important issues,” said Ramona Tanabe, president and CEO of WCRI.
This study, Impact of Vertical Integration in Workers’ Compensation, examines how claim costs, disability duration, and the nature of care change when patients see newly integrated medical providers relative to non-integrated providers.
The following are some questions the study addresses:
- Did workers who were treated by vertically integrated providers have higher medical payments per claim and longer duration of temporary disability?
- Were the patterns and quantity of care impacted by the vertical integration status of the treating providers?
- How did the impact of vertical integration vary across main groups of injuries?
The analysis focuses on care provided to workers in 34 states who suffered a work-related injury between 2012 and 2018. It covers the main specialties of medical professionals who treat a large share of workers with injuries, including physicians and non-physicians.
The report was authored by Bogdan Savych and Olesya Fomenko.
For more information or to purchase: WCRI: Impact of Vertical Integration in Workers’ Compensation