| Peter Rousmaniere | 05/03/17

Does it matter who picks the doctor? The Workers Compensation Research Institute concluded in a report released last week that for the most part an insurer or employer will incur roughly the same claims costs for work injuries regardless if they occur in “employer choice” or “employee choice” states. It also opened the door to fruitful discussion of what does make a difference in claims outcomes.

To get to its conclusions, the research team had to neutralize a lot of factors that might bias its findings. This made large sections of the text as complex as you'll ever see in our field. I trust the researchers made the right decisions to answer fairly the question they put before them.

The report brilliantly succeeds in dashing surmises that these laws make much of a difference, on the whole. Contrary to what one might expect, when given the power to pick their doctors, workers do not cause medical and indemnity costs to soar. The idea of masses of knowing, self-maximizing injured workers who pull the levers to stay out and run up costs is a figment of the imagination.

Injured workers want the freedom to choose their doctors. Given what we now know, how would we justify keeping that freedom from them?

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