Cambridge, MA, Nov. 3, 2023 – During the first two years of the pandemic, medical payments per claim in Minnesota decreased 4 percent in 2020/2021, followed by a slight drop of 2 percent in 2021/2022, according to a new study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). This was mainly driven by decreases in utilization of medical services, likely related to the pandemic.

“Stay-at-home orders and temporary suspensions of nonemergency surgeries, coupled with delays and avoidance of medical care due to concerns about COVID-19, led to substantial decreases in medical services used by the general public,” said Ramona Tanabe, president and CEO of WCRI. “Issues with hospital capacity and labor shortages also hindered the delivery of medical services in the first two years of the pandemic.”

The study, CompScope™ Medical Benchmarks for Minnesota, 24th Edition, focuses on the payments, prices, and utilization of workers’ compensation medical care. It examines medical payments and care in Minnesota compared with 16 other study states, by type of provider, and by type of medical service. The study also analyzes how these metrics have changed over time from 2016 to 2021, with claims evaluated as of 2022. In some cases, we use a longer time frame to supply historical context.

The following are some other findings for Minnesota from the report:

  • Pandemic-related factors likely impacted the decreases in the percentages of claims with most hospital outpatient and nonhospital services as well as the number of services per claim in 2020 and 2021.
  • Prior to 2020, trends in payments for ambulatory surgery center facilities as well as hospital outpatient and inpatient services likely reflected the impact of several fee schedule changes.
  • Medical payments per claim in Minnesota were lower than in many study states, with most key components lower or typical.

The results reflect experience on claims through March 2022, including non-COVID-19 claims from the first and second years of the pandemic period (March 2020–September 2021). The study, therefore, provides a look at how the pandemic impacted non-COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims in the first two years of the pandemic.

For more information about this report or to download a copy, visit The report was authored by Rebecca Yang.


The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA. Organized in late 1983, the Institute does not take positions on the issues it researches; rather, it provides information obtained through studies and data collection efforts, which conform to recognized scientific methods. Objectivity is further ensured through rigorous, unbiased peer review procedures. WCRI's diverse membership includes employers; insurers; governmental entities; managed care companies; health care providers; insurance regulators; state labor organizations; and state administrative agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.


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