The Early Impact of COVID-19 on Medical Treatment for Workers’ Compensation Non-COVID-19 Claims

By Olesya Fomenko

July 22, 2021 Related Topics: Access to Care, COVID 19, Utilization

In our previous work, we examined the effect of the spread of COVID-19 along with the accompanying massive decline in economic activity on workers’ compensation claim composition. In this new report, we continue examining the early impact of the pandemic on workers’ compensation, shifting our attention to the timing and patterns of medical care delivery during the first quarters of 2020.

The focus of the study is on non-COVID-19 lost-time claims with injury dates in the first two quarters of 2019 (pre-pandemic) and 2020 (pandemic period). The study also examines the effect of the pandemic on timing of care for existing claims—claims with injury dates in the third and fourth quarters of 2019 as compared with experiences for claims with injury dates in the third and fourth quarters of 2018. This analysis includes non-COVID-19 claims with paid medical services for private sector workers and local government employees.

The study tracks changes in key measures describing medical service utilization patterns for workers injured in 27 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. These study states represent 68 percent of the workers’ compensation benefits paid in the United States.

The Early Impact of COVID-19 on Medical Treatment for Workers’ Compensation Non-COVID-19 Claims. Olesya Fomenko. July 2021. WC-21-24.

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Research Questions:

  1. Was time from injury to treatment for major types of medical services impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak?
  2. Did the share of claims with various medical service types change with the pandemic?
  3. Was the average number of visits provided impacted by the pandemic?
  4. Do we see different patterns of medical care access and delivery for the states in the Northeast, which were hardest hit by the outbreak early in the pandemic? Were some medical conditions impacted more than others?

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