Time to First Medical Service—A WCRI FlashReport

By Rebecca (Rui) Yang, Karen Rothkin, Roman Dolinschi

November 28, 2023 Related Topics: Access to Care, COVID 19, Outcomes for Injured Workers

This study examines the time from injury to first medical service among injured workers across states before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Time to first service provides insights for the understanding of access to medical care for workers with injuries.

The focus of the analysis is on the median number of days from injury to first medical service by major type of provider (such as physicians, physical/occupational therapists, and hospitals); type of service, including emergency department visits, office visits, surgery, and physical medicine; and injury category, such as fractures, neurologic spine pain, and sprains and strains.

This report includes 17 states and covers the period from 2016 through 2021, with claims experience through March 2022, including non-COVID-19 claims from the first and second years of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020 through September 2021). We focus on claims with more than seven days of lost time and 12 months of experience.

Time to First Medical Service—A WCRI FlashReport. Rebecca Yang, Karen Rothkin, and Roman Dolinschi. November 2023. FR-23-02.

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Research Questions:

  • How long did it take after the day of injury for a worker to visit the emergency department or have an office visit?
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, did workers with injuries experience any delays in those early services?
  • How did time to first surgery change during the pandemic?

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