WCRI FlashReport—Time from Injury to Medical Treatment: How States Compare

By Carol A. Telles, William Monnin-Browder

July 31, 2018 Related Topics: Other

This study examines interstate differences in the time from injury to first medical treatment among injured workers. It focuses on the median number of days from injury to first medical treatment by type of provider, type of service, and type of injury across 18 study states. While the study was not designed to explain why differences in the timing of medical services exist, it offers some factors that may influence the differences, including workers’ compensation policy choices.

The study examines claims with more than seven days of lost time for injuries occurring from October 1, 2014, through September 30, 2015, evaluated as of March 31, 2016. The 18 states in the study are Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

WCRI FlashReport—Time from Injury to Medical Treatment: How States Compare. Carol A. Telles and William Monnin-Browder. July 2018. FR-18-02.

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Research Questions:

  • How much variation was there across states in the time from injury to first treatment for physical medicine and “specialty” services (such as surgery, major radiology, and pain management injections) across injury types?
  • Were there consistent patterns in time to first medical treatment; that is, did some states show shorter or longer time to treatment across injuries and services?
  • How much variation was there across states in the time from injury to first treatment for “entry” services, such as emergency, office visits, and minor radiology?

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