WCRI Medical Price Index for Workers’ Compensation, 15th Edition (MPI-WC)

By Rebecca (Rui) Yang, Olesya Fomenko

May 18, 2023 Related Topics: Medical Costs, Medical Price Index

This annual study compares prices paid for a similar set of medical professional services for treating injured workers across 36 states and monitors price changes from 2008 to 2022. The study focuses on professional services (evaluation and management, physical medicine, surgery, major and minor radiology, neurological testing, pain management injections, and emergency care) billed by physicians, physical and occupational therapists, and chiropractors. 

The objectives of this study are twofold. The first is to help policymakers and stakeholders conduct meaningful comparisons of prices across states and track the price changes in their states. The second objective is to discuss the price comparison results and price trends in relation to the principal policy tool for regulating prices—fee schedules.

This edition covers 36 states that represent 87 percent of the workers’ compensation benefits paid in the United States. These states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. 

The method for developing the MPI-WC is similar to that of the Consumer Price Index for medical care services (CPI-M) and Producer Price Index for Health Care Services (PPI), published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). All of these price indices measure changes in price while holding utilization constant over the period studied. However, the WCRI MPI-WC is an in-depth, independent measure that provides a more relevant benchmark of medical inflation in workers’ compensation.

WCRI Medical Price Index for Workers’ Compensation, 15th Edition (MPI-WC). Rebecca Yang and Olesya Fomenko. May 2023. WC-23-28.

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Research Questions:

  • How do prices paid for medical professional services for treating workers with injuries in my state compare with other states?
  • How are prices in my state changing?
  • Is the price trend in my state part of a national phenomenon or are the reasons unique to my state and, therefore, subject to local policy issues? 

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