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Illinois Workers’ Compensation Fee Schedule Changes Result in Lower Prices Paid; Costs of Medical Payments Decreasing, Says New Study
Date:10/28/2013

Cambridge, MA (PRWEB) October 28, 2013

The costs of medical care to treat injured workers in Illinois are declining, the result of regulatory change enacted in 2011, according to a new study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

The report, Benchmarks for Illinois, CompScope™ 14th Edition, finds medical payments per claim, for claims with more than 7 days of lost time, decreased five percent in 2011. The study reports the decline likely reflected the early impact of the 30 percent reduction in fee schedule rates for medical services.

“The study will help policymakers and other stakeholders to observe and evaluate key metrics of system performance change in Illinois and compare this with the expectations and goals for the reforms,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s deputy director and counsel.

In particular, prices paid for professional services to physicians, physical/occupational therapists, and chiropractors were directly affected by the reduction in the fee schedule rates, declining 24 percent between 2010 and 2012.

Prices paid for all types of services fell in Illinois, including office visits, major surgery, physical medicine, pain management injections, and minor radiology, according to the study.

The study also noted medical cost containment expenses per claim, such as the costs of bill review, case management, and utilization review, rose moderately at five percent in 2011 after little change in the prior year.

The 2011 reforms also focused on some of the large cost drivers behind wage replacement payments—indemnity benefits—particularly the duration of temporary disability, by setting limits on the duration of benefits for carpal tunnel injuries and wage differential benefits.

In the years prior to the enactment of the
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