The Workers Compensation Research Institute recently conducted a study that documented medical payments per claim involving an employee who lost a total of seven days of work. Out of the 18 states that participated in the study, the state of Wisconsin ranked first among all the participating states from 2014 to 2019.
Various factors put the Badger State on top
According to an analysis published in CompScope Medical Benchmarks for Wisconsin, 22nd Edition, various factors played a significant role in the cost increases. Those include the following:
- Medical inflation
- Hospital consolidations
- Characteristic changes
- Claims severity
Another aspect of the study provided revelations in the form of some surprising statistics during the five-year period studied. Once again, most of the data surrounded costs:
- Prices for professional services increased three percent, an amount similar to other states that lack medical fee schedules
- Outpatient services payments increased five percent per year
- Charges per service rose four percent from 2014 to 2018, with the increase doubling to eight percent in 2019
In addition to increases in Wisconsin hospital rates of four percent annually, nonhospital services were higher than expected. That resulted in significantly higher medical payments per claim, particularly when compared to other states in the study.
In the category of common outpatient surgical episodes, those also ranked highest of all the states participating in the study. Many see that as an outgrowth of Wisconsin having zero regulations when it comes to professional or hospital fees that have medical fee schedules.
Regardless of the costs associated with work-related injuries that require hospitalization, employees injured on the job are entitled to the best of care and benefits to cover the ever-growing prices.