Calif. Workers’ Comp Reforms Reducing Physical Therapy, Chiropractic Utilization

January 30, 2007

Workers’ compensation reform legislation has helped to reduce physical therapy and chiropracting manipulation in California, according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute.

CWCI recently completed a study analyzing changes in medical utilization and payments for outpatient services in California workers’ compensation following the adoption of Medical Fee Schedule revisions that occurred in 2002-2004. According to the analysis, there have been post-reform reduction in the average number of visits and average amounts paid for most outpatient medical services at 3, 6 and 9 months post injury.

The sharpest reductions were in physical therapy and chiropractic manipulation, “two areas where state lawmakers tried to control over utilization by implementing 24-visit caps, as well as utilization review,” CWCI said in a statement. Workers’ comp claims involving physical therapy treatments fell from about 40 percent prior to the reforms, to less than one-third of the claims in 2005. The drop in chronic manipulation was measured in about one in nine claims prior to reform, but dropped to about one in 25 claims after the reforms took effect, the study indicated.

For most treatment categories, levels of utilization declined after the reforms took effect.

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Source: CWCI

Latest Comments

  • March 17, 2007 at 9:10 am
    RI PT says:
    Arbitrary caps on PT utilization is not typically the most cost-effective solution. More emphasis on early intervention and timely return to functional activities (related to... read more
  • January 31, 2007 at 11:38 am
    WC expert says:
    Why dont they show what the treatment success rates are. Without appropriate and timely physical therapy the claimants will miss their treatment opportunity period and ultimat... read more
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