Workers’ compensation health care facilities grew across all types of facilities and all regions of the United States over the past decade, with facility costs the largest driver of overall cost changes, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.
Nationally, facility costs made up about 40% of all comp costs and increased about 3% per year on average over the past 10 years, Boca Raton, Fla.-based NCCI said.
The report is the second in a planned four-part series examining the effects of macroeconomic factors such as inflation on total medical costs.
The new research shows that costs per worker’s compensation claim paid to health care facilities increased by 3.3% annually over the past decade.
A major driver of increased facility costs over the past decade was increases in the amount paid per visit, NCCI said.
“Hospital stays have declined significantly over the years, to about 3% annually,”; wrote Raji Chadarevian, NCCI’s executive director of actuarial research. “This has helped manage medical cost increases due to facility services.”
The exception was in the southeastern region of the country, where inpatient care was the largest contributor.
The most significant contributor to the cost increase for the facilities overall was hospital outpatient services, which the report defined as surgeries, emergency departments and “other,” which includes evaluation and management, radiology and physical therapy.