States that do not have medical fee schedules for professional services workers tend to have much higher rates compared to states that do, according to updated findings from the Workers Compensation Research Institute.
WCRI on Thursday released the updated version of its ongoing study, the WCRI Medical Price Index for Workers’ Compensation, which looks at a variety of professional services billed by doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors who treat injured workers.
Researchers found that the prices paid for a similar set of professional services by comparison varied drastically among the 36 states that make up the study group, mostly depending on whether fee schedules are in place.
This ranged from 31percent below the median in Florida to 163 percent above the median in Wisconsin.
Researchers, who monitored price changes between 2008 and 2022, also found that many states saw significant price growth for evaluation and management services beginning in 2021, after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services revised its fee schedules and the American Medical Association updated its coding guidelines.
Professional services include evaluation, management, physical medicine, surgery, radiology, neurological testing, pain relief injections and urgent care.
The study said eight states that implemented major fee schedule changes during the study period — Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia — had significant changes in the total prices paid for medical services.
The 36 states in the study represent 87% of all compensation benefits paid in the US