Workers’ Comp Poll Finds Mixed Review on Treatment Ratings
Seventy-eight percent of injured workers who filed for workers' compensation were satisfied with their medical treatment, while medical providers who treated injured workers were likely to be dissatisfied with the system's regulations, according to a state-funded report released on Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The study was commissioned by the state Division of Workers' Compensation and conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Researchers last year polled about 1,000 injured workers and about 1,000 medical professionals for the study.
The report will be sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and the Legislature to help them assess the impact of state workers' compensation reforms that have reduced costs by about 60%, according to the Chronicle.
The study also found that respondents who required 10 or more physician visits were almost twice as likely as the sample to be dissatisfied with the system.
Of those respondents who required 10 or more visits:
- 42% were African-American;
- 29% were white;
- 26% were Asian American; and
- 25% were Hispanic.
The study also found that whites were the least dissatisfied with their treatment, while workers in other subgroups were nearly twice as dissatisfied.
Gerald Kominski, a UCLA health policy researcher and the report's principal author, said the report could not explain the racial and ethnic disparities without further study.
The study found that among medical providers:
- 20% intend to decrease the number of workers' compensation patients they accept;
- 14% plan to quit the system;
- About 19% will increase the size of patients; and
- The remainder will not make any changes.
The most common causes for complaint among those providers who plan to decrease their practices were lower fees, too much paperwork and utilization review.
Kominski said the results were not surprising due to workers' compensation reforms that prevented physicians from prescribing treatments at will, reduced medical fees, and permitted insurers and employers to order a utilization review to get a second opinion for a physician's diagnosis (Abate, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/23). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.