The Relationship of the Amount of Physical Therapy to Time Lost from Work and Costs in the Workers' Compensation System

Nina Leung, Xuguang Grant Tao, Edward Bernacki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Physical therapy (PT) is perceived as a cost driver in the US workers' compensation system. We conducted a 5-year (2013 to 2017) retrospective analysis utilizing 192,197 claims from a large Texas based workers' compensation insurance company to describe the relationship between the amount of physical therapy delivered and workers' compensation costs and lost-time. Closed, indemnity claims with 15 or more PT visits were six times more likely (95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.50, 86.58) to result in high medical costs (>$7000, excluding PT costs) and were four times more likely (95% CI: 3.77, 4.42) to result in more than or equal to 6 months of lost-time, when controlling for confounders. When the number of PT visits more than or equal to 15 visits for a lost time claim, this level of PT exceeds all other predictors (opioid use, comorbidities, legal involvement, surgery, etc) of medical cost and extended time out from work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-640
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Volume61
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Keywords

  • claim management
  • occupational injury
  • physical therapy
  • workers' compensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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