Michigan provides better 'value proposition' for injured workers, employers
A report by the Workers Compensation Research Institute, Comparing Outcomes for Injured Workers in Michigan, compared Michigan with 10 other states in the context of this "key value proposition." Researchers found that outcomes for injured workers in Michigan were generally in the middle of the range on most measures.
The study juxtaposed worker outcomes in the areas of recovery of physical health and functioning, return to work, access to health care, and satisfaction with health care with data on the costs and utilization of medical care in each study state. On average, researchers found that employers in Michigan paid 27 percent less for medical care per claim with more than seven days of lost time than the median of the states studied, largely due to a lower than typical fee schedule.
Recoveries of injured workers in Michigan were in the middle of the range of states studied, according to WCRI. The average worker in the state received a typical amount of medical care and reported a typical physical recovery after his injury.
The study also found that workers in Michigan had return-to-work outcomes typical of the study states. Some 10 percent of employees reported never having returned to work, and 14 percent reported never having a substantial return to work -- one that lasted at least one month -- predominantly due to their injury as of 2 1/2 years postinjury. Workers typically returned to substantial employment about nine weeks after their injuries, putting Michigan in the middle of the group of states. Only 22 percent of employees did not have a substantial return to work one year postinjury, a better outcome, researchers said, compared to most other states studied.
Among the highlights of the report, WCRI found that:
- Most employees are satisfied with initial visit and provider. The majority of workers in Michigan reported that they were somewhat or very satisfied with the timeliness of their first visit to their initial and primary provider -- 83 percent and 79 percent for each measure, respectively. Only 14 percent of workers reported that they were very dissatisfied with how quickly they saw their primary provider after their injury, similar to the middle group of states (10 to 14 percent).
- Some employees complained of access to provider. Twelve percent of employees reported "big problems" in gaining access to the primary provider they wanted.
- Majority of workers were pleased with care. The majority of workers (82 percent) reported that they were somewhat or very satisfied overall with the care they received. Although approximately 10 percent said they were very dissatisfied with their medical care, researchers said this was still in the middle of the range of states studied.
- Few employees wanted to change provider. The state had among the lowest percentage of workers who wanted to change their primary provider due to dissatisfaction with their care, researchers said.
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November 23, 2009
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