California: Costs for spine disorders exceed average costs for all injuries
The information is included in the CWCI's latest injury scorecard and is based on data from more than 30,000 California job injury claims from accident years 2001-11. The aggregate payments on the claims totaled more than $2.1 billion.
The top four diagnostic groups in the spine disorder category accounted for the following percentages of the claims:
- Conditions related to nerve or nerve root inflammation -- 36 percent.
- Disk displacement -- 19 percent.
- Lumbar region disk disorders involving the spinal cord -- 11 percent.
- Sciatica -- 10 percent.
Across the 11-year study, the average amount paid in California for a spine disorder claim was $70,284, which was more than five times the $13,875 average for all claims. The researchers said the "subjective components" associated with the cases are one explanation for the high costs. The majority of the injuries are identified as strains; many of which are cumulative injuries.
"Because of the high percentage of cumulative injuries, there are many potential areas for uncertainties and disputes -- everything from the date of injury to the cause, nature, extent, work-relatedness, and appropriate treatment of the injury," the report says. "As a result, attorneys are involved in 80 percent of all spine disorder lost time claims statewide compared to 48 percent of all indemnity claims in the state."
The researchers also said nearly eight out of 10 spine disorder claims result in lost time, which is more than twice the rate for all injuries. Two out of three of the claims end up as permanent disabilities, which is "quadruple the rate for all claims."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
May 10, 2012
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