Texas Workers Comp Payments Are Lowering
The state of Texas workers comp payouts decreased for the first time in years. According to WCRI, the payments decreased overall by 4%. This is a very large one year decrease in the current Workers Comp environment.
Texas enacted a large group of workers comp reforms in 2008. As I have mentioned often, the results of a reform measure will not usually appear fully until three to four years after a new law or court case changes the WC environment in a certain state.
Medical payments decreased by 2%. I decided to look into this further as there seemed to be a few variables that were not mentioned as hospital network payments had actually increased. I found this article on a major impact of the Texas reforms.
The article said it best –Evidence-based treatment guidelines are one method used to control medical costs in the workers’ comp system.The Texas Department of Insurance announced that, as of May 2007, use of the Official Disability Guidelines – Treatment in Workers’ Compensation was required for the treatment of all injured workers not covered by a certified health care network.
Low back injuries — decreases for the likelihood of surgery, physical medicine, chiropractic manipulation, other radiology, or an injection; a decrease in the number of visits for physical medicine, chiropractic manipulation, other radiology or injections; an increase in the number of services per visit for physical medicine; and a decrease in the number of services per visit for chiropractic manipulation.
I found it interesting that WCRI itself had said in the original article the recession had an effect on the WC environment. However, an article on the WCRI website written by Risk & Insurance on the same WCRI study pointed out what I consider the real reason for the decrease in benefits.
Having better medical control of the low back injuries was likely the cause for the decreased payouts on both indemnity and medical benefits.
One area that I disagreed with the original WC article by WCRI is the recession is the cause of any decrease in indemnity payments. As I am originally from that part of the country, I can attest that there is an oil boom of sorts in TX that would easily offset any effects of a recession.
©J&L Risk Management Inc Copyright Notice