Administrative Delays and Chronic Disability in Patients With Acute Occupational Low Back Injury

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Abstract

Objectives:

This study assessed whether an organizational factor, delays to claim acceptance or administrative delays, had an influence on outcomes for individuals with acute back injuries in the workers' compensation system.

Methods:

Multivariate logistic regression was used to test whether individuals who experienced administrative delays were more likely to develop chronic disability than those who did not experience delays.

Results:

Beyond the first 2 weeks, each interval of administrative delay was associated with increased odds of developing chronic disability. Injury severity, physician experience and weeks to medical treatment were additionally very strong predictors for the development of chronic disability.

Conclusions:

Insurers, employers, and policy makers can significantly reduce chronic disability if controls are adopted to reduce administrative and treatment delays and to direct workers to experienced clinicians.

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