Is Employer-Directed Medical Care Associated With Decreased Workers’ Compensation Claim Costs?

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The financial impact regarding choice of physician within the workers’ compensation domain has not been well studied.


The aim of this study was to assess the difference in claim cost between employee- and employer-directed choice of treating physician after injury.


Thirty-five thousand six hundred forty indemnity lost time claims from a 13-year period at a nationwide company were analyzed with multivariate logistic regression to determine the association of medical direction with risk of high-cost claims.


States that have employer-directed physician choice were associated with a lower risk of having high-cost claims (≥$50,000) but higher attorney involvement than employee direction. The net effect of this enhanced presence of attorneys offsets the benefits of employer choice of treating physician.


States that permit employer selection of treating physician have slightly higher cost due to the higher prevalence of attorney involvement in the claims process.

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