Examine the association between New York State Workers’ Compensation Medical Treatment Guidelines (Guidelines) adherence and return-to-work after occupational low back injuries. Assess adherence to Guidelines by examining diagnostic and treatment utilization.Method:
Retrospective chart review of cases. Outcomes of interest were lost time duration and diagnostic/treatment utilization rates. Time to event analyses performed using Kaplan–Meier plots and Cox proportional hazard model.Results:
Care received after implementation of Guidelines resulted in decreased lost time. Treatment rates were consistent, while diagnostic imaging use was inconsistent with Guidelines recommendations.Conclusions:
Guidelines use positively influenced return-to-work after acute occupational low back injuries. Inconsistencies in following Guidelines were observed for diagnostic tests, having a potential paradoxical effect on lost time. Further studies are necessary to test for additional hypotheses.