Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the number of lost time days and cost of workers’ compensation claims at a median claim duration (maturity) of 25 months for individuals injured between August 1, 2003, and July 31, 2004, who chose a statewide (Louisiana) network (Omnet Gold) of healthcare providers not subject to utilization review.
Methods: We identified and contrasted 176 lost time claims (143 closed) managed by Omnet Gold (OG) healthcare providers and 1464 lost time claims managed by healthcare providers not participating in OG.
Results: The average frequency of lost workdays for a closed OG claim was 53 days versus 99 days for a closed non-OG claim and the average cost of a closed OG claim was $12,554, whereas the average cost of a closed non-OG claim was $20,400. Both days lost from work and costs were significantly lower among claims managed by OG healthcare providers. This outcome was consistent with the findings of a previous study performed on the same claims in which a significant difference was demonstrated analyzing primarily open (unresolved) claims with a median claim duration of 6 months. The ability of OG healthcare providers to return a higher proportion of injured workers to work early and shorten claims durations were the major factors influencing these outcomes.
Conclusions: In a state where claimants are permitted choice of medical provider, a network of healthcare providers can achieve superior lost time and cost outcomes than out of network healthcare providers.