Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 11:30

A new study from the California Workers’ Compensation Institute shows the steep drop in the number of inpatient hospitalizations involving injured workers in the state over the past decade was largely due to the ongoing decline in spinal fusions and a more recent decline in lower extremity joint surgeries.

The CWCI study reviews discharge data compiled by the state Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development on 35.9 million inpatient hospital stays from 2010 through 2019 paid by workers’ compensation, Medicare, Medi-Cal and private insurance, to identify workers’ comp inpatient trends and to compare the volume and types of California inpatient hospitalizations covered by workers’ comp to those covered by the three other systems.

Workers’ comp is by far the smallest of the medical delivery systems reviewed, accounting for 0.4% of all inpatient stays in 2019, not surprising given that it has only accounted for between 1.4% and 1.6% of California healthcare costs over the past decade, according to CWCI.

“However, over the same 10-year span the study found that the number of workers’ comp inpatient hospitalizations declined 36.2 percent, more than twice the 15.9 percent decline noted for private coverage, and in sharp contrast to the 4.0 percent increase in Medicare and the 14.5 percent increase in Medi-Cal hospitalizations,” CWCI stated.

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