The California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) has reported that recent studies show that hospitalizations through workers’ compensation benefits and programs have declined in California across the last 10 years. According to their information, the CWCI says that workers’ comp hospitalizations have dropped more than 36% since 2010.
Why there has been a decline is not immediately clear but the CWCI predicts it has to do with a drop in recommended surgeries. Both spinal fusions and hip or leg joint surgeries have been prescribed with reduced frequency in recent years as alternative treatments have become more widely available. To this end, injured workers who are taken to the hospital following a workplace accident can receive adequate treatment with shorter hospitalizations or outpatient procedures.
Other Factors Contributing to the Decline
CWCI researchers also noted that workers’ comp inpatient treatments might have also dropped due to a crackdown on healthcare fraud. Double-billed payments for spinal surgery implantations were reportedly a significant enough problem that pursuing more criminal cases against healthcare fraudsters in the last decade impacted the total number of hospitalizations.
On the brighter side, the research also showed that work injury claims were filed with less frequency overall. Although, a reduced amount of workers’ compensation claims does not mean that there have been fewer work injuries. It might only indicate that fewer workers are being provided workers’ compensation coverage or understand how to use the coverage that they have. The advent of the “gig economy” comprised of temporary jobs like rideshare services has caused a measurable drop in employees compared to independent contractors, who are generally not provided workers’ compensation benefits.
Use Your Workers’ Comp Benefits If You Can
As mentioned, part of the reason for the decline in workers’ compensation-related hospitalizations could be due to employees not understanding that they can even file for workers’ comp benefits. If you have been hurt at work, do not wrongly assume that you have no options to seek medical treatments paid by your employer and their insurer. You should always take the time to at least speak with a local workers’ compensation to discuss what happened and explore your legal options.
At the Law Offices of Wax & Wax in Santa Clarita, California, we offer free initial consultations to inquiring workers’ comp clients. If you have been hurt at work and want to know what to do next, you can reach out to us by dialing (818) 946-0608 and without any need to reach for your pocketbook first.