Outpatient services driving up comp costs: Report

Payments for outpatient facility services in workers compensation drove up the cost of medical payments per claim by 6.6% from 2014 through 2018, according to a report issued Thursday by the National Council for Compensation Insurance.

Overall, the cost of medical payments per claim rose 7.5% during that period, NCCI reported.

Comprising approximately one-fifth of medical costs, hospital outpatient payments account for an “increasingly significant” share of medical expenditures, Boca Raton, Florida-based NCCI reported.

Medical advancements such as faster-acting anesthetics and less-invasive procedures have allowed more surgeries to be performed in an outpatient setting, such as a hospital or ambulatory surgical center, according to the report.

Overall, inpatient and outpatient facility services comprised 40% of medical benefits in 2018, NCCI reported.

As a cost-control measure, and to ensure access to hospital services, some states have implemented fee schedules that have established maximum allowable reimbursements and rules for outpatient services in workers comp, according to NCCI.

This article was first published in Business Insurance.

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