Industry Trends Report 2018

Physical Medicine and Workers’ Comp

As the leading provider of managed physical medicine for the workers’ compensation industry, MedRisk has always been dedicated to understanding and advancing industry best practices. Our commitment to delivering better return-to-work success for patients, providers and employers requires MedRisk to stay responsive to treatment and technology trends. We’ve compiled some of the more meaningful changes we’ve seen in the wider community over the last year, as well as the changes MedRisk has made in response to where we see managed physical medicine for workers’ comp going next.

MedRisk by the Numbers

MedRisk is the largest specialty managed care organization in the workers’ compensation industry
that is dedicated to physical rehabilitation.

Injured Workers


treated in 2018



Network Providers





U.S. Based

Service Model


of network providers agree with our clinical Recommendations



to Initial Evaluation


patient satisfaction

The Shift in
Managed Physical Medicine

For more than a decade, occupational injuries and overall workers’ compensation claim frequency have been on the decline—a development that has been attributed to a wide range of contributing factors, including advances in safety, automation and more. At the same time, there has been a steady increase in claims with PT involvement due in large part to mounting evidence that a PT-first approach can improve outcomes, is an effective alternative to opioids or surgery, and often results in fewer downstream costs. Specialty managed care programs with clinical expertise in the physical rehabilitation of injured workers will play an integral role in the future as employers, providers, claims administrators and insurers struggle to maintain focus on return-to-work goals in the face of varying treatment strategies.

Responding to Evolving Needs




  • Telerehab turns out to be integral in maintaining continuity of care in the aftermath of natural disasters. After Hurricane Florence, MedRisk expanded telerehab hours to accommodate injured workers in the impacted areas, keeping them on track with their physical rehabilitation programs.
  • Many injured workers have a hard time visualizing how such a hands-on medical service could possibly be delivered remotely. MedRisk’s patient experience video helps employers, patients and adjusters visualize exactly how telerehabilitation works.
  • MedRisk expands the reach of its on-site PT program with telerehabilitation. Large employers can now work with MedRisk to staff large facilities with an onsite MedRisk PT trained in delivering care via live video-conferencing. That PT can then deliver care to employers at smaller satellite offices across the country, delivering one consistent experience no matter where an employee is located.

New Evidence-based Guidelines

New Evidence-based Guidelines

New Evidence-based Guidelines

  • MedRisk relies on proprietary, evidence-based guidelines that provide recommendations for physical medicine that go beyond just the number of visits, considering everything from modality, timing, and surgery to chronicity, delayed treatment, complexity, and comorbidities.
  • The guidelines are developed by MedRisk’s International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB) which is made up of internationally recognized PTs, OTs, chiropractors, and MDs.
  • The ISAB meets annually to review the latest research and ensure MedRisk’s guidelines are up-to-date and responsive to changing evidence.
  • In 2018, MedRisk’s ISAB created the first vestibular therapy guidelines for treating injured workers suffering from post-concussion symptoms. Consequently, MedRisk released a new patient education sheet to help workers prepare for vestibular therapy.

Patient Education

Patient Education

Patient Education

Patient education can reduce fear and anxiety—two psychosocial barriers to recovery—and improve satisfaction. Watch the latest video addition to our Patient Advocacy Program:

Legislative Recap

MedRisk gathers the latest legislative and regulatory developments and challenges each quarter.
Here is a full summary of significant movements in 2018 and the implications for 2019.


CA Set to Adopt GPCIs

NY’s Revised Medical Fee Schedule

OH Requires PT-First over Surgery

WI Kills New Fee Schedule

TN Enacts Electronic Billing

VA Enacts HB 558 and Electronic Billing

IL Enacts Electronic Billing

NJ Enacts Electronic Billing

Research Insights