2021 Outlook

2021 Outlook

Industry Trends Report

MedRisk has always been dedicated to understanding and advancing best practices. Those best practices have proven to be even more critical for a nation struck by a global pandemic. By sharing the most meaningful changes we’ve seen in the wider community over the last year and the insights into where PT for workers’ comp is going next, we hope to make an even larger impact on increasing patient-focused care and improving return-to-work success for patients, providers and employers alike.

MedRisk By the Numbers


of top WC payers trust MedRisk’s managed PT


of network providers agree with MedRisk clinical recommendations


patient satisfaction


lay-offs or furloughs during COVID-19 shut down


Hours to Scheduling


Days to Initial Evaluation


Total Network Providers


Injured Workers Treated

The Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 has had an incalculable impact on the health and wellbeing of everyone. The following broad trends within the wider healthcare industry are expected to have significant impacts on managed physical therapy in workers’ comp.


weeks of surgical backlog

In March, the American College of Surgeons recommended suspending non-emergency and elective surgeries in the interest of patient safety and the redeployment of resources. Analysts estimate the resulting backlog of these surgeries and related medical procedures (including post-surgical physical therapy) will take nearly a year to bounce back from.

40 %

of US adults struggling with mental & behavioral health

Depression, anxiety, trauma- and stressor-related disorders (TSRD), suicide ideation, and substance use all increased significantly by June 2020 due to the pandemic. Some researchers estimate depressive disorders are four times what they were for the same period in 2019.

123 %

increase in opioid overdoses

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), more than 40 states have reported a significant increase in opioid-related deaths this year compared to 2019, highlighting the critical importance of effective alternative treatment paths such as PT and other conservative care approaches.

Responding to Evolving Needs



Telerehab & COVID-19

  • COVID-19 brought a surge of renewed interest in telemedicine for a variety of services and physical therapy was no exception. MedRisk’s well-established telerehab program saw a 1,772% increase in volume during the months of March, April and May compared to last year.
  • Telerehab volumes leveled out in the summer months but remained a popular choice for patients with concerns about the safety of in-clinic care.
  • As winter cases of COVID-19 continue to go up, MedRisk anticipates telerehab volumes will spike again, especially in harder-hit areas of the country.
  • CASE STUDY: Chris Beurmann expected to go for PT after rotator cuff surgery for a work-related injury. Then COVID-19 happened, and the area clinics were suddenly closed. See how emergency telerehab (in a case that wouldn’t normally have qualified for remote treatment) had unexpected results. Read the Case Study

Patient Education

Patient Education

Patient Education & COVID-19

  • MedRisk’s proactive management of patient treatment identified early on an uptick in anxiety and concerns about COVID-19 and attending in-clinic treatment for physical rehabilitation.
  • Based on clinical expertise, MedRisk knew delays to treatment could adversely impact the patient and the total claims outcome.
  • MedRisk quickly leveraged its PTConsult program to reach out to patients who had disengaged from rehabilitation treatment or who were hesitant to start treatment to offer guidance and support.
  • The proactive intervention now incorporates clinical guidelines from the CDC and key metrics from MedRisk’s International Scientific Advisory Board that determine functional status and current and future risk. The enhanced service helps guide patients, nurse case managers and claims adjusters in decision making. Read the Press Release

Pioneering Managed PT

Pioneering Managed PT

Predictive Analytics and Proactive Interventions

MedRisk is now combining predictive analytics and proactive clinical interventions which have had an overwhelmingly positive impact on total claim outcomes:

  •  15-21% reduction in PT costs
  • 21-23% reduction in medical claim costs
  • 3-18% fewer opioid prescriptions
  • 10-20% fewer litigated claims
  • 23-25 day faster return to work

Legislative Updates






Research and Insights