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MedRisk’s 2019 Industry Trend Report on Physical Medicine in Workers’ Compensation points to a need for careful management

MedRisk has published its 2019 Industry Trend Report on Physical Medicine in Workers’ Compensation. The report examines recent changes, including relevant legislation, regulation and research.

“The trend toward non-surgical treatment, fueled by recent conservative care studies and some states’ ‘PT-first’ initiatives, continues to impact the industry,” said MedRisk’s Chief Clinical and Product Officer Mary O’Donoghue, noting that MedRisk’s post-surgical physical therapy cases dropped by 26 percent over the last five years.

The report also discusses NCCI’s finding that the cost of physical therapy in workers’ compensation is nearly three times higher than in group health.

“While per-unit costs are slightly higher in comp, the vast majority of these costs come from utilization,” O’Donoghue said.  NCCI says that workers’ compensation patients receive 50 percent more visits with 20 percent more modalities per visit than group health counterparts.

“Physical therapy is prevalent and valuable in workers’ compensation, helping patients recover functionality, avoid opioids, and safely return to work,” O’Donoghue noted.  “Yet there’s a great need to carefully manage the quality and cost of care.”

MedRisk manages cases through evidence-based guidelines, patient education, initial consultations with a physical therapist, expert providers, PT-to-PT coaching, and clinical recommendations.  The company saw a 25 percent decrease in duration of care between 2015 and 2018.

“It’s not about arbitrarily limiting visits; it’s about clinical management, communication and technology that streamlines workflows,” O’Donoghue stressed.

The trend report can be accessed at

About MedRisk

Based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, MedRisk is the largest managed care organization dedicated to the physical rehabilitation of injured workers. One of the Inc. 5,000 fastest growing privately held companies for 13 consecutive years, MedRisk counts over 272,000 providers in its network and serves almost 500,000 injured workers every year. It holds direct contracts with more than 90 percent of the nation’s top workers’ compensation insurers and third-party administrators. MedRisk, which has successfully completed a SSAE 18 SOC Type 1 and 2 examination, ensures high quality care and delivers outstanding customer service. To that end, all customer service professionals, healthcare advocates and physical therapists are based in the U.S. For more information, visit or call 800-225-9675.