Back surgery among workers comp patients varies across states: 6 things to know

Anuja Vaidya -   Print  | Email

The likelihood of injured workers getting back surgery depends on the area of the country in which they seek treatment, according to a new study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute.

Here are six things to know:


1. According to the study, approximately one-fifth of the injuries covered by workers' compensation are back injuries.


2. The study examines workers in 13 states who had work-related back injuries. Researchers followed their medical treatment for one year from the date of their injury.


3. The study found that the frequency of surgery among workers with back injuries varies widely from state to state.


4. Nearly 20 percent of injured workers with back pain had surgery in Oklahoma and Tennessee. But less than 10 percent of workers in California and Florida with the same diagnoses had surgery.


5. Workers were more likely to have surgery in areas with more surgery-intensive local practice norms, higher reimbursement rates for surgery and more surgeons in the area.


6. These factors contributed to the variation in back surgery rates, even after controlling for case mix.


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