Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Increased Costs for Neck and Back Injuries Equals Increased Denials on Minnesota Workers' Compensation Claims

Apparently, there’s a new study that suggests that more U.S. health care dollars are spent on back pain and neck pain than almost any other medical condition. After adjusting for inflation, medical costs associated with back and neck pain increased by 65% between 1997 and 2005, to about $86 billion a year.

Back injuries are the most common work-related injury we see in our Minnesota workers’ compensation law practice. In one survey, one in four adults reported low back pain within the previous year.

According to a study published in the Feb. 13 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, the estimated annual individual expenditures among adults with back and neck problems were $4,695 in 1997 and $6,096 in 2005.

Some of the largest increases in costs related to neck and back treatment relates to prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical expenses related to back and neck pain increased by 188% between 1997 and 2005, and the cost of prescription narcotics increased 423%.

So what does this mean for Minnesota workers who have neck and back injuries? From what we have been seeing over the past couple years, it appears that workers’ compensation insurance adjusters are more aggressive in claim denials to reduce their per-claim expenditures, whether it be in their denials of primary liability, or in denying various treatments, including MRI’s, prescriptions, cortisone injections, or surgery for back and neck injuries.

Don’t ignore disputes over medical expenses with your workers’ compensation insurer!

If you are having difficulty procuring the medical treatment you need for your Minnesota workers’ compensation injury, contact Meuser & Associates, P.A., at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyers.
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