The Proportion of Work-Related Emergency Department Visits Not Expected to Be Paid by Workers’ Compensation: Implications for Occupational Health Surveillance, Research, Policy, and Health Equity

Source: Matthew R. Groenewold, Sherry L. Baron, Health Services Research, Article first published online: May 13, 2013
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From the abstract:
Objective: To examine trends in the proportion of work-related emergency department visits not expected to be paid by workers’ compensation during 2003–2006, and to identify demographic and clinical correlates of such visits.

Principal Findings; A substantial and increasing proportion of work-related emergency department visits in the United States were not expected to be paid by workers’ compensation. Private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and workers themselves were expected to pay for 40 percent of the work-related emergency department visits with this percentage increasing annually. Work-related visits by blacks, in the South, to for-profit hospitals and for work-related illnesses were all more likely not to be paid by workers’ compensation.

Conclusions; Emergency department-based surveillance and research that determine work-relatedness on the basis of expected payment by workers’ compensation systematically underestimate the occurrence of occupational illness and injury. This has important methodological and policy implications.