A new study by the Workers' Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found the likelihood of injured workers getting back surgery, under workers' compensation, depends upon the geographic location where they seek treatment for their back pain.
The study, Why Surgery Rates Vary, found that 1/5 of the injuries covered by workers' compensation are back injuries. And while the injuries are common in workers' compensation, the best way to treat the injury (either through surgery or conservative measures) lacks consensus between the providers in different states. The study found the surgery rates were affected by each of the following, "more surgery-intensive local practice norms, higher reimbursement rates for surgery, and more surgeons in an area." As the stated in the study, " nearly 20 percent of injured workers with back pain had surgery in Oklahoma and Tennessee. By contrast, less than 10 percent of workers in California and Florida with the same diagnoses had surgery."