Negative Impact of Delaying Back Surgery Cases Confirmed in Recent Study
There has been quite a bit of discussion recently in the Georgia workers' compensation community about the harmful effects that injured workers experience when employers/insurers delay authorization of surgery. Susan J. Sadow and Heather D. Froy aggressively fight to make sure that our clients are able to get the surgery that they need as quickly as possible after a surgical recommendation has been made by their authorized treating physicians.
A recent study published in Clinical Spine Surgery confirmed the importance of early intervention in surgical cases. The study examined 227 workers' compensation patients in Ohio who underwent lumbar spine surgery from 1993 to 2013. The patients either received an operative decompression prior to or after one year of symptoms. The group that returned to work did so within two years and remained at work for at least six months.
Study authors found:
- Half of the patients who underwent decompression prior to experiencing symptoms for one year returned to work, compared to 30 percent of patients who had surgery after more than one year of symptoms.
- The study found that the time it took before injured workers were able to undergo surgery was a significant negative predictor of return to work status.
- The patients who underwent surgery early cost the system an average of $37,332 less than patients who underwent surgery after more than a year of symptoms.
- Three-year medical costs for early surgery patients was $13,299 less than late surgery patients.
- Study authors concluded that delays in surgery provide a reliable predictive value for whether workers' compensation patients will successfully return to work.
If you or a family member suffered a work related injury and are awaiting surgery approval but the employer/insurer are delaying approval, we can help! Call 770-984-8900 for a free and confidential consultation today.