NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Peter Barth

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December 2005The Impact of Provider Choice on Workers' Compensation Costs and Outcomes
with David Neumark, Richard Victor: w11855
We study how provider choice in workers' compensation cases affects costs and outcomes. When employees choose the provider, costs are higher and return-to-work outcomes are worse, while physical recovery is the same although satisfaction with medical care is higher. The higher costs and worse return-to-work outcomes associated with employee choice arise largely when employees selected a new provider, rather than a provider with whom the worker had a pre-existing relationship. The findings lend some support to recent policy changes limiting workers' ability to choose a provider with whom they do not have a prior relationship.

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