Contrasting patterns of care for musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the upper extremity and knee through workers' compensation and private health care insurance among union carpenters in Washington State, 1989 to 2008.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Musculoskeletal symptoms and disorders (MSDIs) are common reasons for visits to medical providers in the general population and they are common work-related complaints. Prior reports raise concerns as to whether declines in workers' compensation (WC) rates represent true improvement in occupational health and safety or shifting of care to other payment systems. METHODS: By linking administrative records, we compared patterns of WC claims and private health care utilization for disorders of the upper extremity (UE) and knee among a large cohort of union carpenters over a 20-year period. RESULTS: As WC claim rates declined, private health care utilization increased. The increase was muted somewhat but sustained when adjusting for other patterns of health care utilization. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest the decline of WC claim rates do not solely represent improved occupational safety in this population, but also a considerable shifting of care to their private insurance coverage over time.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lipscomb, HJ; Schoenfisch, AL; Cameron, W; Kucera, KL; Adams, D; Silverstein, BA

Published Date

  • September 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 58 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 955 - 963

PubMed ID

  • 25939759

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-0274

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/ajim.22455


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States