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Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C.
Helping Injured Workers In Arizona Since 1973

High rate of MRI's in Arizona workplace injury cases


When Arizona residents suffer an on-the-job injury, they want to know that they will receive the appropriate level of medical care so that they can return to work as soon as possible. Most of our readers know that workers' compensation will help the injured worker financially until they can return to work, but some people may not know that medical care is an important part of the employer's obligation after a workplace accident.

But, what is the appropriate level of care that an injured worker is entitled to? According to a recent report, Arizona has a very high rate of MRI's being conducted in cases involving workers who suffer from lower back pain. The report indicates that a whopping 58.4 percent of cases involving lower back pain had MRI's ordered in Arizona - which is much higher than many other states.

Why is this a big deal? Don't employers want their injured employees to receive the best care available? Well, the issue is that conducting an MRI can be an expensive procedure - approximately $500 in most cases. Some employers will wonder, "Is that expense really justified?" If MRI's are being ordered at such high rates, is it possible that the overall costs associated with workers' compensation and medical care in general will rise?

These are interesting issues that are the subject of constant debate between workers and employers. But, for an employee who suffers a back injury, their thinking is probably more in line with "better safe than sorry." If an MRI can uncover the exact extent of the injury, the expense is probably justified in the worker's eyes.

Source: Business Insurance, "Income, ownership affect injured-worker MRI rates," Stephanie Goldberg, Sept. 3, 2015

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