How fast are California’s injured workers getting medical care?
When someone is injured on the job, how quickly they get medical treatment can make a big difference in how well they recover. Often it can make the difference between life and death. Even if it’s not an emergency that involves going to the hospital immediately, it’s still crucial for employees to see a doctor as soon as possible – not just for their own well-being but to help ensure that they get the workers’ compensation to which they’re entitled.
A study recently published by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) looked at how long it took employees to get their initial medical care after an on-the-job accident as well as to get more specialized care.
How much did it change over a decade?
The CWCI studied over 1.5 million workplace injury claims between 2010 and 2020. It measured the time that elapsed from their notification to their employer of their injury to the time of their first treatment. It also looked at how many miles the injured worker had to travel for that treatment. The average wait time increased by just over a day during that decade – going from 3.3 to 4.4 days.
Not surprisingly, the wait time for specialty care was longer and showed more variation over the decade studied. The average was 31.8 days in 2010 and by 2020 had dropped slightly to 31.2 days, after reaching 37.5 days in 2015. That rise is likely attributable to changes in regulations around the review process.
If you’ve been injured on the job, it’s important to be sure that you get the care you need. No one should worry that doing so will hurt their employer or endanger their own employment. California has a strong workers’ compensation program. You have every right to use it when you’ve been injured on the job.