Florida Doctors Dispute Workers’ Compensation Drug Cost Claim

January 10, 2013

Florida doctors are disputing a state report saying drugs dispensed by physicians directly to patients are raising workers’ compensation rates.

The Florida Medical Association said in a statement issued that doctors have been unfairly targeted in the annual report released last week by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR).

The OIR report says that premiums paid by employers have dropped 56 percent since passage of a 2003 law designed to reduce rates although they have increased in each of the past three years.

It said further reductions would be possible if Florida limited how much doctors can charge for repackaged drugs they sell to patients.

The FMA says that’s a bogus claim because the report itself shows virtually no difference in the cost of such drugs whether dispensed by doctors or pharmacies.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which represents insurers, has maintained that physician dispensing is a major cost driver behind rising workers’ compensation rates and blamed physicians for $380 million in rate increases over the past three years.

But the doctors’ group is pushing back.

“The truth is that the NCCI and carriers have used physician dispensing as a scapegoat for hundreds of millions of dollars in rate increases when other medical costs have been the real cost drivers in workers’ compensation,” the group charged. “The numbers are fabricated in an attempt to eliminate doctor dispensing.”

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