Physician Dispensing Continued Driving Up Workers Compensation Costs In Florida

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Cost of drugs prescribed to injured workers in Florida among the highest in a new WCRI study.

Graph Showing How Physicians-Dispensers’ Share Of Drug Payments In Florida Nearly Tripled Over Study Period.

Graph Showing How Physicians-Dispensers’ Share Of Drug Payments In Florida Nearly Tripled Over Study Period.

Increasingly more frequent and higher priced physician dispensing continued to be the major reason for the higher and growing prescription costs in Florida’s workers’ compensation system, according to a new study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

The study, Prescription Benchmarks for Florida, 2nd Edition, found that the average payment per claim for prescription drugs in Florida’s workers’ compensation system was $536 - 45 percent higher than the median of the states in the study.

Over a two year period (2005/2006 and 2007/2008), the average cost per claim for prescription drugs in Florida increased 14 percent. By contrast, prescription costs per claim were fairly stable in most study states over the same period.

Higher and growing costs of prescription drugs in Florida were largely due to more frequent and higher-priced physician dispensing. Physician-dispensing in Florida’s workers’ compensation system has been taking an increasingly larger share of prescription payments. The percentage of prescription payments for physician-dispensed prescriptions in Florida increased from 17 to 46 percent over a four year period (2004/2005 and 2007/2008), according to the WCRI report.

WCRI’s 17-state study also provides some evidence that helps address concerns about legislation (H.B. 5603), passed in 2010, but later vetoed, that would limit reimbursement rates for physician-dispensed prescriptions to the same level as pharmacies for the same medications.

The 17 states included in this study are California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

WCRI is based in Cambridge, MA and is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization supported in its public policy research by employers, insurers, insurance regulators and state regulatory agencies, as well as several state labor organizations. For more information, visit: http://www.wcrinet.org.

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Andrew Kenneally
Workers Compensation Research Institute
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