Bill would limit what doctors can charge for drugs to workers comp patients

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Backed by powerful business groups, House and Senate sponsors launched an effort Wednesday to pass a bill that would limit the amounts that doctors can charge for dispensing drugs to workers-compensation insurance patients, reports the News Service of Florida. Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, and Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, held a news conference in the Capitol to urge passage of HB 511 and SB 668 during the upcoming legislative session. The bills would limit what doctors can charge for so-called “repackaged drugs” — a dispensing practice that businesses and regulators say drives up workers-compensation insurance costs. “This bill does nothing at all to diminish the quality of care that the workers-compensation patients are receiving,” Hays said. But the bill, which mirrors a proposal that died during the 2011 session, likely will face opposition from doctors and businesses related to physician dispensing. They argue that the practice helps ensure patient compliance with taking prescriptions. The Office of Insurance Regulation last month approved an 8.9 percent average increase in workers-compensation rates for 2012 and said 2.5 percent of the increase stemmed from the cost of repackaged drugs.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.