It appears in the waning hours of session, and in an era of “transparency” in lawmaking — some legislators apparently couldn’t resist the temptation to slip language into a bill that helps workers’ compensation insurers and sticks it to injured workers and doctors.
In short, the legislation would result in doctors ending the practice of providing medication directly to injured workers under workers’ compensation. This would lead to workers having to pay out-of-pocket for medication at the pharmacy and then wait to be reimbursed by the insurance company. The rub is that workers currently receive the medication from the doctors at no charge while they would have to reach into their own wallets to lay out the cash to pay at the pharmacy and hope for a reimbursement. Remember, many of these working Floridians are of modest means and laying out a hundred dollars or more for a month’s supply of drugs may be hard.
Here’s what Sen. Garcia said about the process in his letter asking the governor to veto the bill:
“While the House and Senate presiding officers went to great lengths to ensure that the budget process was a transparent process, this issue, which will impact thousands of physician practices and tens of thousands of injured workers, was not discussed in any committee prior to its inclusion in this bill. It was introduced by Representative Alan Hays in the final days of the budget conference, buried in a 90-page packet and accepted that same day by Senator Carey Baker, with little effort to inform those most affected by this sweeping policy change – the injured workers in our state and the doctors that treat them. The language would not be seen again until Thursday, April 29, when the conference bills were placed on the desk, a day prior to the end of session, for all members to vote on.”