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Florida Medical Association blatantly distorts FL Dept of Work Comp report

Warning, this post contains adult language.

Not content with reaching into employers’ pockets and taxpayers’ bank accounts, the physician dispensing industry’s slimy tentacles are oozing into the world of what passes for journalism at the Sunshine State News, and, based on SSN’s own writing, may well be spreading their noxious slime into the Florida Medical Association as well.

Nancy Smith, ostensibly an “editor” at the Sunshine State “News” said this: “A new report from the state Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) points to continued interference by insurance carriers into the doctor-patient relationship.”, citing payers’ efforts to control the cost of physician dispensed repackaged drugs.  I’ve read the report – I doubt Smith has – and that is NOT WHAT THE REPORT SAYS.  It doesn’t infer that, imply that, implicitly or explicitly state that or anything close to that.  There are a number of other completely false assertions in Smith’s pathetic piece, but my head will explode if I go into them individually…

Here is the report – and I’d encourage you to send it to Smith on the off-chance she actually decides to read it and correct her gross mischaracterization.  Her email is

It appears Smith is just parroting a blatantly misleading hatchet job put out by the Florida Medical Association. If the FMA wrote it, shame on them. If it was written by a physician dispensing company and just distributed by FMA, even worse

BTW, I emailed the FMA and asked for a copy of the FMA’s statement about the DWC report.  No response.

The DWC report indicates the number of reimbursement disputes is up some 872% over the prior year, driven primarily by “increases involving physician dispensed medication.”  That’s a good thing; employers and governmental entities, fed up with paying outrageous upcharges for repackaged drugs, are disputing physician dispensers’ bills.  As it is indeed their fiduciary obligation to do, and as they were encouraged to do by the previous CFO of the State of Florida.  In reality, in many of the disputes payers are paying a nominal amount, and end up agreeing to pay what they’d normally pay a retail pharmacy. 

So that’s what the DWC report said.  And somehow this shill who masquerades as a journalist – and/or the FMA, masquerading as a patient advocate – interprets this as insurers interfering in the doctor-patient relationship.

This is absolute, complete, total, utter bullshit.  

Here’s how a colleague put it when asked if insurers are “interfering” :

“…we’re interfering all right.

We’re interfering with their clear abuse of the workers’ compensation system, of employers who foot the bills; we’re interfering with their profit-seeking brethren who hide behind a curtain of their arrogant claim to be a sole protector of their patients, when they can’t know in dispensing repackaged drugs what all other medications their patient might be taking and thereby potentially jeopardizing their patient’s health.  And, we’re interfering with their unethical practices that even their own professional organization has frowned upon.  The AMA has an ethical rule against physician dispensing for profit.   So, yes we’re interfering – and we’re imploring Florida’s policymakers to interfere, to protect the public from the cost abuse, to protect patient safety, and enforce their own medical ethics.  Since the FMA is unable to do this themselves.  That’s what I’d say.”

Here’s what the AMA says in Opinion 8.06

(2) Physicians may not accept any kind of payment or compensation from a drug company [emphasis added] or device manufacturer for prescribing its products. Furthermore, physicians should not be influenced in the prescribing of drugs, devices, or appliances by a direct or indirect financial interest in a firm or other supplier, regardless of whether the firm is a manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, or repackager of the products involved.

(3) Physicians may own or operate a pharmacy, but generally may not refer their patients to the pharmacy…

Hello, FMA!  Can you spell “conflict of interest”?

Sorry for the adult language – this is the first, and hopefully only – time.

4 thoughts on “Florida Medical Association blatantly distorts FL Dept of Work Comp report”

  1. Joe,

    What do you expect from a state, my current location, where the governor is a crook who stole millions from Medicare, and a legislature of hyenas, who are religious fanatics and neo-fascists, not to mention, only work two months a year?

  2. Thanks for the post, Joe…it’s great you keep a spotlight on this. I was just reading about the pending legislative battle last night. I think you may find this rich:

    Representatives from the FMA and NCCI all made their case during today’s meeting. But it was Automated HealthCare Solutions’ lobbyist Tom Panza whose jovial, yet biting remarks and criticism of NCCI’s numbers were the biggest indication of what is to come.

    “We believe that this is bogus math,” Panza said.

    More at the Tampa Bay Times: Insurance companies, doctors prepare for another battle over drug dispensing

  3. All the research shows that physician dispensed drugs have become a hotbed for abuse and misconduct. In looking at our system I can’t help but think of the Baloon effect squeeze one end and the other expands. With Doctor reimbursement under atack ( I’m not sure if the Florida fee schedule adequately pays the Docs) providers are actively looking for ways to make a living. I am in no way advocating or excusing the ripoff that is provider dispensed drugs. I only think that some self examination is in order.

  4. John: Good point about FL fee schedule. I know from experience it’s difficult to find physicians in many areas of FL that will accept WC patients. Maybe the FMA needs to hire Tom Panza to lobby for them…

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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