There is NO reason, no rationale, no logic behind docs dispensing drugs to workers comp claimants.
Proponents claim it is better care, leading to speedier recovery and lower costs.
We long suspected the opposite is true; that is, claimants getting drugs from docs get more treatment, incur higher medical costs, are out of work longer and run up bigger claim costs than claimants with the exact same injury who don’t get pills from their physicians.
Thanks to CWCI, we know that’s the real impact of doc dispensing.
Now, we know even more – we know that dispensing docs prescribe more opioids for longer times, thereby increasing the risk of addiction and drug diversion and overdoses and death. Thanks to a research paper authored by Johns Hopkins University Medical School and Accident Fund, there’s clear and convincing proof that doc dispensing is a highly risky, very dangerous, and very expensive proposition.
Here is the money quote:
“we found 39% higher medical costs, 27% higher indemnity costs, and 34% higher frequency of lost-time days associated with physician-dispensed versus pharmacy-dispensed medication. We found even more striking differences related to physician-dispensed opioids versus pharmacy dispensed opioids. The effect was nearly doubled and revealed 78% higher medical costs, 57% higher indemnity costs, and 85% higher frequency of lost-time days associated with physician-dispensed versus pharmacy-dispensed medication. [emphasis added]
And yes, the analysis was case-mix adjusted.
It’s not about convenience; Claimants get drugs for free and quickly thanks to PBMs and pharmacies who are only too happy to fill their scripts.
It’s not as if the drugs they dispense – NSAIDs, antibiotics, pain meds, stomach acid treatments – MUST be consumed within nanoseconds or the claimant dies. None of the top 50 doc-dispensed drugs are deemed time-critical.
It’s about docs sucking more money out of employers’ and taxpayers’ wallets. While dispensing more opioids, and keeping patients out of work longer.
Which brings up a question:
Why in hell are regulators and legislators not banning physician dispensing?