Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda

Nov
3

Rick Scott’s win in Florida; bad news for workers comp

The next Governor of Florida will be Rick Scott. Democratic candidate, and current state CFO Alex Sink just conceded defeat, and her loss bodes ill for Florida’s workers comp insurers and employers.
Recall that Sink was a major supporter of a bill to prevent price-gouging by physicians dispensing drugs to workers comp claimants, a practice that has added millions to work comp loss costs. Departing Gov. Charlie Crist veto’ed the bill after a flurry of last minute lobbying by a variety of interested parties, including my nemesis, Automated Healthcare Solutions.
AHCS and its principals Paul Zimmerman and Gerald Glass donated hundreds of thousands to Crist and his supporters, donations that occurred around the time Crist was considering whether or not to sign the anti-physician dispensing bill. Let’s not miss the key issue here; AHCS makes enough profit from billing employers and insurers for physician dispensing to donate over $1.6 million to politicians.
Now news reports indicate that AHCS, Zimmerman, Glass, et al got behind Rick Scott in a major way:
“Automated Healthcare Solutions, a Miramar company headed by a pair of doctors, Paul Zimmerman and Gerald Glass, steered $605,000 to the party after also helping finance some of the primary’s fiercest attacks on McCollum.
The doctors, who played a central role in fighting legislation supported by Sink that would have reduced the cost of prescription drugs in workers’ compensation cases [emphasis added] – a measure vetoed by Crist — donated $1 million through companies they lead to political spending committees controlled by incoming legislative leaders Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, and Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park. The money was used to air TV ads during the primary against Scott.”
So, after their initial efforts to help Crist didn’t pan out, AHCS threw its financial muscle behind Rick Scott. Who will be the new Governor.
And will likely have the opportunity to sign, or veto, a bill to eliminate the loophole that enables physician dispensers to charge much more than retail pharmacies for the same drugs. Insurers and employers in the Sunshine State would likely favor such a bill; According to the Workers Compensation Research Institute, physician dispensed drugs are the main reason Florida’s prescription drug costs were 38% higher than a 16-state average.
But somehow I don’t see future Gov. Scott signing a bill bitterly opposed by donors who gave his campaign over six hundred thousand dollars.
Even if it would help reduce employers’ workers comp premiums, and improve the business climate in Florida.
What does this mean for you?
Higher workers comp costs in Florida.

(BTW, I finally got an official copy of AHCS’ suit against me, my attorneys have filed a response, and I’ll provide a more detailed update shortly.)


One thought on “Rick Scott’s win in Florida; bad news for workers comp”

  1. Hi Joe, this comment doesn’t relate to the piece, but wanted you to notice and comment on the 10/4 WSJ healthblog piece Vitals: WellPoint, Aetna Report 3rd-Quarter Earnings. Isn’t it interesting they’re squeezing providers and employees because of OBAMACARE, and making out like bandidos!!!

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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