State Acts on Florida Chamber Recommendation to Study Workers’ Comp Cost Containment

By: Carolyn Johnson

Today, the Workers’ Compensation Three Member Panel met to adopt 2016 reimbursement manuals for health care providers, ambulatory surgical centers, and hospitals, as required by statute. After hearing the process through which the maximum reimbursable allowances are determined, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, current Chair of the Three Member Panel, made a motion that directed the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) to look at possible changes to move away from a charge based system, which is subjective, to contain costs while preserving access to quality care.

In 2014, the Florida Chamber of Commerce advocated for legislation filed by Senator Alan Hays and Representative Charlie Stone to address cost drivers in the workers’ comp system by looking at a fee schedule system versus a percentage of “usual and customary charges.” The Florida Chamber was the lone member of the business community advocating for cost containment. While the DWC has made significant strides since 2014 to define usual and customary charges, other states use a fee system, such as Medicare. This study presents an opportunity to address increasing workers’ comp health care costs in the future.

The Three Member Panel adopted the three reimbursement manuals, which may be found here under notices. Next, these manuals will go through the rulemaking process and later must be ratified by the Florida Legislature due to economic impact. The cumulative impact of these three rules, if adopted and ratified, is an increase in rates of 2.8 percent. These rules would have an effective date of July 1, 2017.

Take Action Now

Florida’s business climate is a key factor in businesses expanding and relocating to Florida – that means we must ensure workers’ comp rates remain affordable. The Florida Chamber’s Economic Development Task Force will discuss important business climate issues driving business decisions. To learn more and to be part of the conversation, contact Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com.