Monday, December 17, 2012

Florida Medical Association: Predictable, but Still Disappointing

The Florida Medical Association (FMA) has decided, according to Florida State Senator Alan Hays, to oppose forthcoming legislation intended to remove the economic incentive for physicians to dispense medication.  The language of the bill is likely to mirror the language found in SB 668 from this past year's legislative session. 

The bill will not, in fact, restrict the rights of physicians to dispense medications but rather will focus on eliminating egregious billing practices by forcing physicians to essentially mirror the state fee schedule when they do choose to dispense medications to patients.  Given that we've seen virtually no evidence that such restrictions have resulted in either access or compliance issues for patients, this seems like something that should enjoy broad support.

While the FMA has refused public comment, Senator Hays indicated that FMA's opposition is based on the organization receiving "a significant number of emails objecting to the bill and saying it would diminish doctors' ability to dispense drugs." 

Maybe the FMA should read SB 668.  Or wait until Senator Hays submits his bill for the forthcoming legislative session.  And then maybe the FMA could help facilitate progress by educating its membership on the language of the legislation and helping doctors to understand that, by exploiting loopholes and artificially inflating drug prices, they are not doing themselves any favors.  Perhaps FMA could act strategically by helping doctors understand that the short-term economic windfall they are experiencing may not be in the best interests of the patient.

On the other hand, the FMA could stake out premature and thoughtless positions driven by what I hope is an uninformed minority of its membership. 

Senator Hays thinks he has the votes either way, so let's do what we can to help him.

On Twitter @PRIUM1

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