December 13, 2019
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The Florida Statutes

The 2001 Florida Statutes

Title XXXI
Labor
Chapter 440
Workers' Compensation
View Entire Chapter
Section 440.13, Florida Statutes 2001

440.13  Medical services and supplies; penalty for violations; limitations.--

(1)  DEFINITIONS.--As used in this section, the term:

(a)  "Alternate medical care" means a change in treatment or health care provider.

(b)  "Attendant care" means care rendered by trained professional attendants which is beyond the scope of household duties. Family members may provide nonprofessional attendant care, but may not be compensated under this chapter for care that falls within the scope of household duties and other services normally and gratuitously provided by family members. "Family member" means a spouse, father, mother, brother, sister, child, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, aunt, or uncle.

(c)  "Carrier" means, for purposes of this section, insurance carrier, self-insurance fund or individually self-insured employer, or assessable mutual insurer.

(d)  "Catastrophic injury" means an injury as defined in s. 440.02.

(e)  "Certified health care provider" means a health care provider who has been certified by the division or who has entered an agreement with a licensed managed care organization to provide treatment to injured workers under this section. Certification of such health care provider must include documentation that the health care provider has read and is familiar with the portions of the statute, impairment guides, and rules which govern the provision of remedial treatment, care, and attendance.

(f)  "Compensable" means a determination by a carrier or judge of compensation claims that a condition suffered by an employee results from an injury arising out of and in the course of employment.

(g)  "Emergency services and care" means emergency services and care as defined in s. 395.002.

(h)  "Health care facility" means any hospital licensed under chapter 395 and any health care institution licensed under chapter 400.

(i)  "Health care provider" means a physician or any recognized practitioner who provides skilled services pursuant to a prescription or under the supervision or direction of a physician and who has been certified by the division as a health care provider. The term "health care provider" includes a health care facility.

(j)  "Independent medical examiner" means a physician selected by either an employee or a carrier to render one or more independent medical examinations in connection with a dispute arising under this chapter.

(k)  "Independent medical examination" means an objective evaluation of the injured employee's medical condition, including, but not limited to, impairment or work status, performed by a physician or an expert medical advisor at the request of a party, a judge of compensation claims, or the division to assist in the resolution of a dispute arising under this chapter.

(l)  "Instance of overutilization" means a specific inappropriate service or level of service provided to an injured employee.

(m)  "Medically necessary" means any medical service or medical supply which is used to identify or treat an illness or injury, is appropriate to the patient's diagnosis and status of recovery, and is consistent with the location of service, the level of care provided, and applicable practice parameters. The service should be widely accepted among practicing health care providers, based on scientific criteria, and determined to be reasonably safe. The service must not be of an experimental, investigative, or research nature, except in those instances in which prior approval of the Agency for Health Care Administration has been obtained. The Agency for Health Care Administration shall adopt rules providing for such approval on a case-by-case basis when the service or supply is shown to have significant benefits to the recovery and well-being of the patient.

(n)  "Medicine" means a drug prescribed by an authorized health care provider and includes only generic drugs or single-source patented drugs for which there is no generic equivalent, unless the authorized health care provider writes or states that the brand-name drug as defined in s. 465.025 is medically necessary, or is a drug appearing on the schedule of drugs created pursuant to s. 465.025(6), or is available at a cost lower than its generic equivalent.

(o)  "Palliative care" means noncurative medical services that mitigate the conditions, effects, or pain of an injury.

(p)  "Pattern or practice of overutilization" means repetition of instances of overutilization within a specific medical case or multiple cases by a single health care provider.

(q)  "Peer review" means an evaluation by two or more physicians licensed under the same authority and with the same or similar specialty as the physician under review, of the appropriateness, quality, and cost of health care and health services provided to a patient, based on medically accepted standards.

(r)  "Physician" or "doctor" means a physician licensed under chapter 458, an osteopathic physician licensed under chapter 459, a chiropractic physician licensed under chapter 460, a podiatric physician licensed under chapter 461, an optometrist licensed under chapter 463, or a dentist licensed under chapter 466, each of whom must be certified by the division as a health care provider.

(s)  "Reimbursement dispute" means any disagreement between a health care provider or health care facility and carrier concerning payment for medical treatment.

(t)  "Utilization control" means a systematic process of implementing measures that assure overall management and cost containment of services delivered.

(u)  "Utilization review" means the evaluation of the appropriateness of both the level and the quality of health care and health services provided to a patient, including, but not limited to, evaluation of the appropriateness of treatment, hospitalization, or office visits based on medically accepted standards. Such evaluation must be accomplished by means of a system that identifies the utilization of medical services based on medically accepted standards as established by medical consultants with qualifications similar to those providing the care under review, and that refers patterns and practices of overutilization to the division.

(2)  MEDICAL TREATMENT; DUTY OF EMPLOYER TO FURNISH.--

(a)  Subject to the limitations specified elsewhere in this chapter, the employer shall furnish to the employee such medically necessary remedial treatment, care, and attendance for such period as the nature of the injury or the process of recovery may require, including medicines, medical supplies, durable medical equipment, orthoses, prostheses, and other medically necessary apparatus. Remedial treatment, care, and attendance, including work-hardening programs or pain-management programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities or Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Organizations or pain-management programs affiliated with medical schools, shall be considered as covered treatment only when such care is given based on a referral by a physician as defined in this chapter. Each facility shall maintain outcome data, including work status at discharges, total program charges, total number of visits, and length of stay. The department shall utilize such data and report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives regarding the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of such program, no later than October 1, 1994. Medically necessary treatment, care, and attendance does not include chiropractic services in excess of 18 treatments or rendered 8 weeks beyond the date of the initial chiropractic treatment, whichever comes first, unless the carrier authorizes additional treatment or the employee is catastrophically injured.

(b)  The employer shall provide appropriate professional or nonprofessional attendant care performed only at the direction and control of a physician when such care is medically necessary. The value of nonprofessional attendant care provided by a family member must be determined as follows:

1.  If the family member is not employed, the per-hour value equals the federal minimum hourly wage.

2.  If the family member is employed and elects to leave that employment to provide attendant or custodial care, the per-hour value of that care equals the per-hour value of the family member's former employment, not to exceed the per-hour value of such care available in the community at large. A family member or a combination of family members providing nonprofessional attendant care under this paragraph may not be compensated for more than a total of 12 hours per day.

(c)  If the employer fails to provide treatment or care required by this section after request by the injured employee, the employee may obtain such treatment at the expense of the employer, if the treatment is compensable and medically necessary. There must be a specific request for the treatment, and the employer or carrier must be given a reasonable time period within which to provide the treatment or care. However, the employee is not entitled to recover any amount personally expended for the treatment or service unless he or she has requested the employer to furnish that treatment or service and the employer has failed, refused, or neglected to do so within a reasonable time or unless the nature of the injury requires such treatment, nursing, and services and the employer or his or her superintendent or foreman, having knowledge of the injury, has neglected to provide the treatment or service.

(d)  The carrier has the right to transfer the care of an injured employee from the attending health care provider if an independent medical examination determines that the employee is not making appropriate progress in recuperation.

(e)  Except in emergency situations and for treatment rendered by a managed care arrangement, after any initial examination and diagnosis by a physician providing remedial treatment, care, and attendance, and before a proposed course of medical treatment begins, each insurer shall review, in accordance with the requirements of this chapter, the proposed course of treatment, to determine whether such treatment would be recognized as reasonably prudent. The review must be in accordance with all applicable workers' compensation practice parameters. The insurer must accept any such proposed course of treatment unless the insurer notifies the physician of its specific objections to the proposed course of treatment by the close of the tenth business day after notification by the physician, or a supervised designee of the physician, of the proposed course of treatment.

(f)  Upon the written request of the employee, the carrier shall give the employee the opportunity for one change of physician during the course of treatment for any one accident. The employee shall be entitled to select another physician from among not fewer than three carrier-authorized physicians who are not professionally affiliated.

(3)  PROVIDER ELIGIBILITY; AUTHORIZATION.--

(a)  As a condition to eligibility for payment under this chapter, a health care provider who renders services must be a certified health care provider and must receive authorization from the carrier before providing treatment. This paragraph does not apply to emergency care. The division shall adopt rules to implement the certification of health care providers.

(b)  A health care provider who renders emergency care must notify the carrier by the close of the third business day after it has rendered such care. If the emergency care results in admission of the employee to a health care facility, the health care provider must notify the carrier by telephone within 24 hours after initial treatment. Emergency care is not compensable under this chapter unless the injury requiring emergency care arose as a result of a work-related accident. Pursuant to chapter 395, all licensed physicians and health care providers in this state shall be required to make their services available for emergency treatment of any employee eligible for workers' compensation benefits. To refuse to make such treatment available is cause for revocation of a license.

(c)  A health care provider may not refer the employee to another health care provider, diagnostic facility, therapy center, or other facility without prior authorization from the carrier, except when emergency care is rendered. Any referral must be to a health care provider that has been certified by the division, unless the referral is for emergency treatment.

(d)  A carrier must respond, by telephone or in writing, to a request for authorization by the close of the third business day after receipt of the request. A carrier who fails to respond to a written request for authorization for referral for medical treatment by the close of the third business day after receipt of the request consents to the medical necessity for such treatment. All such requests must be made to the carrier. Notice to the carrier does not include notice to the employer.

(e)  Carriers shall adopt procedures for receiving, reviewing, documenting, and responding to requests for authorization. Such procedures shall be for a health care provider certified under this section.

(f)  By accepting payment under this chapter for treatment rendered to an injured employee, a health care provider consents to the jurisdiction of the division as set forth in subsection (11) and to the submission of all records and other information concerning such treatment to the division in connection with a reimbursement dispute, audit, or review as provided by this section. The health care provider must further agree to comply with any decision of the division rendered under this section.

(g)  The employee is not liable for payment for medical treatment or services provided pursuant to this section except as otherwise provided in this section.

(h)  The provisions of s. 456.053 are applicable to referrals among health care providers, as defined in subsection (1), treating injured workers.

(i)  Notwithstanding paragraph (d), a claim for specialist consultations, surgical operations, physiotherapeutic or occupational therapy procedures, X-ray examinations, or special diagnostic laboratory tests that cost more than $1,000 and other specialty services that the division identifies by rule is not valid and reimbursable unless the services have been expressly authorized by the carrier, or unless the carrier has failed to respond within 10 days to a written request for authorization, or unless emergency care is required. The insurer shall not refuse to authorize such consultation or procedure unless the health care provider or facility is not authorized or certified or unless an expert medical advisor has determined that the consultation or procedure is not medically necessary or otherwise compensable under this chapter. Authorization of a treatment plan does not constitute express authorization for purposes of this section, except to the extent the carrier provides otherwise in its authorization procedures. This paragraph does not limit the carrier's obligation to identify and disallow overutilization or billing errors.

(j)  Notwithstanding anything in this chapter to the contrary, a sick or injured employee shall be entitled, at all times, to free, full, and absolute choice in the selection of the pharmacy or pharmacist dispensing and filling prescriptions for medicines required under this chapter. It is expressly forbidden for the division, an employer, or a carrier, or any agent or representative of the division, an employer, or a carrier to select the pharmacy or pharmacist which the sick or injured employee must use; condition coverage or payment on the basis of the pharmacy or pharmacist utilized; or to otherwise interfere in the selection by the sick or injured employee of a pharmacy or pharmacist.

(4)  NOTICE OF TREATMENT TO CARRIER; FILING WITH DIVISION.--

(a)  Any health care provider providing necessary remedial treatment, care, or attendance to any injured worker shall submit treatment reports to the carrier in a format prescribed by the division. A claim for medical or surgical treatment is not valid or enforceable against such employer or employee, unless, by the close of the third business day following the first treatment, the physician providing the treatment furnishes to the employer or carrier a preliminary notice of the injury and treatment on forms prescribed by the division and, within 15 days thereafter, furnishes to the employer or carrier a complete report, and subsequent thereto furnishes progress reports, if requested by the employer or insurance carrier, at intervals of not less than 3 weeks apart or at less frequent intervals if requested on forms prescribed by the division.

(b)  Upon the request of the Division of Workers' Compensation, each medical report or bill obtained or received by the employer, the carrier, or the injured employee, or the attorney for the employer, carrier, or injured employee, with respect to the remedial treatment, care, and attendance of the injured employee, including any report of an examination, diagnosis, or disability evaluation, must be filed with the Division of Workers' Compensation pursuant to rules adopted by the division. The health care provider shall also furnish to the injured employee or to his or her attorney, on demand, a copy of his or her office chart, records, and reports, and may charge the injured employee an amount authorized by the division for the copies. Each such health care provider shall provide to the division information about the remedial treatment, care, and attendance which the division reasonably requests.

(c)  It is the policy for the administration of the workers' compensation system that there be reasonable access to medical information by all parties to facilitate the self-executing features of the law. Notwithstanding the limitations in s. 456.057 and subject to the limitations in s. 381.004, upon the request of the employer, the carrier, an authorized qualified rehabilitation provider, or the attorney for the employer or carrier, the medical records of an injured employee must be furnished to those persons and the medical condition of the injured employee must be discussed with those persons, if the records and the discussions are restricted to conditions relating to the workplace injury. Any such discussions may be held before or after the filing of a claim without the knowledge, consent, or presence of any other party or his or her agent or representative. A health care provider who willfully refuses to provide medical records or to discuss the medical condition of the injured employee, after a reasonable request is made for such information pursuant to this subsection, shall be subject by the division to one or more of the penalties set forth in paragraph (8)(b).

(5)  INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS.--

(a)  In any dispute concerning overutilization, medical benefits, compensability, or disability under this chapter, the carrier or the employee may select an independent medical examiner. The examiner may be a health care provider treating or providing other care to the employee. An independent medical examiner may not render an opinion outside his or her area of expertise, as demonstrated by licensure and applicable practice parameters.

(b)  Each party is bound by his or her selection of an independent medical examiner and is entitled to an alternate examiner only if:

1.  The examiner is not qualified to render an opinion upon an aspect of the employee's illness or injury which is material to the claim or petition for benefits;

2.  The examiner ceases to practice in the specialty relevant to the employee's condition;

3.  The examiner is unavailable due to injury, death, or relocation outside a reasonably accessible geographic area; or

4.  The parties agree to an alternate examiner.

Any party may request, or a judge of compensation claims may require, designation of a division medical advisor as an independent medical examiner. The opinion of the advisors acting as examiners shall not be afforded the presumption set forth in paragraph (9)(c).

(c)  The carrier may, at its election, contact the claimant directly to schedule a reasonable time for an independent medical examination. The carrier must confirm the scheduling agreement in writing within 5 days and notify claimant's counsel, if any, at least 7 days before the date upon which the independent medical examination is scheduled to occur. An attorney representing a claimant is not authorized to schedule independent medical evaluations under this subsection.

(d)  If the employee fails to appear for the independent medical examination without good cause and fails to advise the physician at least 24 hours before the scheduled date for the examination that he or she cannot appear, the employee is barred from recovering compensation for any period during which he or she has refused to submit to such examination. Further, the employee shall reimburse the carrier 50 percent of the physician's cancellation or no-show fee unless the carrier that schedules the examination fails to timely provide to the employee a written confirmation of the date of the examination pursuant to paragraph (c) which includes an explanation of why he or she failed to appear. The employee may appeal to a judge of compensation claims for reimbursement when the carrier withholds payment in excess of the authority granted by this section.

(e)  No medical opinion other than the opinion of a medical advisor appointed by the judge of compensation claims or division, an independent medical examiner, or an authorized treating provider is admissible in proceedings before the judges of compensation claims.

(f)  Attorney's fees incurred by an injured employee in connection with delay of or opposition to an independent medical examination, including, but not limited to, motions for protective orders, are not recoverable under this chapter.

(6)  UTILIZATION REVIEW.--Carriers shall review all bills, invoices, and other claims for payment submitted by health care providers in order to identify overutilization and billing errors, and may hire peer review consultants or conduct independent medical evaluations. Such consultants, including peer review organizations, are immune from liability in the execution of their functions under this subsection to the extent provided in s. 766.101. If a carrier finds that overutilization of medical services or a billing error has occurred, it must disallow or adjust payment for such services or error without order of a judge of compensation claims or the division, if the carrier, in making its determination, has complied with this section and rules adopted by the division.

(7)  UTILIZATION AND REIMBURSEMENT DISPUTES.--

(a)  Any health care provider, carrier, or employer who elects to contest the disallowance or adjustment of payment by a carrier under subsection (6) must, within 30 days after receipt of notice of disallowance or adjustment of payment, petition the division to resolve the dispute. The petitioner must serve a copy of the petition on the carrier and on all affected parties by certified mail. The petition must be accompanied by all documents and records that support the allegations contained in the petition. Failure of a petitioner to submit such documentation to the division results in dismissal of the petition.

(b)  The carrier must submit to the division within 10 days after receipt of the petition all documentation substantiating the carrier's disallowance or adjustment. Failure of the carrier to submit the requested documentation to the division within 10 days constitutes a waiver of all objections to the petition.

(c)  Within 60 days after receipt of all documentation, the division must provide to the petitioner, the carrier, and the affected parties a written determination of whether the carrier properly adjusted or disallowed payment. The division must be guided by standards and policies set forth in this chapter, including all applicable reimbursement schedules, in rendering its determination.

(d)  If the division finds an improper disallowance or improper adjustment of payment by an insurer, the insurer shall reimburse the health care provider, facility, insurer, or employer within 30 days, subject to the penalties provided in this subsection.

(e)  The division shall adopt rules to carry out this subsection. The rules may include provisions for consolidating petitions filed by a petitioner and expanding the timetable for rendering a determination upon a consolidated petition.

(f)  Any carrier that engages in a pattern or practice of arbitrarily or unreasonably disallowing or reducing payments to health care providers may be subject to one or more of the following penalties imposed by the division:

1.  Repayment of the appropriate amount to the health care provider.

2.  An administrative fine assessed by the division in an amount not to exceed $5,000 per instance of improperly disallowing or reducing payments.

3.  Award of the health care provider's costs, including a reasonable attorney's fee, for prosecuting the petition.

(8)  PATTERN OR PRACTICE OF OVERUTILIZATION.--

(a)  Carriers must report to the division all instances of overutilization including, but not limited to, all instances in which the carrier disallows or adjusts payment. The division shall determine whether a pattern or practice of overutilization exists.

(b)  If the division determines that a health care provider has engaged in a pattern or practice of overutilization or a violation of this chapter or rules adopted by the division, it may impose one or more of the following penalties:

1.  An order of the division barring the provider from payment under this chapter;

2.  Deauthorization of care under review;

3.  Denial of payment for care rendered in the future;

4.  Decertification of a health care provider certified as an expert medical advisor under subsection (9) or of a rehabilitation provider certified under 1s. 440.49;

5.  An administrative fine assessed by the division in an amount not to exceed $5,000 per instance of overutilization or violation; and

6.  Notification of and review by the appropriate licensing authority pursuant to s. 440.106(3).

(9)  EXPERT MEDICAL ADVISORS.--

(a)  The division shall certify expert medical advisors in each specialty to assist the division and the judges of compensation claims within the advisor's area of expertise as provided in this section. The division shall, in a manner prescribed by rule, in certifying, recertifying, or decertifying an expert medical advisor, consider the qualifications, training, impartiality, and commitment of the health care provider to the provision of quality medical care at a reasonable cost. As a prerequisite for certification or recertification, the division shall require, at a minimum, that an expert medical advisor have specialized workers' compensation training or experience under the workers' compensation system of this state and board certification or board eligibility.

(b)  The division shall contract with or employ expert medical advisors to provide peer review or medical consultation to the division or to a judge of compensation claims in connection with resolving disputes relating to reimbursement, differing opinions of health care providers, and health care and physician services rendered under this chapter. Expert medical advisors contracting with the division shall, as a term of such contract, agree to provide consultation or services in accordance with the timetables set forth in this chapter and to abide by rules adopted by the division, including, but not limited to, rules pertaining to procedures for review of the services rendered by health care providers and preparation of reports and recommendations for submission to the division.

(c)  If there is disagreement in the opinions of the health care providers, if two health care providers disagree on medical evidence supporting the employee's complaints or the need for additional medical treatment, or if two health care providers disagree that the employee is able to return to work, the division may, and the judge of compensation claims shall, upon his or her own motion or within 15 days after receipt of a written request by either the injured employee, the employer, or the carrier, order the injured employee to be evaluated by an expert medical advisor. The opinion of the expert medical advisor is presumed to be correct unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary as determined by the judge of compensation claims. The expert medical advisor appointed to conduct the evaluation shall have free and complete access to the medical records of the employee. An employee who fails to report to and cooperate with such evaluation forfeits entitlement to compensation during the period of failure to report or cooperate.

(d)  The expert medical advisor must complete his or her evaluation and issue his or her report to the division or to the judge of compensation claims within 45 days after receipt of all medical records. The expert medical advisor must furnish a copy of the report to the carrier and to the employee.

(e)  An expert medical advisor is not liable under any theory of recovery for evaluations performed under this section without a showing of fraud or malice. The protections of s. 766.101 apply to any officer, employee, or agent of the division and to any officer, employee, or agent of any entity with which the division has contracted under this subsection.

(f)  If the division or a judge of compensation claims determines that the services of a certified expert medical advisor are required to resolve a dispute under this section, the carrier must compensate the advisor for his or her time in accordance with a schedule adopted by the division. The division may assess a penalty not to exceed $500 against any carrier that fails to timely compensate an advisor in accordance with this section.

(10)  WITNESS FEES.--Any health care provider who gives a deposition shall be allowed a witness fee. The amount charged by the witness may not exceed $200 per hour. An expert witness who has never provided direct professional services to a party but has merely reviewed medical records and provided an expert opinion or has provided only direct professional services that were unrelated to the workers' compensation case may not be allowed a witness fee in excess of $200 per day.

(11)  AUDITS BY DIVISION; JURISDICTION.--

(a)  The Division of Workers' Compensation of the Department of Labor and Employment Security may investigate health care providers to determine whether providers are complying with this chapter and with rules adopted by the division, whether the providers are engaging in overutilization, and whether providers are engaging in improper billing practices. If the division finds that a health care provider has improperly billed, overutilized, or failed to comply with division rules or the requirements of this chapter it must notify the provider of its findings and may determine that the health care provider may not receive payment from the carrier or may impose penalties as set forth in subsection (8) or other sections of this chapter. If the health care provider has received payment from a carrier for services that were improperly billed or for overutilization, it must return those payments to the carrier. The division may assess a penalty not to exceed $500 for each overpayment that is not refunded within 30 days after notification of overpayment by the division or carrier.

(b)  The division shall monitor and audit carriers to determine if medical bills are paid in accordance with this section and division rules. Any employer, if self-insured, or carrier found by the division not to be within 90 percent compliance as to the payment of medical bills after July 1, 1994, must be assessed a fine not to exceed 1 percent of the prior year's assessment levied against such entity under s. 440.51 for every quarter in which the entity fails to attain 90-percent compliance. The division shall fine an employer or carrier, pursuant to rules adopted by the division, for each late payment of compensation that is below the minimum 90-percent performance standard. Any carrier that is found to be not in compliance in subsequent consecutive quarters must implement a medical-bill review program approved by the division, and the carrier is subject to disciplinary action by the Department of Insurance.

(c)  The division has exclusive jurisdiction to decide any matters concerning reimbursement, to resolve any overutilization dispute under subsection (7), and to decide any question concerning overutilization under subsection (8), which question or dispute arises after January 1, 1994.

(d)  The following division actions do not constitute agency action subject to review under ss. 120.569 and 120.57 and do not constitute actions subject to s. 120.56: referral by the entity responsible for utilization review; a decision by the division to refer a matter to a peer review committee; establishment by a health care provider or entity of procedures by which a peer review committee reviews the rendering of health care services; and the review proceedings, report, and recommendation of the peer review committee.

(12)  CREATION OF THREE-MEMBER PANEL; GUIDES OF MAXIMUM REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWANCES.--

(a)  A three-member panel is created, consisting of the Insurance Commissioner, or the Insurance Commissioner's designee, and two members to be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate, one member who, on account of present or previous vocation, employment, or affiliation, shall be classified as a representative of employers, the other member who, on account of previous vocation, employment, or affiliation, shall be classified as a representative of employees. The panel shall determine statewide schedules of maximum reimbursement allowances for medically necessary treatment, care, and attendance provided by physicians, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, work-hardening programs, pain programs, and durable medical equipment. The maximum reimbursement allowances for inpatient hospital care shall be based on a schedule of per diem rates, to be approved by the three-member panel no later than March 1, 1994, to be used in conjunction with a precertification manual as determined by the division. All compensable charges for hospital outpatient care shall be reimbursed at 75 percent of usual and customary charges. Until the three-member panel approves a schedule of per diem rates for inpatient hospital care and it becomes effective, all compensable charges for hospital inpatient care must be reimbursed at 75 percent of their usual and customary charges. Annually, the three-member panel shall adopt schedules of maximum reimbursement allowances for physicians, hospital inpatient care, hospital outpatient care, ambulatory surgical centers, work-hardening programs, and pain programs. However, the maximum percentage of increase in the individual reimbursement allowance may not exceed the percentage of increase in the Consumer Price Index for the previous year. An individual physician, hospital, ambulatory surgical center, pain program, or work-hardening program shall be reimbursed either the usual and customary charge for treatment, care, and attendance, the agreed-upon contract price, or the maximum reimbursement allowance in the appropriate schedule, whichever is less.

(b)  As to reimbursement for a prescription medication, the reimbursement amount for a prescription shall be the average wholesale price times 1.2 plus $4.18 for the dispensing fee, except where the carrier has contracted for a lower amount. Fees for pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical services shall be reimbursable at the applicable fee schedule amount. Where the employer or carrier has contracted for such services and the employee elects to obtain them through a provider not a party to the contract, the carrier shall reimburse at the schedule, negotiated, or contract price, whichever is lower.

(c)  Reimbursement for all fees and other charges for such treatment, care, and attendance, including treatment, care, and attendance provided by any hospital or other health care provider, ambulatory surgical center, work-hardening program, or pain program, must not exceed the amounts provided by the uniform schedule of maximum reimbursement allowances as determined by the panel or as otherwise provided in this section. This subsection also applies to independent medical examinations performed by health care providers under this chapter. Until the three-member panel approves a uniform schedule of maximum reimbursement allowances and it becomes effective, all compensable charges for treatment, care, and attendance provided by physicians, ambulatory surgical centers, work-hardening programs, or pain programs shall be reimbursed at the lowest maximum reimbursement allowance across all 1992 schedules of maximum reimbursement allowances for the services provided regardless of the place of service. In determining the uniform schedule, the panel shall first approve the data which it finds representative of prevailing charges in the state for similar treatment, care, and attendance of injured persons. Each health care provider, health care facility, ambulatory surgical center, work-hardening program, or pain program receiving workers' compensation payments shall maintain records verifying their usual charges. In establishing the uniform schedule of maximum reimbursement allowances, the panel must consider:

1.  The levels of reimbursement for similar treatment, care, and attendance made by other health care programs or third-party providers;

2.  The impact upon cost to employers for providing a level of reimbursement for treatment, care, and attendance which will ensure the availability of treatment, care, and attendance required by injured workers;

3.  The financial impact of the reimbursement allowances upon health care providers and health care facilities, including trauma centers as defined in s. 395.4001, and its effect upon their ability to make available to injured workers such medically necessary remedial treatment, care, and attendance. The uniform schedule of maximum reimbursement allowances must be reasonable, must promote health care cost containment and efficiency with respect to the workers' compensation health care delivery system, and must be sufficient to ensure availability of such medically necessary remedial treatment, care, and attendance to injured workers; and

4.  The most recent average maximum allowable rate of increase for hospitals determined by the Health Care Board under chapter 408.

(13)  REMOVAL OF PHYSICIANS FROM LISTS OF THOSE AUTHORIZED TO RENDER MEDICAL CARE.--The division shall remove from the list of physicians or facilities authorized to provide remedial treatment, care, and attendance under this chapter the name of any physician or facility found after reasonable investigation to have:

(a)  Engaged in professional or other misconduct or incompetency in connection with medical services rendered under this chapter;

(b)  Exceeded the limits of his or her or its professional competence in rendering medical care under this chapter, or to have made materially false statements regarding his or her or its qualifications in his or her application;

(c)  Failed to transmit copies of medical reports to the employer or carrier, or failed to submit full and truthful medical reports of all his or her or its findings to the employer or carrier as required under this chapter;

(d)  Solicited, or employed another to solicit for himself or herself or itself or for another, professional treatment, examination, or care of an injured employee in connection with any claim under this chapter;

(e)  Refused to appear before, or to answer upon request of, the division or any duly authorized officer of the state, any legal question, or to produce any relevant book or paper concerning his or her conduct under any authorization granted to him or her under this chapter;

(f)  Self-referred in violation of this chapter or other laws of this state; or

(g)  Engaged in a pattern of practice of overutilization or a violation of this chapter or rules adopted by the division.

(14)  PAYMENT OF MEDICAL FEES.--

(a)  Except for emergency care treatment, fees for medical services are payable only to a health care provider certified and authorized to render remedial treatment, care, or attendance under this chapter. A health care provider may not collect or receive a fee from an injured employee within this state, except as otherwise provided by this chapter. Such providers have recourse against the employer or carrier for payment for services rendered in accordance with this chapter.

(b)  Fees charged for remedial treatment, care, and attendance may not exceed the applicable fee schedules adopted under this chapter.

(c)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, following overall maximum medical improvement from an injury compensable under this chapter, the employee is obligated to pay a copayment of $10 per visit for medical services. The copayment shall not apply to emergency care provided to the employee.

(15)  PRACTICE PARAMETERS.--

(a)  The Agency for Health Care Administration, in conjunction with the division and appropriate health professional associations and health-related organizations shall develop and may adopt by rule scientifically sound practice parameters for medical procedures relevant to workers' compensation claimants. Practice parameters developed under this section must focus on identifying effective remedial treatments and promoting the appropriate utilization of health care resources. Priority must be given to those procedures that involve the greatest utilization of resources either because they are the most costly or because they are the most frequently performed. Practice parameters for treatment of the 10 top procedures associated with workers' compensation injuries including the remedial treatment of lower-back injuries must be developed by December 31, 1994.

(b)  The guidelines may be initially based on guidelines prepared by nationally recognized health care institutions and professional organizations but should be tailored to meet the workers' compensation goal of returning employees to full employment as quickly as medically possible, taking into consideration outcomes data collected from managed care providers and any other inpatient and outpatient facilities serving workers' compensation claimants.

(c)  Procedures must be instituted which provide for the periodic review and revision of practice parameters based on the latest outcomes data, research findings, technological advancements, and clinical experiences, at least once every 3 years.

(d)  Practice parameters developed under this section must be used by carriers and the division in evaluating the appropriateness and overutilization of medical services provided to injured employees.

History.--s. 13, ch. 17481, 1935; CGL 1936 Supp. 5966(13); s. 6, ch. 18413, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 8135(14-a); s. 2, ch. 20672, 1941; s. 2, ch. 21824, 1943; s. 1, ch. 22814, 1945; s. 1, ch. 25244, 1949; s. 1, ch. 28241, 1953; s. 2, ch. 57-225; ss. 1, 2, ch. 63-91; ss. 17, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 363, ch. 71-136; s. 5, ch. 75-209; s. 3, ch. 77-290; ss. 4, 23, ch. 78-300; s. 16, ch. 79-7; ss. 8, 124, ch. 79-40; ss. 7, 21, ch. 79-312; s. 4, ch. 80-236; s. 1, ch. 82-46; s. 1, ch. 83-45; s. 1, ch. 83-303; s. 4, ch. 83-305; s. 1, ch. 86-171; s. 1, ch. 87-111; s. 2, ch. 87-330; s. 2, ch. 88-203; s. 1, ch. 88-372; ss. 10, 43, ch. 89-289; ss. 18, 56, ch. 90-201; ss. 16, 52, ch. 91-1; s. 3, ch. 91-269; s. 101, ch. 92-33; s. 81, ch. 92-289; s. 17, ch. 93-415; s. 199, ch. 96-410; s. 1051, ch. 97-103; s. 45, ch. 97-264; s. 36, ch. 98-89; ss. 33, 188, 259, ch. 98-166; s. 22, ch. 2000-160; s. 9, ch. 2000-189; s. 12, ch. 2001-91.

1Note.--Section 440.49(1), relating to rehabilitation, was repealed by s. 43, ch. 93-415.

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