Florida Legislature Must Give Choice of Doctors to Injured Workers

There is ongoing talk that the Florida Legislature will meet in Special Session in January 2009, to consider changes to the existing workers’ compensation laws. The Workers’ Compensation Section of the Florida Bar, has met with Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink to urge that her office conduct a thorough examination of how the workers’ compensation law has worked and what modifications should be considered.

In the 2008 Legislative Session, a sweeping bill was introduced by Sen. Alex Villalobos,
(Senate Bill No. 2548), which had some promising reforms. Unfortunately, the bill died in committee and was never considered by the Florida Legislature. One of the most important changes in the Villalobos bill, was regarding choice of physician. Currently, choice and control over the physician, except in managed care cases, is largely with the insurance carrier. The Villalobos bill would have guaranteed that an injured worker would have at least one doctor of his or her choice, as long as the physician was properly licensed and regulated. Randy Zeldin, Esq., with offices in Boca Raton and Pompano Beach, is optimistic that Gov. Christ will be supportive of workers’ compensation reform.