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Oklahoma medical association director: Medical costs not the issue in workers’ comp

BY JOHN A. ROBINSON, M.D. Modified: April 24, 2013 at 7:53 am •  Published: April 24, 2013

The article cited accusations of unnecessary medical procedures in the workers’ comp system by physicians. Every element of medical treatment is authorized, and followed closely by, an insurance case manager who represents the employer paying for the treatment. Case managers determine whether care will be authorized and dispute any aspect of treatment they view as unnecessary. Workers’ comp has more checks and balances than any component of traditional health care. Additionally, physicians take an oath to uphold their responsibility toward their patients and society at large. It’s an oath that’s taken seriously.

Oklahoma continues to rank last in the nation when it comes to physicians per capita and access to quality health care. The notion of lowering workers’ comp costs through lowering medical fees — again — is straining a gnat while swallowing a camel, and it will only exacerbate health care woes of the state.

Workers’ compensation reform is a welcomed debate, but let’s be honest in that discourse about what drives costs.

Robinson, of Shawnee, is president of the Oklahoma State Medical Assocation.