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Effect of Physician-Dispensed Medication on Workers' Compensation Claim Outcomes in the State of Illinois

White, Jeffrey A. MS; Tao, Xuguang MD, PhD; Artuso, Ryan D. PhD; Bilinski, Craig MS; Rademacher, James BA; Bernacki, Edward J. MD, MPH

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 5 - p 459–464
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000145
Original Articles

Objective: To evaluate differences between physician-dispensed and non–physician-dispensed medication with regard to lost time, prescription volume, and pharmaceutical, medical, indemnity costs in the Illinois workers' compensation system.

Methods: We studied a sample of 6824 workers' compensation indemnity claims that were opened and closed between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2012, by Accident Fund Holdings in the State of Illinois.

Results: The number of prescriptions per claim and pharmaceutical, medical, and indemnity costs, as well as time out from work, were significantly higher in claims where a pharmaceutical was dispensed by the physician within 90 days of injury than in claims where physician dispensing did not occur. These differences persisted controlling for age, sex, attorney involvement, and injury complexity.

Conclusion: Physician dispensing is associated with higher costs and more lost time than pharmacy-dispensed medications in workers' compensation claims.

From Corporate Claims (Mr White and Dr Artuso, Mr Bilinski and Mr Rademacher), Accident Fund Holdings, Inc, Lansing, Mich; Division of Environmental and Occupational Medicine (Dr Tao), Department of Medicine; Division of Occupational Medicine (Dr Bernacki), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

Address correspondence to: Edward J. Bernacki, MD, MPH, Professor and Director of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 600 North Wolfe Street, Billings Administration 129, Baltimore, MD 21287 (

The study received partial funding from Accident Fund Holdings, Inc.

Authors White, Tao, Artuso, Bilinski, Rademacher, and Bernacki have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine