The Florida Legislative session ended last night, and the House and Senate could not agree on a few key terms. Unless a special session is called, the law in effect now will remain in force until at least the 2018 session.
Both the House and Senate bills had some good fixes for us; making the 5 days for the 1-time change business days for example. However, I did NOT like the change in 3 and 10 day rule, it would require a carrier not just to respond as it is now, but to make a decision to accept or deny anything recommended by an authorized treater or you would waive medical necessity. That would have made us make a lot more snap decisions, which could have led to more unnecessary litigation.
One major item that the House and Senate could not agree on was a cap on hourly claimant attorney fees. The original House bill capped the hourly rate at $150, while the Senate had it at $250. The Senate then revised their bill to $200….but then amended it back to $250. The House agreed to $180…but the session ended there with no further discussions and nothing passed. I’m not sure that any cap would hold up to a challenge as there are now dozens of JCC orders out there stating the reasonable and appropriate rates for each individual attorney, with some as high as $450 in S. Florida.
For now, its business as usual. Keep up the good fight.
Morgan Indek | Partner