Your recent article on pharmaceutical products for patients in the workers' compensation system raised the issue of the cost of medications ("Doctors overcharge on workers' comp medicine, critics say," Dec. 28).
There are issues with the cost of medications in any managed system. The cost of medications can vary by pharmacy, by geographic region and even by the day purchased or picked up. This isn't unique to workers' compensation issues. It is a problem that physicians want to see fixed.
However, we don't want to see it fixed by saying that physicians cannot prescribe and dispense medications. That will only make solving the issue more difficult. Removing competition or restricting a group of people from helping make a system simpler in order to manage profits is not moving medicine in the right direction.
When workers in Maryland are injured or sick, what they want is the best care possible, delivered as easily as possible. Making a sick person go to one place for care, another for medical equipment and still another for prescriptions may be the most efficient way to deliver care from a business perspective, but it neglects the time, trouble and irritation it causes for patients. The argument that workers' compensation needs to be made more complex will not make sense to people who actually hope to use the health care system.
Let's keep the patient at the center of health care and work to make receiving care as easy as possible. This means letting patients receive their medication where they receive care.
Dr. Tyler Cymet, Owings Mills
The writer is president-elect of MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society.-
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