Featured Guests
Dongchun Wang

Dongchun Wang is an economist at WCRI. Her research focuses on medical practice patterns and medical care delivered to...

Dr. Vennela Thumla

Dr. Vennela Thumla is a policy analyst at WCRI. She conducts research examining costs, prices, and utilization of pharmaceuticals...

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Alan Pierce

Alan S. Pierce has served as chairperson of the American Bar Association Worker’s Compensation Section and the Massachusetts Bar...

At the 2015 Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) Annual Issues & Research Conference, panels of experts discussed the cost and impacts of physician dispensing drugs. Physician dispensed drugs are prescribed drugs available to be purchased directly from the physician (or in the physician’s office). Alternatively, prescriptions are filled at a pharmacy, often times with a cheaper (generic brand) version of the drug. The WCRI conference panel, “Physician Dispensing: Costs and Consequences,” dealt with regulation reforms, how they affected the cost of drugs, and behavioral effects.

Workers Comp Matters host Alan Pierce attended the conference and sat down with two panelists to further discuss their panel topics. Dongchun Wang of WCRI discusses her research, the frequency and cost of physician dispensing and how it impacts workers compensation claim costs. The study analyzed reforms in the regulation of physician’s ability to dispense drugs across several states. Dr. Vennela Thumla of WCRI talks about her study on the relationship between physician dispensing and unnecessary opioid use (only in the state of Florida). She explains why this research is important and gives examples of opioid alternatives that emerged after a particular reform.

Ms Dongchun Wang is an economist at WCRI. Her research focuses on medical practice patterns and medical care delivered to injured workers. She is the lead author of several studies that evaluate physician dispensing reforms in a number of states in recent years and of several other WCRI studies on utilization of workers’ compensation pharmaceuticals and prescribing patterns of opioids. During her tenure with WCRI, she has participated in earlier editions of the CompScope™ benchmarks and several public policy studies. She holds a master’s degree in applied economics and did her graduate work in applied econometrics, labor economics, and industrial organization at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Vennela Thumla is a policy analyst at WCRI. She conducts research examining costs, prices, and utilization of pharmaceuticals in state workers’ compensation systems, focusing on prescribing patterns of opioids and physician dispensing. She is also involved in a research project examining the self-reported outcomes of injured workers, including recovery of health and functioning, speed and sustainability of return to work, and access to care. Dr. Thumula received her Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi, School of Pharmacy.

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Episode Details
Published: May 5, 2015
Podcast: Workers Comp Matters
Category: Medical Law
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Workers Comp Matters
Workers Comp Matters

Workers' Comp Matters encompasses all aspects of workers' compensation from cases and benefits to recovery.

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