Accident victims should report to emergency room orders Florida bill


The Florida House of Representatives have approved the proposal, where crash victims would be required to report to the hospital emergency rooms within 72 hours in order to be eligible for PIP coverage benefits. The subcommittee has given its approval in a bid to crack down on fraudulent PIP claims that are perpetrated via ‘pain clinics’ throughout the state.

The proposed HB 119 statute managed to sail through the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee 10-5 on January 11. Even the House Civil Justice Subcommittee would be considering it shortly. Florida Legislature had convened the 2012 regular session on Jan 10 and will meet for two months.

However, there are increasing concerns that this move could lead to flooding of emergency rooms and the fraud may eventually move from pain clinics to the hospitals as well. Representative Jim Boyd, Bradenton, and sponsor of the bill has been quoted as saying that the time limit for availing treatment could be extended even up to 14 days. However, the main intent is that the crash victims should seek medical treatment immediately in the emergency rooms and not simply walk in at some point in time at a later stage.

Some sections of the insurance industry have come in support of this measure and have supported the complete repeal of the PIP system in Florida. Governor Rick Scott, who helped start Columbia Hospital Corp., has extended his support stating that there are other approaches in order to license providers etc., but it is a good bill and he is supportive of it. The HB 119 would help in curbing the escalating PIP fraud.

Representative Ritch Workman, Tallahassee had filed the HB 523 in November. According to this approach, new standards would be set and they have to be followed while investigating accident reports. Stringent measures would be used while providing licenses to healthcare clinics that are authorized to submit the PIP claims. The Automobile Insurance Fraud Strike Force would be operational and the bill will divert revenue from the motorist’s license fees for this purpose.

State Senator Joe Negron, Stuart recently introduced legislation, which includes stringent clinic licensure, and provisions for long-form incident reports. Apart from this, Negron’s bill will not only set fee schedules for reimbursement, but also give hospitals priority in PIP claims. It is also being supported by Mike Haridopolos, Republican-Merritt Island. According to a recent report, fraudulent claims have already cost Florida drivers over $800 million.