On April 10, 2017, the New York State Legislature directed the Workers’ Compensation Board to “consult with representatives of labor, business, medical providers, insurance carriers, and self-insured employers regarding revisions to permanency impairment guidelines … [which] shall be reflective of advances in modern medicine that enhance healing and result in better outcomes.”
On September 1, 2017, the Workers’ Compensation Board issued a group of proposed regulations and a draft of new “impairment guidelines.” Taken together, the proposed regulations and guidelines would:
- Significantly impair the ability of injured workers to offer evidence in support of their claims and to obtain fair and just compensation.
- Render injured workers subject to intimidation and investigatory abuse by employers, insurers, and the so-called “independent” medical examiners they employ.
- Drastically reduce, and in most cases eliminate, compensation for permanent injuries to limbs, including: fractures; torn ligaments, tendons, and cartilage; dislocations; and surgery up to and in some cases including total joint replacement.
- Improperly permit the Board to substitute its judgment for the provisions of the law.
The Board’s proposals completely disregard the Legislature’s direction to update its guidelines based on “advances in modern medicine.” Instead, the Board engaged in a wholesale revision of its forms, process, regulations and guidelines in a manner calculated to eliminate compensation benefits for injured workers.
It remains the WCA’s position that there is no cost-based, medical-based, or justice-based reason for these proposed changes.
A summary of the WCA’s comments on the proposed regulations and guidelines can be found HERE.
The full WCA analysis of the proposed regulations and guidelines can be found HERE.