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Legislative Memo

Lev Ginsburg
Director of Government Affairs
T 518.465.7517 x207
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.1114-A (Maziarz) / A.6634 (Wright)

Support

SUBJECT:

Authorizes certain care and treatment to injured employees receiving workers' compensation benefits; relates to massage therapy services

 

DATE:

May 9, 2014

 

The Business Council opposes S.1114-A/A.6634 which would create a fee schedule for massage therapy services, essentially expanding the comp system to include yet another group of workers compensation providers and mandating that employers and insurers pay for the services of licensed massage therapists (LMTs) under the Workers' Compensation Law.

The adoption of objective medical treatment guidelines for injured workers that identify specific medical treatments that are considered appropriate and effective has been a significant undertaking and one that The Business Council hopes will bring not only the best care to injured workers but will provide that care in cost-effective manner.

While some components of massage therapy, when properly prescribed by a physician and performed by a licensed health care provider, such as a physical therapist, are covered and regularly reimbursed under the Workers' Compensation law, this bill would greatly broaden the scope and breadth of the services provided under the comp system. The bill provides no parameters for the practice of LMTs, nor does it provide any requirement for physician oversight, thus allowing LMTs in the comp system to treat clients and bill employers with more independence than licensed occupational and physical therapists in the same system.

There is little doubt that this bill would lead to proliferation of massage treatment under the comp system and will significantly increase costs for employers, at a time when reducing the costs of an extraordinarily expensive system should be a priority. To impose legislatively-determined treatment and provider status contradicts the purpose of the development and implementation of evidence-based medical treatment guidelines and would undermine extensive work done by the Board.

The Business Council respectfully opposes S.1114-A/A.6634 as contrary to the purpose of recently introduced evidence-based medical treatment guidelines and cost-effective treatment goals.