Workers' Compensation Committee Update
April 10, 2009
- PPD Caps Undermined by Proposed Legislation
- Workers' Comp Board Program Bills
- Other Comp Legislation
- RFP for Medical Guidelines Training Services
The Business Council is working to defeat legislation – S.2781 (Onorato)/A.2135 (John) - that would give a legal presumption of permanent total disability to any comp claimant that also qualifies for Social Security disability benefits. Our memo in opposition, and the bill text, is available here. This legislation has been introduced by the Labor chairs in both houses. Senate Labor Committee staff has told us the Committee are considering moving this legislation, which they characterized as a “lessening of administrative burdens on claimants,” and is seeking additional input from the business community.
I would appreciate any additional input from Council members on this legislation. I also urge you to weigh in with the bill's two sponsors, Senator George Onorato and Assemblywoman Susan John, to express your opposition to this proposal. Please feel free to contact me if you need any assistance with your company-specific advocacy efforts.
The Board has introduced three program bills, which to date have only been introduced in the Senate. These include:
- S.3381 (Onorato), establishes a 30 day time limit for appeals of unanimous WCB panel decisions to the full board (the same time limit that currently applies to appeals of non-unanimous decisions), and requires that appeals to the appellate division raise specific alleged deficiencies of the board's decisions, rather than simply raising the same issues that were initially raised before the Board. The board believes these changes will both expedite appeals, and reduce the number of unwarranted judicial appeals.
- S3382 (Onorato), allows independent medical reports to be submitted to the Workers' Compensation Board in a manner acceptable to the board, even if that form is different than the form in which IME reports are submitted to other parties. This is intended to allow IME reports to be submitted to the board in electronic format, even in instances where the claimant's physician or representative cannot accept electronic versions
- S.3779 (Savino), which makes numerous technical amendments to 2008 law extending workers' compensation coverage to certain livery drivers.
These bills can be reviewed on the New York State Senate Web site.
Please contact me with any comments or questions on these proposals, including recommendations on Business Council's advocacy position.
An overview of other Workers' Compensation Law legislation introduced to date for the 2009 legislative session is available on our Web site here (). The Business Council has formally opposed three bills,
- A.469/S.2249, which provides indexed increases in appropriations, and employer assessments, to support occupational health clinics.
- S.2364, which would allow claimants to obtain diagnostic services from any health care provider, regardless of whether their employer/insurer has contracted with a diagnostic network.
- S.2781/A.2135 discussed above.
The Workers' Compensation Board has issued a request for proposal for a contractor to develop, then maintain, and update a customized Medical Guidelines Training Program. The Board issued draft medical treatment guidelines for back, neck, shoulder and knee in 2009. This RFP would result in a program to educate physicians on the use of these guidelines, which eventually will be adopted by the Board as the standard of care for medical treatment under the comp program. To obtain a copy of the RFP and all attachments, please go to the Boards' web site here.
As always, please feel free to contact Ken Pokalsky regarding any issue discussed in this update, or any other issue related to workers' compensation in New York State.