The Business Council of New York State, Inc., a broad-based, statewide membership organization of over 3,500 companies, chambers of commerce and trade associations has reviewed the aforementioned legislation and strongly opposes its enactment.
Under the provisions of this bill, an employer would be required to pay for medical services in
controverted occupational disease claims. If the employer prevails in its case it before the arbitration panel, it would then be reimbursed by a "special medical care payment" fund created by the bill.
The Business Council recognizes this legislation is well-intended. Workers who are injured need and deserve timely medical intervention. The business community has long supported reasonable efforts to speed workers back to health. Businesses clearly benefit from a healthy workforce.
We believe however, that the creation of a "special medical care payment" fund would drive up the cost of workers' compensation in New York State. The creation of a new special fund would result in an additional assessment and therefore, higher costs for all employers. Our belief is based on facts. We have seen the marked increase in the use of the "second injury" fund, one of the ten "special funds" in the workers' compensation system. In 1992, a total of $148 million was collected in assessments for the second injury fund alone, by 1999 that number had reached $410 million. We believe that the creation of another fund would lead to an increase in assessment costs for businesses.
For these reasons, The Business Council of New York State, Inc. urges the defeat of this legislation.