The Business Council of New York State supports this bill which would amend current law to permit independent medical exam reports to be filed with the Workers' Compensation Board electronically, while maintaining that other parties to the claim receive the report "in the same manner."
Current law requires all parties entitled to receive a copy of the independent medical exam report to receive the report "in the same manner" to prevent any perceived advantage from occurring to a party in receipt of the information sooner. The practical effect of the current law is added time and added expense, if one party is unable to or unwilling to receive the information electronically.
The law becomes even more cumbersome in its application for the Workers' Compensation Board, which has interpreted the law to hold the Board to the same standard in terms of the form of delivery of the information. With the Board's antiquated legacy computer systems, paper material received by the Board, must first be scanned and then directed to the proper e-case file. This is true of all paper forms and reports received by the Board related to any claim, not just independent medical exam reports. The volume of paperwork received by the Board continues to grow, with the Board alone amending 45 forms last year and introducing 10 new forms.
As the Board is an adjudication body — not a plaintiff (claimant) or defendant (carrier) — there is no reason to require "the same manner" standard found in current law to the Board. There is no real or perceived advantage to the Board, should it receive information electronically. In the interest of Board staff efficiency and expediency of claims and treatment, the Board should have the authority to receive information electronically from independent medical examiners, regardless of how other parties choose to receive the information. This would permit the Board to focus on its core mission — adjudication — rather than bureaucratic processes which require staff resources and cause delays in moving workers' compensation cases to resolution. For these reasons, The Business Council supports S. 2138.