The New York Workers’ Compensation Alliance (NYWCA) has launched a campaign to fight proposed Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) regulations and impairment guidelines that it says would drastically cut compensation awards for injured workers.
In the New York State budget that was finalized on April 10, 2017, the State Legislature requested guideline revisions to account for advances in modern medicine that enhance healing and result in better outcomes. The WCB proposed a wholesale revision of forms, processes, regulations and guidelines that would eliminate compensation benefits for injured workers who have lost the use of limbs.
The WCB proposals focus on schedule loss of use awards, which compensate injured workers who have lost some or all of the use of their limbs. The NYWCA campaign – #ProtectInjuredWorkers – aims to raise awareness of the cuts through social and traditional media while supporting petition and email-writing efforts that target the WCB.
NYWCA is a group of law firms and other organizations representing injured workers.
“In the original workers’ compensation bargain, workers gave up the right to sue employers for workplace injury based on the assurance that they would be compensated for their injuries through the workers’ compensation system,” said Robert Grey, chair of NYWCA, in a press release issued by the NYWCA. “These proposed regulations and guidelines destroy that bargain and would leave thousands of injured workers with no compensation at all for their workplace injury.”
Grey noted in the release that existing guidelines are based largely on range of motion and function, and that this builds in the result of advances in medical science. If advances in surgery or therapy result in improved range of motion and function, a schedule loss evaluation will be correspondingly lower than it would have been at an earlier time when the surgery was performed differently, leaving the worker with poorer range of motion and function, according to the release.
The Business Council of New York State has asserted that revisions are necessary because schedule-loss-of-use costs are skyrocketing. However, the NYWCA stated in its release that schedule loss awards represent a small portion of all employer costs, which were just reduced by nearly a half billion dollars.
Source: The New York Workers’ Compensation Alliance
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