WCA Announces 2011/2012 Legislative Agenda

The New York Workers’ Compensation Alliance recognizes that benefits and due process for injured workers in the workers’ compensation system are governed not only by statute, but also by regulation and administrative procedures.  Our 2011 Legislative Agenda focuses primarily on statutory amendments, but also identifies areas in need of additional regulation. 

 

 

 Our legislative priorities are:

 

            1.         Restoring the safety net for permanently partially

                        disabled workers.

 

We support:

 

 a.         S00728 - the Social Security Presumption Bill;

 

 b.         Amending WCL Section 15(3)(v) to prevent

             discrimination against immigrant workers;

 

 c.        Amending WCL Section 35(3) to reduce the

            threshold for Safety Net consideration from an

           80% loss of wage earning capacity to a 50%

           loss of wage earning capacity;

 

 d.         Adopting guidelines for the determination of

            loss of wage earning capacity that are fair to

            injured workers.

 

  

2.         Preserving the right to due process for injured

            workers.

 

 We support:

 

 a.         A1817 - the Right to a Hearing Bill;

 

 b.         S04112 - the Reporter Bill;

 

 c.         Amending WCL Section 24 to provide for

             attorneys fees in cases involving medical

             treatment;

 

 d.        Amending WCL Sections 23 and 24 to provide

           for the provision of attorney fees to claimant

           attorneys in connection with appeals to the

           Appellate Division;

 

 e.         Amending WCL Section 162 to extend the

             time frame for filing WTC-12 registration

             forms;

 

 f.         Enacting regulations that prohibit unfettered

            cross-examination of injured workers and

            health care providers in the absence of

            contrary evidence submitted by the employer

            or carrier.

 

 We oppose:

 

 a.         A5923/S4176 – requiring injured workers to

             respond to insurance carrier questionnaires.

  

 

3.         Protecting the right to appropriate medical treatment for injured workers.

 

 

 We support:

 

           a.         A6294/S3746 - the Medical Treatment

                       Guidelines Retroactivity Bill;

 

           b.         A01972/S3056 - expanding the availability of

                       medical care for  psychological injury and

                      disability by authorizing treatment by certified

                      social workers;

 

c.         Withdrawal and re-evaluation of all current

            Medical Treatment Guidelines regulations

            and process;

 

d.         Enacting regulations that govern employer

            and carrier relationships with diagnostic test

            networks, notice of such relationships, quality

            care standards, and provision of diagnostic

            test reports;

 

 

e.         Enacting regulations that govern the Board’s

            use of impartial specialists, guaranteeing the

            impartiality of such specialists and providing

            oversight.

 

 

  

4.         Repairing gaps in the law.

 

 We support:

 


a.         A00186 - a cost-of-living adjustment for

            permanently totally disabled workers and

            dependents in death cases;

 


b.         Amending WCL Sections 15(3)(w) and 15(6)

            to harmonize the effective dates of the caps

            on permanent partial disability benefits and

            increased benefit rates;

 


c.         Amending WCL Section 15(6) to index the

            minimum benefit rate;

 


d.         Amending WCL Section 16(4)(b) to increase

            no dependency awards to $100,000 and

            indexing same;


e.         Amending WCL Section 15(6)(a)(4) to prohibit

            reduction in the state average weekly wage for

            purposes of the Workers’ Compensation Law;

 

f.          Amending WCL Section 204  to increase the

           maximum rate for NYS Disability Benefits from

           $170 per week to $500 per week;

 

g.         Amending VFBL Sections 8 through 11 to

           increase the rates for Volunteer Firefighter

           Benefit Law claims to correspond to the

            maximum workers compensation benefit

            rate, as indexed;

 

h.         Amending WCL Section 27 to include

            self-insured employers and the State Insurance

            Fund in addition to private insurance carriers;

 

i.          Amending WCL Section 29 to provide

           employers and carriers with a lien on the

           portion of third-party recoveries corresponding

           to workers’ compensation benefits;

 

j.          Adopting regulations governing “independent

           medical examinations,” delineating permissible

           relationships between medical consultants,

            IME vendors, and carriers, establishing data

           tracking for the reports of such physicians, and

           strengthening and clarifying existing regulations

           regarding IME examinations and reports.

 

A detailed description of the agenda is available here

 

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