Albany, NY (WorkersCompensation.com) – Health and safety advocates and medical professionals from across New York State gathered for a press conference in Albany today before submitting testimony to the Assembly Committee on Labor to demand the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board withdraw its proposed guidelines.
According to a document released on the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health website, the proposed guidelines would:
- Give company-assigned doctors undue power to suspend care. With this new “insult to injury rule” already injured workers will not be allowed unbiased medical care and will be forced to go to a company-assigned doctor who can perform any exam or ask any question-regardless of relevance to a person’s injury. If the company doctor then decides that that worker did not “fully cooperate” with the exam, the doctor can recommend a suspension of benefits and care.
- Slash protections by eliminating injury payments for a number of injuries to workers already struggling to make ends meet. Fractures, ligament and tendon tears, dislocated patellas – the list goes on and on of painful life-altering injuries to the body that would be eliminated from any payment under the comp system. The proposals also slash vital injury payments for a number of impairments associated with a workers’ ability to fully extend their arms and legs, cutting benefits by up to 97% for some injuries.
- Illegally seize the power of the legislature to determine the nature of medical impairment, eliminating accountability and transparency and spelling doom for Workers Comp in New York State. This proposal grants the Board sweeping authority to sidestep the law to adjust claims, regardless of what the legislation guarantees.
Leading the press conference, Nadia Marin-Molina, Associate Director at NYCOSH stated, “On April 10, 2017, the Workers’ Comp Board was given the mandate to make recommendations to revise the injury payment amounts that workers receive when they are injured on the job. Without any regard for injured workers or medical science, the Workers’ Compensation Board issued protection-slashing guidelines that will strip already weak protections and render workers’ comp impossible for many of New York’s injured workers.” (Read NYCOSH’s testimony submitted to the New York State Labor Committee here)
Advocates also decried the proposals’ impact on injured immigrant workers.
“The Workers’ Compensation Board’s proposals to limit workers’ access to doctors of their choice in favor of company doctors would cause workers with limited English proficiency to face even more barriers accessing the already difficult…