Dear NYCOSH Members and Community,
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has proposed drastic cuts to protections for injured workers, slashing their injury payments. 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.
Citing “advances in modern medicine”, the purpose of the Comp Board’s proposed regulations was to adjust benefit payments according to medical improvements that have occurred in the past ten years.
Without any regard for injured workers – or medical science – the Workers’ Compensation Board issued cost-cutting and protection-slashing guidelines that will strip already weak protections and render workers’ comp impossible for many of New York’s injured workers.
With these proposals, the Workers’ Compensation Board will:
- Open the door for doctors, insurance companies, and employers to mistreat already injured workers.The proposal impacts injured workers vulnerable to various forms of discrimination, bias, and potential abuse by giving company doctors 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.
NYCOSH urges all unions, labor activists, health care advocates, health and safety supporters, and individuals to submit public comments opposing these backwards proposals by emailing the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org by October 23, 2017.
At a time when workers’ rights are under attack all over the country, when workers’ safety is being threatened by the slashing of regulations, New York State needs to focus on how to improve the lives of workers – including those who are injured and disabled.
Executive Director, NYCOSH
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