The Workers’ Compensation system, inherited by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, is over a century old. The New York system does not compare well with Workers’ Compensation systems in other states. Independent research and studies, carried out by the Worker’s Compensation Research Institute, makes it clear that the New York system is extremely dysfunctional. This is due to a variety of factors, but special interest lobbying and a failure to address current worker needs and interests were the two main culprits behind the system’s decline.
Tackling the Outdated New York Workers’ Compensation System – What’s Wrong With It?
The general consensus is that the New York system produces poor quality medical outcomes, and injured workers have to wait too long before receiving compensation. Slow compensation can easily lead to devastating consequences for injured workers and their families. Prompt attention and compensation for work-sustained injuries is beneficial to employers as well as the injured employee. Workers in the New York system, however, have to wait longer for their benefits than workers in other states. It is time for a change.
Workers’ Compensation Board Tackles The Weaknesses Of The System
The good news is that the Workers’ Compensation Board, during Cuomo’s tenure, has aggressively tackled the weaknesses of the system. The minimum benefit was increased from $100 to $150. This is a major step in protecting the most vulnerable workers in the New York system. The Board has also addressed the issue of the rising cost of workers’ compensation assessment on employers. Research shows that the cost to employers in New York is the fifth highest in the nation.
Addressing The Workers’ Compensation Issue Of Processing Compensation Claims
A different issue addressed by the board is the technology and business processes required in processing compensation claims and issues. Our claims system is over twenty years old. In other words, it was designed prior to the Internet age and revolution. An efficient system requires 21st century technology. Paper processing and reporting can be clumsy and haphazard. The board is replacing paper reporting and processing with electronic reporting. Electronic reporting is much more reliable, efficient, and faster. It makes it possible for the board to know exactly what injuries occurred and when a worker received payment.
Outreach To Injured Workers In Updates To The Workers’ Compensation System
The heart of the system is the injured worker, and the board plans to address efforts accordingly. The outreach to injured workers revolves around four elements; injured worker focus groups, labor groups, hosting injured worker days, and conducting injured worker surveys. This requires openness and transparency with the public. The board shares the outreach schedule and the comments received on the board website at www.wcb. After the conclusion of the study, they will include final recommendations and a detailed strategy for implementing the necessary changes.