New York Workers' Comp Reform Highlights

Date: April 18, 2017

Lawmakers came to an agreement on New York State’s budget a little more than a week late following a period of contentious negotiations on issues including ride sharing, affordable housing, raising the age of criminal responsibility, charter schools, and workers’ compensation reforms.

NFIB/NY made meaningful workers’ compensation reform a top priority for this legislative session, and hundreds of NFIB/NY members took the time to contact lawmakers on the issue. With the third highest comp costs in the nation, small businesses in New York struggle under premium costs that have risen more than 9 percent just last year. The negotiated comp reform package represents progress and includes several measures that will reduce costs for employers.

Details of the workers’ compensation reform package are as follows:

*Capping classification of Maximum Medical Improvement at 2.5 years by creation of a credit to employers for temporary payments beyond the threshold;

*The guaranteed development of new Impairment Guidelines to be adopted by January 1, 2018 that will adhere to modern medical evidence and modern medical outcomes; and

*The issuance of a pharmaceutical formulary by the Workers Compensation Board by December 31, 2017.

In addition, there are provisions to:
*Create a panel to study independent medical examinations;
*Wind down Special Funds;
*Create minor modifications to NYCIRB’s public reporting and recertification as the rate setting organization until 2018; and
*Establish performance standards for penalties and assessments on carriers and self- insured employers.

NFIB/NY and other business groups will continue talks with lawmakers to push for additional reforms that we hoped would be in the final budget agreement.

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