In April 2017, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law the 2017-2018 Executive Budget, which contained several significant pieces of workers’ compensation reform designed to protect workers while also achieving savings for businesses. Included in the reforms was Workers’ Compensation Law (WCL) § 15(3)(x), which requires new Permanency Impairment Guidelines (“Guidelines”) to be adopted by January 1, 2018. The new Guidelines cover determinations of permanency under WCL § 15(3)(a) through (v), which are also known as scheduled loss of use.
As required by law, the Board “publish[ed] proposed” guidelines on September 1, 2017. Publication in the State Register commences a 45-day comment period (which expires on Monday, October 23, 2017). The Guidelines, along with regulations necessary to implement the Guidelines, are available on the Board’s website (www.wcb.ny.gov).
The publication of these proposed Guidelines on September 1, 2017 allows for a full and robust public comment period, and ensures that the regulatory process (including, if needed, a re-publication and second public comment period) can conclude prior to the mandatory implementation of new Guidelines by January 1, 2018.
The Board strongly encourages the public, injured workers, employers, self-insured employers, insurance carriers, third-party administrators, attorneys, medical providers, and labor and business organizations to provide comment. Please submit your comments on or before October 23, 2017 via: Proposed Impairment Guidelines Comments. The Board will evaluate all comments received, and will consider necessary revisions as the process advances.
The Board is committed to the timely and successful implementation of guidelines that are, as the legislation states, “reflective of advances in modern medicine that enhance healing and result in better outcomes” [WCL § 15(3)(x)]. It should be noted that these are proposed Guidelines, which are not in effect.
We look forward to receiving your comments.
Kenneth J. Munnelly