OP-ED: New York State Committed to Improving Outdated Workers’ Compensation System By JEFFREY FENSTER

Hezi Aris Op-Ed 14 Comments

Fenster_JeffreyGovernor Andrew Cuomo inherited a century-old workers' compensation system in extreme dysfunction, caused by years of neglect and special interest lobbying. Independent research, such as studies by the Workers' Compensation Research Institute, shows that compared to other states, New York’s system is slow to pay injured workers and produces poor medical outcomes. It is undisputed that prompt delivery of benefits is good for injured workers and reduces employer costs. Yet those most in need receive least, our workers wait longer for benefits, and our costs to employers are the fifth highest in the nation. Things needed to change.

Already, under Governor Cuomo’s administration, the Workers’ Compensation Board has been aggressive in improving the system. We fully implemented and continue improving upon the 2007 Reform. That was followed by an increase in the minimum benefit from $100 to $150, protecting New York’s most vulnerable employees. Simultaneously, the Board tackled the high and rising cost of workers' compensation assessments on employers. In March 2013, Governor Cuomo signed the Business Relief Act, which included $800 million in assessment savings to employers in 2014 – a drop from 18.8% to 13.8% of premium. Ensuing years will see assessment savings of $300 million. Employers are already realizing the benefits of this legislation.

Next, the Board is upgrading its aging technology and outdated business processes with two key initiatives. We are implementing electronic reporting, or “eClaims,” revolutionizing the haphazard paper reporting process of injuries and payments that the state has used for almost a century. For the first time, the Board will know when injuries occur and when payments are made. True oversight will be possible.

No agency can properly regulate a $7 billion, 21st century system on a 20th century platform. Our claims system was designed nearly 20 years ago, before the Internet age. The new claims system we build must improve employee and employer experience by leveraging technology and well tested, industry best practices.

When large organizations seek to improve overall performance, they commonly embark on a “business process re-engineering project” or BPR. The Board’s second key initiative is a BPR focused on designing a system that functions better for all our constituencies. The study will guide changes to processes and assess how to use technology to better serve employees and employers.

The Board cannot succeed acting in isolation. Consequently, we are in the midst of unprecedented public outreach. We are gathering ideas from injured workers, businesses, public employers, organized labor, healthcare providers, insurance carriers, attorneys, and other industry professionals through a variety of forums and focus groups.

Our most concerted outreach is to the injured workers who are the heart of our system. Our dedicated injured worker focus group, labor groups around the state, injured worker days in our offices, and an ongoing injured worker survey with 6,000 responses to date all contribute to this initiative.

To be transparent and build trust, we regularly post our outreach schedule and the comments we receive to our website (www.wcb.ny.gov). When the study concludes, the Board will post final recommendations and an implementation roadmap.

For the first time in a long time, the Board is systematically identifying and fixing the fundamental problems in our system. Improving a system that decayed for decades is not easy. Not every vested interest will agree on every recommendation. Interest groups that profit from dysfunction will defend this indefensible status quo. Guided by our core belief that everyone benefits from timely and appropriate lost wage benefits and medical care, the Board is ready for the challenge and is committed to fighting for a better workers' compensation system in New York State.

First published in The Buffalo News, January 12, 2014.

Jeffrey Fenster, Esq., is executive director of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.

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Hezi ArisOP-ED: New York State Committed to Improving Outdated Workers’ Compensation System By JEFFREY FENSTER

Comments 14

  1. T imGolden

    [yoo-hoo] [yoo-hoo]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    G-D wants y’all to(o)
    ‘take and drink’ (t)HIS Cup of (not hemlock) T:
    Q: if Moses threw out G-D’S Mail
    then where would we (man and woman) be?
    ‘in other words’
    Q: if Moses threw out The Ten CommandmenTs
    then where would we (man and woman) be?
    p.s.
    sip! sip!
    and
    HE HE HE

  2. T imGolden

    [yoo-hoo] [yoo-hoo]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): the President(s) + the Congress(es) + the EEOC
    (google it! vs google chrome it! vs bring it!)
    Q: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_i4RPsAENE
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    HE HE HE

  3. TimboGolden

    [cock-a-doodle do!o] [cock-a-doodle do!o]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): Insurance carriers are reminded of their obligation to offer a Section 32 agreement
    to settle compensation and other benefits due to the claimanT
    within six months of a PPD classification.
    Such an offer shall be made to the claimant’s legal representative,
    if one exists.
    If not, the offer shall also include a statement of rights, obligations, and potential liabilities
    if the offer is accepted (WCL §32(a)).
    (google it! vs google chrome it! vs yahoo it! vs ask it! vs bring it!)
    Q: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/SubjectNos/sn046_548.jsp
    Fact1: On 3/28/2013 NYS WCALJudge Robert Anderson classified me as having
    Permanent Partial Disability (PPD);
    for employer I could do inside work or outside work
    (as an indoor technician or as an outdoor technician) with restrictions
    Fact2: I have been waiting almost 3 years now (nunc)
    for(e!) my employer’s carrier Sedgwick Claims to offer me my section 32 agreement
    Fact3: I have been waiting 5 years now (nunc)
    for(e!) my employer to engage me and my doctor Dr. Lippe “in good faith” in the mandatory ADA interactive process
    Fact4(e!): I have been waiting 5 years now (nunc)
    for(e!) my employer to offer me a reasonable accommodation (which would include
    a reassignment to the no Carry LADDER no Climb LADDER tone and mark gang)
    p.s.
    chew! chew!

  4. TimboGolden

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    On 9/6/2013 NYS WCB commissioner(s) Munnelly + 2 non-attorneys (Williams and Higgins) ‘reviewed (examined) and rescinded’ my NYS WCALJudge Robert Anderson’s decision.
    My attorneys at Fine, Olin & Anderman appealed and requested a Full Board Review.
    On 11/25/2013 NYS WCB chair Beloten solely denied me a Full Board Review.
    On 12/12/2013 the Third Judicial Department decided that
    “only a three member panel can deny a Full Board Review”
    (see Scalo v. Perry & Sons)
    On 12/27/2013 NYS WCB chair Beloten got 2 subordinates (Libous and Munnelly) to sign order denying me a Full Board Review.
    p.s.
    Q1: was not Munnelly NYS WCB general counsel and NYS WCB ethics officer?
    Q2: how much time did each person spend ‘reviewing’ (examining) my NYS WCALJudge’s decision?
    Q3: did Libous sign order denying me a Full Board Review
    while in Florida or while in New York?
    Q4: is not Libous a nurse?
    if Libous is a nurse (in other words a non-attorney)
    then why is a nurse ‘reviewing’ (examining) any NYS WCALJudge’s decisions?
    Q5: if Munnelly + 2 non-attorneys rescinded my NYS WCALJudge’s decision in September 2013
    then why is Munnelly again being asked by his boss to deny me a Full Board Review?
    p.p.s.
    5 = a hand
    p.p.p.s.
    Trust but Verify
    p.p.p.p.s.
    NYS WCB commissioner bios
    (google it! bing it! ask it! aol it! yahoo it!)
    p.p.p.p.p.s.
    http://www.timesunion.com/local/articleComments/FBI-agents-raid-Libous-home-5684801.php

  5. TimboGolden

    bro(t)her! I do don’t you want (desire) to ‘see and hear’:
    1) a Chinese pope right wrongs for G-D!
    2) a Jewish US president right wrongs for G-D!

  6. TimboGolden

    [cock-a-doodle do!o] [cock-a-doodle do!o]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    G-D wants y’all to(o)
    ‘take and drink’ (t)HIS Cup of (not hemlock) T:
    Fact: Former EEOC Chair Brown said that he took a dozen
    (not a baker’s dozen?)
    EEOC secretaries and trained them to become EEOC investigators
    http://www.americanbar.org/content/newsletter/groups/labor_law/ll_flash/2014/apr2014/chair.html
    Q1: has the NYPD (or the NCPD or the SCPD) ever taken a dozen
    (not a baker’s dozen?)
    NYPD secretaries and trained them to become NYPD investigators?
    A: nyet!
    Q2: when are you going to charge the EEOC with impersonating
    a Law Enforcement Organization?
    p.s.
    sip! sip!
    and
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8t1r2DSxsg

  7. TimboGolden

    [yoo-hoo] [yoo-hoo]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): The EEOC also is not a high priority of President Clinton.
    While Clinton has proposed raising the agency’s budget
    to $268 million next year,
    1) he didn’t get a chairman installed for nearly 21 months
    and
    2) he waited two full years before nominating a new prosecutor
    for the commission (the EEOC).
    p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    shame! shame! shame! on you (Presidents + Congresses + EEOC)

  8. TimboGolden

    [yoo-hoo] [yoo-hoo]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): what is EEOC doing to tackle the backlog? “Worse than nothing,”
    says Martin.
    The Union has filed unfair labor complaints in each of EEOC’s 53 offices,
    charging that the agency mandated quotas of cases
    each employee had to shut down (close) (dump)
    before the end of FY10.
    Martin states, “The EEOC panicked before the 4th quarter, ratcheting up
    the case dumping requirements
    to try to improve the dismal year-end statistics that must be reported
    to Congress.
    Neither the public or EEOC workers should have to suffer
    because of this poor solution to the backlog.”
    (google it! vs google chrome it! vs bring it!)
    Q: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    dumped cases (?) = FRAUD
    In law,
    FRAUD is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain,
    or to
    deprive a vicTim of a legal right.
    p.s.
    Trust but Verify
    p.p.s.
    http://www.council216.org/docs/20101007prfiscalnewyr11.pdf
    p.p.p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    thank you Council President Gabrielle Martin for ‘blowing the whistle’
    in 2010
    and
    thank you Google Chrome for helping her in 2016 ‘blow the whistle’
    again

  9. TimboGolden

    [yoo-hoo] [yoo-hoo]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    come out, come out, wherever you are
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): “EEOC is kicking off its 45th anniversary celebration.
    This anniversary comes at a time when too many discrimination claims are
    1) buried in the backlog
    or
    2) dumped in order to help EEOC’s year end statistics,”
    says Gabrielle Martin, president of the National Council of EEOC Locals,
    216, AFGE/AFL-CIO (“the Council”), which represents the agency’s workers.
    (google it! vs google chrome it! vs bring it!)
    Q: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    dumped cases (?) = FRAUD
    In law,
    FRAUD is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain,
    or to
    deprive a vicTim of a legal right.
    p.s.
    Trust but Verify
    p.p.s.
    https://www.afge.org/Index.cfm?Page=PressReleases&PressReleaseID=1194
    p.p.p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    let’s thank Council President Gabrielle Martin for ‘blowing the whistle’
    in 2010
    and
    let’s thank Google Chrome for helping her in 2016 ‘blow the whistle’
    again

  10. TimboGolden

    [cock-a-doodle do!o] [cock-a-doodle do!o]
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    wakie wakie
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): EEOC UNION FILES ULP COMPLAINTS AGAINST ALL 53 EEOC FIELD OFFICES
    (google it! vs google chrome it! vs yahoo it! vs ask it! vs bring it!)
    Q1: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    According to Council President Gabrielle Martin,
    “These ULP’s will hopefully stop EEOC cases from being dumped
    at the end of the year, which is unfair both to the public (Taxpayers!
    who are also complainanTs) and EEOC employees.”
    Q2: did y’all ‘catch and reel in’ (t)HIS:
    dumped cases (?) = FRAUD
    In law,
    FRAUD is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain,
    or to
    deprive a vicTim of a legal right.
    p.s.
    Trust but Verify
    p.p.s.
    http://www.council216.org/docs/201008-prulpprodstdfinal.pdf
    p.p.p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    shame! shame! shame! on you [Presidents + Congresses + EEOC]

  11. TimboGolden

    U.S. Department of Justice,
    whatcha doin’?
    let’s go fishing!
    on G-D’S web
    for(e!): The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) serves as a watchdog?
    (google it! vs google chrome it! vs bring it!)
    p.s.
    U.S. Department of Justice,
    Q: did you ‘catch and reel in” (t)HIS:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvoiTNVwVxM
    p.p.s.
    chew! chew!
    and
    HE HE HE

  12. Caroline Danvers

    I don’t think anyone wants to need workers compensation; certainly not anyone who has had to go through it before. It is time consuming, requires a lot of work to manage on your end, and often just doesn’t make up for the income you lost. If things are especially slow, hiring a good lawyer can make a world of difference.

    http://www.lshlaw.com

  13. john bond

    It’s great that they’re doing this. It’s probably the first time in a long time that the government has actually worked FOR workers rather then against them. I am happy to hear that things are looking up for workers rather then fighting against them.
    John Bond

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