New Report on the New York Workers’ Compensation System

Recently, the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) published its annual report which analyzes various developments in the operation of the New York Workers’ Compensation system.

The WCRI has published seven (7) prior reports with the purpose of providing a longitudinal study of the effect of the sweeping New York Workers’ Compensation reforms enacted in 2007. These reforms set limits on the number of weeks of permanent partial disability payments allowed, raised statutory benefit amounts, established defined medical treatment guidelines, created networks for diagnostic services, and introduced administrative changes to increase the velocity that cases are resolved, amongst others. According to the WCRI, the various changes became effective at different times and, as such, it may take a few more years for the full impact of the reforms to be viewed in proper context.

The WCRI’s most recent report determined the following:

  • Between the years of 2007 and 2009, indemnity payments per claim increased at a high rate. Since 2009, indemnity payments for individual claims continued to increase at approximately 6% a year for claims at twelve months of maturity and approximately 7-9% for long claim maturities.
  • Since the establishment of the Medical Treatment Guidelines, the number of claimant visits decreased for chiropractors and physical therapists compared to previous years.
  • Very little change was noted in the average defense payment per claim for 2010, however an increase of approximately 10% a year for 2011 to 2013 for claims at twelve months of maturity.

The WCRI study used closed and open indemnity and medical only claims with injury dates from October 2004 through September 2013, with experience as of March 2014. The WCRI is a not-for-profit research organization located in Massachusetts.

Source: Monitoring Trends in the New York Workers’ Compensation System, 2005-2013. Carol A. Telles and Ramona P. Tanabe. February 2016. WC-16-38.

Joseph Melchionne is an associate attorney at Lois LLC where he defends employers and carriers in New York workers’ compensation claims. Joseph can be reached directly at jmelchionne@loisllc.com or 201-880-7213.