New York Expands Workers’ Compensation Program to Allow Additional Provider Types
Workers’ compensation laws can be difficult to understand. Each state has different laws, so what is allowed in some states may be banned in others. For example, in New York, only certain doctors—physicians, psychologists, chiropractors and podiatrists—were once allowed to provide medical care to injured workers. That will change once the new year hits.
Starting January 1, 2020, New York is making changes to its current workers’ compensation laws, allowing patients to choose from a wider range of medical providers. Under the Expanded Provider Law, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, licensed social workers, occupational therapists and acupuncturists can become authorized by the New York Workers’ Compensation Board.
However, under Workers’ Compensation Law § 13-b(2)(e), a report, record or opinion of a physician assistant, physical therapist, occupational therapist or acupuncturist cannot be used as evidence of a relationship of a disease or injury to a work-related accident, nor can they be used as evidence of disability.
What Does This Mean for Injured Workers?
People who are not injured in the workplace have a variety of medical providers to choose from. Some do not believe in traditional medical treatment and prefer alternative doctors, such as chiropractors and acupuncturists. Therefore, New York’s new workers’ compensation laws are trying to account for these preferences by modernizing the treatment options available under state law.
By allowing more providers to be authorized by the state, this should reduce any delays in getting appointments and starting necessary treatment. This will result in a higher quality of care and a quicker recovery, which is the original goal of a state workers’ compensation program. In addition, cases will push through the process more quickly, hopefully reducing any backlogs that may be in place.
Concerns of the Expanded Provider Law
While the Expanded Provider Law will bring about many benefits for injured workers, there are also some concerns. There is the possibility that injured workers may overlook some of the requirements, such as medical reports. To receive temporary disability benefits, for example, the patient needs to provide a medical report showing that they are in fact disabled. Now that the category of authorized providers has been expanded, are there any restrictions in this regard? Which providers will be authorized to produce a report of disability? The current language infers that a worker who suffered only from physical injuries could produce a medical report from a licensed social worker in regards to a disability. This would not seem like a good idea, given that social workers are not qualified to make diagnoses of physical injuries, only psychological ones.
Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits
New York is modernizing workers’ compensation by allowing a wider range of medical providers to treat injured workers. This gives patients more choices and a greater chance of getting their claims approved.
If you have been injured in the workplace, White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer Michael Lawrence Varon can help get your claim approved and maximize your settlement. Schedule a consultation by calling (914) 228-1770 or filling out the online form.