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Workers’ Compensation Board

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Focus Group – Purpose & Creation Methodology

Transitioning to the "To Be" phase

In the first stage of the BPR project, outreach sessions were conducted around the state, which helped everyone, and in particular the joint WCB/Deloitte project team, to understand the current state of the system and the challenges faced by the system's participants. In this next "to-be" phase of the project, it is time to consider potential changes to improve the system. Therefore, in order to ensure the broadest possible assessment and input into the project, the project will utilize a series of focus groups.

Individual Focus Groups

These groups will meet throughout the project on a regular basis, to discuss proposals, assess the likely impact of those proposals on their constituent group and the injured worker, and to consider the effect on their interactions with other system participants. The groups will also be asked to suggest adjustments to the proposals to ensure viability. Later in the project it is expected that the groups will also assist in determining how best to implement change, identify challenges to implementation and ways to overcome those challenges. We hope that the participants of the focus groups will be “champions of change” for the better in the system.

Based on the timeframe of the BPR project and the resources available, the project will have six focus groups representing the following participants:

  • Injured workers
  • Labor
  • Providers
  • Business & Self Insured employers
  • Carriers & TPAs
  • Attorneys

The project has been fortunate enough to have more volunteers than places available in all the focus groups. Therefore, of necessity, not all those that volunteered have been included in a group. In order to create balanced groups, certain criteria were considered. Criteria common across all groups included:

  1. Balance between upstate and downstate.
  2. Not more than one representative per organization.
  3. Participants (or their organizations) had previously volunteered their services. Most had participated in a webinar and/or in person session or have contributed substantial comments via our email address.

In addition to these general criteria, there were some group specific considerations:

  1. Business/self-insured employers – a mixed representation of municipalities, private self-insured and non-self-insured employers.
  2. Carrier/TPA – a mixture of carriers and TPAs, New York State and national exposure.
  3. Providers – representation of a mixture of specialties including all those authorized/recognized by New York State.
  4. Injured workers – Focus group members have been proposed by participants in other groups and various worker organizations.
  5. Labor – a cross section of Unions from around the state.
  6. Attorneys – a balance of claimant and carrier attorney representation.

Although the final groups are not randomly selected, every effort has been made to create balanced groups comprising a mixture of viewpoints and previous exposure to WCB projects. All participants have been charged with sharing the talking points, and soliciting input from their respective networks of colleagues and other associates. In this way, we hope to solicit the broadest possible range of input into the project.

Focus Group Advisory Council

In addition to the individual focus groups, there will be an Advisory Council. This group, which will be made up of two or three representatives of each of the individual groups, selected by the groups themselves, will provide a mixed perspective and will be tasked with discussing proposals for which there is no consensus at the individual group level. This group will also act as a conduit to and from the Board as the project progresses.

As a mixed group, the Advisory Council will provide an opportunity for participants to hear and understand the perspective of other interests in the system, as well as to share the perspective of the individual group that they represent. Participants in the Advisory Council will be expected to share information with their individual groups as well as to represent their individual group’s interests and ideas on the council.

Thank you

We thank all those that expressed an interest in being included in a group, and all those that have participated in webinars, in person sessions, conference calls or have sent ideas and comments to our BPR email address over the last few weeks. We hope you will continue to participate and send in your thoughts and comments as we share more feedback and the developing suggestions and ideas for change.