Date: August 13, 2009
The Workers' Compensation Board (Board) is in the final steps of formally adopting medical treatment guidelines (Guidelines) for the lower back, cervical spine, shoulder and knee. The Guidelines represent a major development that should significantly improve the delivery of medical care to injured and sick workers and facilitate prompt and easy payment to medical providers.
The proposed Guidelines were developed by a Task Force made up of esteemed medical professionals selected by labor, business, and the State Insurance Department in 2007. The Superintendent of the State Insurance Department submitted the Guidelines to the Chair on December 3, 2007. In June 2008, the Superintendent submitted to the Chair implementation standards that were also developed by the Task Force. Since then, the Board has been developing regulations that give the Guidelines the force of law and establish procedures for implementation of the Guidelines. The Board intends to publish such regulations by November 2009.
The Board is committed to formulating Guidelines that contain the most up-to-date, evidence-based standards of medical care. The proposed Guidelines have been available on the Board's website at http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/hcpp/PropMedTreatGuide.jsp since October 24, 2008. The Board has already received comments from several specialty societies and other medical professionals as a result of Subject Number 046-270 issued by former Chair Zachary Weiss on January 26, 2009. The Board is also in the process of reviewing recent developments in medical treatment guidelines developed by other jurisdictions and professional organizations.
The Board will continue to accept comments on the proposed Guidelines until September 9, 2009. At that time, the Board will incorporate into the final version of the Guidelines the suggested changes that are most important to patient well-being and supported by medical literature. Comments not incorporated at this time and those received after September 9, 2009, will be considered as part of the regular process of review and updating of the Guidelines. In keeping with the philosophy of evidence-based medicine, comments that are supported by studies published in recognized, peer-reviewed medical journals, will receive the greatest consideration. The Guidelines will be published by November 2009.
Please send your comments along with any supporting literature in electronic form to the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the alternative, you may mail them to the following address. Please include an electronic mail address at which the Board may contact you in the future.
Stephen Levin, M.D.
NYS Workers' Compensation Board
20 Park Street, Room 400
Albany, NY 12207
We appreciate your input and are looking forward to implementing this exciting initiative with your full support and cooperation.
Robert E. Beloten