Date: September 30, 2010
The Workers' Compensation Board (Board) is preparing to implement a major change in the manner medical care is provided to injured workers. The NYS Workers' Compensation Medical Treatment Guidelines will become the mandatory standard of care for the mid and low back, neck, shoulder, and knee, effective for dates of service on or after December 1, 2010. These four body parts were chosen because they represent the most frequent claims and the highest medical costs.
The Medical Treatment Guidelines will:
It is essential for medical providers, insurers, legal professionals, and their staffs to become familiar with the Guidelines. The Medical Treatment Guidelines are mandatory for all work-related injuries or illnesses to these four body parts experienced by employees in New York State. With few exceptions, all treatment in accordance with the Guidelines is pre-authorized, so providers will no longer have to obtain prior approval if their treatment conforms to the Guidelines. The regulations require that insurers pay providers for services rendered in accordance with the Guidelines. Treatment that is outside the Guidelines will not be paid unless a variance is approved by the insurer or the Board.
This is a completely new process that involves new procedures, with both new and revised forms, so the Board is collaborating with many stakeholder groups to offer a comprehensive training program. The Board is strongly encouraging medical providers, insurers, legal professionals, and their staffs to take the available training, to ensure a smooth transition into the new Medical Treatment Guideline process.
A major component of the training program is free web-based training. The courses will be available starting October 4, 2010 on the Board's web site, at the following URL: http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/hcpp/MedicalTreatmentGuidelines/MTGOverview.jsp
There are several programs available, each designed for different audiences. The medical provider program is accredited for CME credits; the chiropractor program is accredited for CCE credits. There are also courses designed for attorneys and claimant representatives, as well as for insurers, medical providers' staffs, and other non-medical persons.
The topics covered include:
In addition to the web-based legal training, the Board, in cooperation with Albany Law School, will offer a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program on the Medical Treatment Guidelines. The program, worth 3.5 CLE credits including .5 hours of Ethics, is tentatively scheduled for the morning of November 3, 2010, and will be broadcast to locations around the state. No hearings will be scheduled for that morning to allow practitioners to attend the program. More information concerning the CLE program will be placed on the Board's web site, www.wcb.ny.gov, when it becomes available.
In preparation for the CLE program, it is recommended that legal professionals take the free web-based training and become familiar with the various standards of care that the Guidelines specify for treatment of injuries to the mid and low back, neck, shoulder, and knee. It may also be helpful to review some of the new Board forms and processes concerning use of the Medical Treatment Guidelines.
Please contact the Board's Bureau of Health Management at (800) 781-2362 if you have any questions. Additional information on the Guidelines may also be found on the Board's web site under Board Announcements at www.wcb.ny.gov.
You are strongly encouraged to review the information on the Board's web site regarding the Guidelines and to take advantage of the available training. Thank you for your cooperation in this critically important initiative.
Robert E. Beloten