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Workers' Compensation Board

Development of the Original Medical Treatment Guidelines

On March 13, 2007, former Governor Spitzer signed into law comprehensive workers' compensation reform legislation (Chapter 6 of the Laws of 2007). The purpose of the workers' compensation reform was to increase benefits and improve delivery of services to injured and ill employees (claimants), while at the same time reducing costs The goal of these changes was "to remove impediments to prompt diagnostic and treatment measures and to better reflect current medical service costs.

In connection with the reform law, former Governor Spitzer directed the Superintendent of Insurance (with the assistance of the Board and the Department of Labor) to develop medical treatment guidelines to account for modern diagnostic and treatment techniques and evidence-based standards of medical treatment and care. Former Governor Spitzer appointed an advisory committee (also referred to as a Task Force) comprised of representatives from the Insurance Department, the Board, and the Department of Labor, and highly respected medical professionals selected by labor, business, and the Insurance Department.

The Task Force began meeting to develop treatment guidelines in August 2007. They selected the back, neck, shoulder, and knee for guidelines because those injuries account for 40% of all claims and 60% of system medical costs. The Task Force reviewed existing treatment guidelines from other states (Colorado and Washington) and national organizations (ACOEM – American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine). The Task Force ultimately developed four consensus guidelines based on the Colorado, Washington, and ACOEM guidelines. The Superintendent of Insurance transmitted the recommended guidelines to the Board.

The Board conducted an extensive review of the proposed Guidelines, posted them on its website in 2008, and solicited comments from stakeholders. Dr. Stephen Levin, the Board’s interim medical director, led the review process, which examined all of the comments and the latest medical evidence, and culminated in two rounds of revisions to the Guidelines (in January 2010 and June 2010).

To insure a smooth implementation of this new process, the Board initiated a pilot of the initial proposed Guidelines starting in November 2009. As of September 2010, the pilot has handled more than 1,000 cases involving requests for treatment under the Guidelines. The pilot participants have been nearly unanimous in their feedback: the Guidelines pilot facilitated better communication, faster delivery of care, fewer disputes, and quicker provider payment.

New York Medical Treatment Guidelines, First Edition, June 30, 2010

Proposed Medical Treatment Guidelines are in PDF format.adobe pdf   If you need assistance with these documents, please send an email to

Substantive Changes in Proposed Medical Treatment Guidelines From January, 2010 revision to June, 2010 revision adobe pdf

WCB's Revised Draft January 2010 Treatment Guidelines

Proposed Medical Treatment Guidelines are in PDF format.adobe pdf   If you need assistance with these documents, please send an email to

Changes in the Draft January 19, 2010 Treatment Guidelines

Overview of changes in the Revised Draft Guidelines — January 2010

The draft Medical Treatment Guidelines — revised January 19, 2010 contains two major sets of changes. The content changes are discussed in the "Substantive changes in the Proposed Medical Treatment Guidelines January 19, 2010 revision" document. The reformatting changes "Formatting changes in the Revised Medical Treatment Guidelines" are designed to make guidelines easier to use and more consistent.

Changes as a result of comments submitted to the WCB

Changes due to Reformatting

December 2007 - Advisory Committee's Proposed Medical Treatment Guidelines