On March 13, 2007, former Governor Spitzer sent a letter to the Superintendent of Insurance, Chair of the Workers' Compensation Board and Commissioner of Labor directing the Superintendent, with the assistance of the Chair and Commissioner, to undertake certain tasks to improve the workers' compensation system. One task was to create a streamlined docket to resolve controverted claims within 90 days. On June 1, 2007, the Superintendent forwarded recommended regulations to the Chair of the Board which created such a streamlined docket.
The Board thoroughly reviewed the recommended regulations and comments from interested parties and modified the recommend regulations. At the July 15, 2008, meeting of the Board, the members voted to propose the modified streamlined docket regulations for public comment. The Notice of Proposed Rule Making was published in the July 30, 2008, edition of the State Register and posted on the Board's website. The 45 day public comment period expired on September 15, 2008.
At the September 16, 2008, meeting of the Board, the members voted to adopt the streamlined docket regulations with minor, technical revisions. Specifically the changes are to: 1) §300.33(d) to include the word "statement" which was inadvertently left out of the last published rule; 2) §300.33(f)(4) and (5) to add the term "pre-hearing" to clarify that "conference statement" in those provisions means pre-hearing conference statement; 3) §300.34(a) to clarify that cases in which a notice of controversy is filed are governed by §300.38, if the claimant is represented at the pre-hearing conference, to eliminate any potential confusion or concern as §300.38 (h) regarding expedited hearings does not apply to controverted claims when the claimant is unrepresented at the pre-hearing conference; 4) §300.34(c) to correct the cite with respect to the pre-hearing conference statement so it refers to §300.33(d); 5) §300.37(a) to correctly cite to Workers' Compensation Law §25(2)(b); 6) §300.37(b)(3) and §300.37(b)(4) so Uninsured Employers' Fund is correctly spelled; and 7) §300.38(g)(13) to correctly spell the word "forth."
The Notice of Adoption will be published in the October 8, 2008, edition of the State Register. The amendments to Section 300.1 and new Section 300.37 will be effective immediately. The amendments to Sections 300.33 and 300.34 and new Section 300.38 are effective November 3, 2008. This means that for claims with notices of controversy filed on and after November 3, 2008, and claims scheduled (notice is sent) for a pre-hearing conference on and after November 3, 2008, revised Section 300.33 and 300.34 or new Section 300.38 will apply.