The Workers’ Compensation Board recently adopted new guidelines for the assessment of permanent impairments. These new guidelines apply only to the assessment of permanency related to extremity injuries, not head, neck or back injuries.
They direct doctors how to determine the schedule loss of use percentage, or award, that an injured worker is due for a permanent injury to an extremity.
The Board was tasked with the job of updating these guidelines by the NYS legislature in early 2017. The intention was for the guidelines to be updated to reflect medical advances since the guidelines were first written, decades ago.
Unfortunately, the Board’s first revision to the guidelines went well beyond what anyone expected, or what could be justified simply based upon medical advancements. The Board’s proposal significantly slashed awards and changed how doctors were directed to evaluate schedule loss of use with little to no justification for these changes.
For these reasons, Dolce, Panepinto and other concerned parties, started a campaign to resist these changes. Among other things, we instituted a mass postcard campaign to let the Board know that injured workers would not stand for these changes.
Due to the support of many of you, we were successful in putting a stop to the Board’s first proposed revision to the guidelines. The new guidelines, that were recently adopted by the Board, are vastly different from the first rewrite.
While the newly adopted guidelines may result in some changes to how doctors assess schedule loss of use, they will not result in the across the board substantial reductions in permanency awards that the first revision intended.
We want to thank our clients, family and friends who assisted us in the post card campaign and in other ways. This amazing result could not have been achieved without your help.