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New York comp bills propose expanding PTSD, adding acupuncture

New York comp bills propose expanding PTSD, adding acupuncture

New York lawmakers filed more than a dozen bills Wednesday proposing changes to workers compensation laws in the state.

The bills range from clarifications on workers compensation benefits and calculations to post-traumatic stress disorder changes and the inclusion of acupuncture as a compensable treatment.

S.B. 5292 would make post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosed in police officers, correction officers, firefighters, and other emergency personnel compensable if it cannot be shown, by a preponderance of evidence, that the PTSD was caused by factors unrelated to their occupation. A companion bill, A.B. 1979, was also introduced.

S.B. 4537 states that an employee who sustains a personal injury as a result of a sexual offense due to negligent acts of the employer may be entitled to all rights and benefits, and pursue additional damages.

S.B. 5302 proposes changes to the comp law to improve timeliness of replacement benefits and efficiency of medical treatment, and A.B. 4511 clarifies that loss costs for the purposes of calculating workers compensation insurance do not include provisions for expenses such as overhead, taxes or profit.

A.B. 6051 proposes to amend state law to provide the New York State Workers Compensation Board with more authority to resolve medical disputes. A.B. 6516 establishes that the chair of the board will biennially establish fee schedules for workers compensation treatment in conjunction with the board’s medical director, with the exception of physical therapy fee schedules, which will be decided with input from the president of the state’s physical therapy association.

S.B. 4730 proposes the establishment of a task force to consider the use of telehealth within the workers compensation system, while A.B. 5438 would authorize the care and treatment of injured employees by licensed or certified acupuncturists under the workers compensation program.

A.B. 7579 would require that an injured worker or person entitled to a death benefit be provided with the option to have the compensation payment made through direct deposit, and provide the individual with the forms necessary to enroll. S.B. 3057 would require that all death benefits for volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers be paid to their families or estates within 90 days of application.

S.B. 1985 would change the law to state that an injured worker who has not refused a job from his or her former employer will not be considered to be voluntarily withdrawn from the labor market.   

Finally, A.B. 5428 would permit an employer who is a member of a recognized religious sect to file an application to be exempted from the provisions of the workers compensation law if the employer’s religious sect opposes the acceptance of any insurance benefits.