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Workers compensation reforms announced last week by New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer would:

  • Limit the number of years that permanent partial disability claimants can receive indemnity benefits.

  • Allow the Compensation Insurance Rating Board to sunset early in 2008 with the superintendent of insurance recommending how to replace it.

  • Eliminate New York's Second Injury Fund.

  • Establish programs to help get workers prompt medical treatment and return to work.

  • Design an expedited hearing process to reduce litigation and speed worker treatment.

  • Adopt an antifraud measure that includes increased penalties and the ability to shut down worksites when employers have not purchased workers comp insurance.

  • Design fact-based medical guidelines by year's end.

  • Increase the maximum weekly benefit from $400 to $500 in the first year, to $550 in the second year, to $600 in the third year and an amount equal to two-thirds of the state's average weekly wage in year four. It would be indexed annually in subsequent years.

  • Increase the minimum weekly benefit from $40 to $100.