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.