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New York workers comp board considers changes to medical treatment guidelines

New York workers comp board considers changes to medical treatment guidelines

New York's Workers' Compensation Board is considering changes to its workers comp medical treatment guidelines that would aim to reduce administrative costs and delays for claims.

The guidelines, enacted in December 2010, set standards of care for work-related back, knee, shoulder and neck injuries. Physicians who seek to provide treatment outside of those guidelines must request a variance or seek prior approval from insurers or the state workers comp board.

In a statement Thursday, the comp board said a set of proposed regulations would allow more claim disputes to be decided by the board's medical director, simplify the board's administrative process, and define treatment criteria for maintenance treatments, such as chiropractic care and physical therapy, the board said in a statement Thursday. The proposal also would add guidelines for treating carpal tunnel syndrome.

The comp board is soliciting public input about the proposal during a 45-day formal comment period. If there are no significant issues raised during that time, the proposed rule changes would take effect Feb. 1.

New York comp officials considered changes to the state's 2010 medical treatment guidelines after the state's comp system "became burdened with duplicate requests and hearings to resolve disputes," the board said.

“These improvements, crafted from discussions with our stakeholders and two years of experience with medical guidelines, will simplify process, reduce friction costs, curb inappropriate care, and improve medical outcomes,” Board Executive Director Jeffrey Fenster said in the statement.

A copy of the proposed changes is available on the New York workers comp board website.

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