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New Phase of WCB Re-engineering

 SWCB's 'Re-engineering' Project to Start New Phase in November:

 

 

Although the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board’s nascent Business Process Reengineering effort is still in its infancy, the effort will take a considerable step forward in the coming

months.

 

On Nov. 12, the first meeting of the board’s new Advisory Council, established to oversee the ongoing BPR program, will take place at board headquarters in Schenectady. The meeting will take place at WCB headquarters at 328 State Street, Schenectady, at a time to be announced.

 

The BPR effort was born in August 2013 when WCB began to reexamine the effectiveness with which New York’s workers’ compensation was performing and serving the state’s injured workers, insurers and medical providers. The thrust of the plan is to streamline and improve the delivery of benefits by and overall operation of New York State’s workers’ compensation system.

 

Preliminary activities include the hiring of Deloitte, the business consulting firm, to gather stakeholder input and provide recommendations.

 

In June and July, the Board sponsored open sessions at locations throughout New York state to communicate with the various interested parties and stakeholders in the workers’ compensation system.

 

The first three parts of the overall BPR process to be initiated are:

 

  • Creation of medical and reporting portals for submitting and exchanging information – for example, requests for treatment authorizations, requests for variance from medical treatment guidelines and the like, as well as to allow claimants to readily ascertain their status.
  • Establishing a monitoring unit to increase payor compliance by establishing performance standards for timely payment of indemnity benefits, medical bills and submission of injury reports.
  • Adopting a Resource-Based Relative Value Scale-based fee schedule and updating it annually.

 

Amherst defense attorney Melissa A. Day said she was initially enthusiastic about the BPR process but has "sort of lost interest" in the matter.

 

"The emphasis early on seems to be more focused on what can be done to expedite the process," Day said. "From experience I can say that this might lead to my clients’ inability to fairly litigate their claims."

 

Day noted that New York’s last round of workers’ compensation reforms, enacted by the state Legislature in 2007, are still "new" in the sense that there remain many unknowns regarding how changes made seven years ago will affect the system.

 

"It took the board five years to promulgate some of the medical guidelines" from the 2007 reform, she said. "Change comes hard. The legislative process doesn’t always take into account the effects on stakeholders."

 

Yet Day had some praise for the board’s BPR effort.

 

"To have the board doing this process, hiring consultants and reaching out to stakeholders, can be a harbinger of more thoughtful changes to come," she said. "They’ve been very brave in their outreach. People don’t like change."

 

Because workers’ compensation is both a complicated and nuanced business, Day remarked, "You can’t just dabble in this. You have to live and breathe it."

 

Further open sessions to gather more public input on changes and improvements are slated for December and beyond, as is further work by consultants and the Advisory Council.

 

Information on the BBR program is available here.

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