Morris Auster, Esq. Division of Governmental Affairs
Senior Vice President / MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION
Chief Legislative Counsel
WORKERS COMPENSATION REFORM
MSSNY strongly OPPOSES several items being advanced in the final budget negotiations that would limit injured workers’ access to the physician of their choice under the Worker’s Compensation Program.
MSSNY is very concerned that the Worker’s Compensation provisions being negotiated in the State Budget that would remove the authority of county medical societies to recommend physicians to serve as treating providers or independent medical examiners under Workers Compensation, an important community function currently performed by county medical societies.
While several credentialing organizations can and do provide helpful information concerning a physician’s educational, practice background and liability history, the role that county medical societies play in the review of the physician is vital. Importantly, they make sure of the inclusion of all necessary information before the application is presented the Board can perform its own review of the physician’s qualifications. County medical societies report many instances where incomplete applications are presented. The county medical society staff and physician reviewers work with the physician to assure that their residency, licensure and credentialing information is attached. It is not necessary to replicate the county medical society framework on the state level. The county medical societies’ processes already assure timely, efficient and complete approval and submission of physician applications to the workers compensation board.
MSSNY is also very concerned with proposals under discussion would that would expand the authority of the Board to remove a physician from being allowed to provide care to injured workers and provide a new power to impose significant monetary fines on such physicians or other health care providers. The increased risk of sanction will likely further drive physicians away from the program. Moreover, MSSNY also opposes another proposal that would limit an injured worker’s choice of physician by greatly lengthening the time period (from 30 to 120 days) for which an injured worker must be treated by a Workers Compensation PPO-affiliated physician.
If the Workers Compensation Board is looking to expand the availability of care to injured workers, it should instead work to remove the many administrative impediments that are discouraging physicians from participating in the WC program, rather than taking steps to expand the use of non-physicians, reducing patient choice of treating physicians, and imposing new penalties on those who remain in the system to provide care.
The Medical Society of the State of New York strongly opposes these measures and urges that they be rejected from the Budget.
DIVISION OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS