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Changes to Workers' Comp Rules Impact Those with Chronic Pain in New York

Labor leaders are concerned that treatment guidelines recently passed by New York's Workers' Compensation Board will put at risk the insurance of thousands of retirees and workers. Specifically, the new guidelines limit coverage to treatments that produce "functional improvement," which labor leaders argue will exclude those with long-term chronic pain conditions.

Bruce Silber, president of the New York Chiropractic Association, told the New York Daily News, ""They basically tried to throw out all injured workers with chronic conditions." Silber added, "They give them approximately two to three months to get better."

Silber claims these guidelines are not only being applied to the newly injured, but also those who have been receiving therapy for years. For example, a retired Verizon employee, Jim Beamish, was recently dropped by his chiropractor after 13 years of therapy because of the new guidelines.

In a statement to the New York Daily News, board spokesman, Brian Keegan stated that people who are denied coverage under the new guidelines can appeal for a variance. Variances will be granted if the applicant can show "objective evidence that a treatment medically benefits" the patient. Keegan maintains that more than two-thirds of the 78,178 variance requests have been approved.

However, opponents of the new rules, including many unions, claim the variance process is difficult and confusing.

Legislation was introduced that would have prohibited the board from applying the new rules retroactively, but is currently stuck in the Senate. Until the guidelines are changed, or the legislation is passed, workers' compensation recipients may find themselves in an uphill battle for benefits. If you have been denied workers' compensation, contact an experienced attorney in your area to assist in navigating the complex workers' compensation rules and laws.

Source: Quiet Changes to New York Workers Comp Rules Leave Out Those With Chronic Pain

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