Thursday, May 29, 2014
Recent changes to Workers' Compensation Practice and court locales.
It's been some time since I was able to write to this blog. My daughter got married, my wife and I took a vacation. I hired two different attorneys and now continue serving my clients with three attorneys on staff and a few associates at various hearing locations; we're now back on the beam.
As previously stated we continue to provide legal services in the fields of New York State Workers' Compensation, Federal Social Security Disability and Negligence. Veterans' disability claims are presently on hold as you may have noticed, there appears to be an extensive back up in that system and efficiency seems delayed.
The Workers' Compensation Board has gone through some recent geographical changes. The Riverhead hearing point has been closed. Cases previously assigned to Riverhead are now being heard in Hauppauge. Claimants are given the right once they evidence a hardship to attend their hearing via phone. Wisc Settlements and Section 32 Agreements once written and filed can also be approved by a law judge with the claimant attending by phone. This practice is subject to a case by case and judge by judge decision. It further appears that claimants who live along the western border of Suffolk County will be having their hearings held in the WCB Hearing Point located in Hempstead. This is also subject to telephone appearances upon judicial prior approval. It is always best to attend your hearing / case in person.
The medical treatment guidelines professed by others to exist as a means to expedite treatment has proven a cog in the system which required correction permitting some chronic care with stated limits. It is always best to have your doctors thoroughly review the Medical Treatment Guidelines posted by the Workers' Compensation Board and to follow them explicitly. The forms C4 Auth should be used as detailed by the treatment guidelines where applicable. If additional treatment beyond that which is stated in the "Guidelines" is required; your doctors will have to file MG 2 forms with explanations why the treatment desired or requested is medically necessary and they must document in detail why the present form of treatment is showing improvements but further care is necessary. Most of the health providers seem to be able to comply with the Guidelines or document why additional treatment should be approved. Regrettably, some insurance carriers have elected to refrain from being required to give prior approval to treatments listed under the guidelines.This has proved to be a vexing condition for the health providers who may not provide treatment unless and until it is sanctioned by the guidelines or a variance has been approved by a law judge. All of these obstacles continue to thwart the professed intention of the act which has always been to promote quick and early treatment to injured workers allowing them to successfully return to their respective places of employment. We hope the WCB comes to regain this philosophy.