Key Metrics of New York Workers’ Comp System Tracked in New WCRI Study

November 20, 2017

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) released a tool for policymakers and system stakeholders to track New York workers’ compensation system performance.

Originally established to monitor the system following reforms in 2007, the report has evolved into a tool for continuously tracking key metrics of system performance, said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel, in a WCRI press release.

“This regular monitoring helps focus attention on policy objectives that are being met, objectives that are not being met, and unintended consequences that have emerged,” she said.

The WCRI is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, Mass.

The study, Monitoring Trends in the New York Workers’ Compensation System, 2005-2015, is the 10th annual report. WCRI’s Detailed Benchmark/Evaluation (DBE) database was used in the study, authored by Carol A. Telles and William Monnin-Browder.

Analyses were performed using open and closed indemnity and medical-only claims with dates of injury primarily from October 2004 through September 2015, with experience as of March 2016. The data include a large volume of claims and represents the full insurance market of the New York system, including private insurers, self-insured employers and the state insurance fund.

This edition’s analysis focuses on trends in indemnity benefits, medical payments and benefit delivery expenses from 2007 to 2015 for claims at different maturities. In addition, various interstate comparisons from other WCRI studies are provided to help put the performance of the New York system into perspective, such as the frequency and amount of opioids dispensed to injured workers.

In 2007, New York passed legislation making a number of changes to the state’s workers’ compensation system. Among its provisions, the legislation increased maximum statutory benefits, limited the number of weeks of permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits and required the implementation of medical treatment guidelines and the adoption of a fee schedule for pharmaceuticals. In subsequent years, the system underwent a number of additional regulatory and administrative changes, including electronic filing of claims data and a payor compliance initiative.

Further workers’ compensation reforms included in the 2017-2018 New York state budget will be examined in future monitoring reports.