Cambridge, MA – The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) recently released a new report, Monitoring Trends in the New York Workers’ Compensation System, 2020 Edition, for policymakers and system stakeholders to track the performance of the New York workers’ compensation benefit delivery system after numerous reforms.
“Originally established to monitor changes in the system following substantial legislative reforms in March of 2007, the report has evolved into a tool for tracking key metrics of system performance on an ongoing basis, as further legislative reforms and administrative changes continue to shape the system,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel. “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.”
The following are among the study’s major findings:
- Medical payments per indemnity claim in New York were stable after 2014, following moderate growth of 3–4 percent per year from 2007 to 2014. Medical payments per claim were also stable for key provider types.
- Indemnity benefits per indemnity claim in New York have been fairly stable since 2014, increasing 1–2 percent per year, on average, depending on claim maturity. The recent stability in indemnity benefits per claim followed a period of rapid growth from 2007 to 2014, which reflected the 2007 reforms.
- Benefit delivery expenses per claim have increased 4–6 percent per year since 2014, depending on claim maturity. The growth over that period was somewhat slower than the growth over the period from 2007 to 2014, when benefit delivery expenses per claim grew 7–8 percent per year.
- Workers received faster payment of first indemnity benefits in recent years, which likely reflects new processes of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. The percentage of claims with the first indemnity payment made within 21 days of injury increased from 26–29 percent in 2013/2014 through 2015/2016 to 46 percent in 2018/2019.
The analysis in this edition focuses primarily on trends in indemnity benefits, medical payments, and benefit delivery expenses from 2007 to 2018 for claims at different maturities. Claims with experience through 2019 were analyzed, and in some cases, trends before 2007 are shown to establish a baseline prior to the 2007 reforms. 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 prices paid for medical services and the frequency and amount of opioids dispensed to workers.
New York has implemented several policy changes in recent years, which may impact medical payments, prices, and utilization, but are not reflected in the data underlying this edition of the report. These changes include the new medical fee schedule for professional (nonhospital) services, the implementation of a drug formulary, and the Expanded Provider Law. Future editions of this report will monitor the impact of those changes.
William Monnin-Browder and Carol A. Telles are the authors of the study.
Learn more about this study or purchase a copy: WCRI: Monitoring Trends in the New York Workers’ Compensation System, 2020 Edition