In 2007, new workers’ compensation reforms were enacted in New York. Now, the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is conducting a workers’ compensation study to judge the efficacy of these reforms. The WCRI is a not-for-profit, independent research organization. Based on their findings, legislators could modify the workers’ compensation program in South Carolina and other states.
The New York reforms encompassed many changes, among them:
An increased in maximum benefits
Limits on how many weeks permanent partial disability payments were made
More specific medical treatment guidelines for workers’ compensation victims
New payment schedules for pharmaceuticals
Based on the latest report by the WCRI, the findings showed that on average, the temporary total disability benefits increased by 26 percent after the reform, which added three increases to the benefit rates in the early stages. As for prescription drugs, after the new pharmaceutical fee schedule was implemented the average price per pill dropped by 10 to 20 percent, depending on the type of drug and the dosage.
The number of injured workers seeking help from workers’ compensation lawyers also increased by two percent within three years of the program being implemented.
A report put out by the WCRI outlining the findings of the study stated that because many of the changes went into effect on different dates, the workers’ compensation study will not be finalized for another few years. However, the early data does help highlight some of the key findings of this reform.
As South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers, we are happy to see reform take place to give people injured at work the benefits they need to live a healthier life.