A message from Aaron T. Sanders, Esq., President of the IWBA

In 2021 the IWBA maintained its long-standing commitment to protecting and advocating for the rights of New York State’s injured workers. Among other accomplishments, we wrote and submitted an Amicus Brief in the Johnson case, the outcome of which will have a tremendous impact for anyone who sustains a permanent disability to a limb as a result of a work-related injury. We also held all three of our annual Continuing Legal Education conferences despite the pandemic and omicron surge and offered a fully virtual option to allow our members safe and secure access to the most up-to-date, expert instruction regarding the practice of NYS Workers’ Compensation law.

While we ultimately chose to conduct our first CLE of 2022 virtually, we are currently planning to offer live CLE’s for both the Spring/Buffalo (4/8-4/9) and Fall/Saratoga (9/23-9/24) events, which will allow our members to meet in-person to learn about and discuss our shared interests and concerns as workers’ compensation practitioners. If you haven’t registered yet, please do so today so you don’t miss out!

Beyond providing our CLE programs, the IWBA’s leadership continues to work diligently to identify and address with the Workers’ Compensation Board the day-to-day issues that affect our members, clients and fellow professionals in the workers’ compensation system (medical providers, pharmacists, etc.) to ensure that the system works for – rather than against – New York’s injured workers and all those trying to help them in their time of need.

Thank you to all of our members, partners and sponsors for your dedication and support. With your help we vow to keep fighting the good fight in 2022!


 

Click Here for IWBA 2023 Winter CLE Information

In the News...

Providers balk at workers comp proposal to curb remote surgical monitoring in NY

Surgeons say a new rule under consideration by the state Workers' Compensation Board would inhibit access to care by restricting a practice used to guard against damage to a patient's nervous system during certain procedures.

The board, which administers workers' compensation, disability benefits and paid family leave, issued a proposal in March to prohibit fully remote intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring with limited exceptions.

The practice involves a technologist in the operating suite transmitting real-time data to a physician trained in neurophysiology, who monitors the patient's nervous system during surgery to make sure no damage is occurring.

The board's proposed rule would require the monitoring physician to be physically present during the surgery, or at least close enough to get there in the event of an emergency. It also says the technologist's services would not be eligible for reimbursement.

"In the absence of clear regulation and/or convincing medical literature and studies concluding that remote IOM [intraoperative monitoring] is safe even when the supervising physician would not be available to provide in-person assistance during an emergency, the board would prefer to err on the side of safety," Missy Stewart, a spokeswoman for the board, said in a statement.

But Dr. Alexandre B. de Moura, founder and director of the New York Spine Institute, a multispecialty spine and orthopedic center with eight locations in the metropolitan area, said remote monitoring enables physicians to keep tabs on multiple surgeries at once and has been the standard practice for at least a decade. Before that, he said, patients would be woken during surgery to test whether they could still move their limbs.

De Moura expressed bafflement at the proposal to require the remotely monitoring physicians to be in close geographic proximity to the operating room, which he said no insurance carrier stipulates. His institute's five surgeons each perform about 100 to 200 surgeries a year.

"It would literally bring spinal surgery to a halt," he said.

Aaron Sanders, a workers' compensation attorney in Rochester and president of the Injured Workers' Bar Association, said the rule would lengthen patients' wait times for surgery. He said centers are likely to stop using techs, due to their services being ineligible for reimbursement, and that there are not enough neurophysiologists to monitor all the surgeries performed throughout the state.

"You have to wonder who came up with this," he said.

In a statement of needs and benefits published alongside the proposed rule in March, the board cited "competing opinions" regarding whether remote intraoperative neuromonitoring is "safe and effective" and what "level of in-person availability is required in order to assure patient safety."

Asked to provide the source for the competing opinions it referenced, the board did not provide any specific citations, instead saying it relied on peer-reviewed medical literature, specialty guidance and other benchmarking.

Barbara Osborn, spokeswoman for Northwell Health, which is opposing the rule, said the technique is a "safe and effective way for surgeons to receive real-time information about the status of the nervous system during many types of surgeries."

"Limiting remote IONM [intraoperative neuromonitoring] and instead requiring the reading provider to be on-site could result in increased wait times for certain types of surgical procedures, which in turn could have a negative impact on patients suffering from debilitating pain, compromised quality of life and loss of livelihood," she said in a statement.

The Workers' Compensation Board said it would revisit the rule if "medical literature indicates in the future that completely remote IOM is safe and it becomes clear that it should be permitted."

In the meantime, de Moura said, patients will suffer both the pain that prompted their surgery and potentially worse outcomes tied to longer wait times. —Maya Kaufman

Read the full article here

 

The Poughkeepsie Journal: Spackenkill student wins ruling on posthumous workers' compensation

Kanye Khalid Green is one step closer to receiving the workers compensation benefits he believes was owed to him after his father's death.

Read the full article here


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Access to Justice Campaign!

We started the Access to Justice Campaign to increase awareness and influence public perception/opinion. Slowly, but surely, we are making headway in gaining public support for our causes. Thank you to every single IWBA member who has donated time and/or money to the campaign. We could not do this without your support!  We still need your help, if you have not donated to the 2021 Campaign, please do so today!

MORE INFO ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
DONATE TO THE ACCESS TO JUSTICE CAMPAIGN!

Know Your Facts About Workers' Compensation!

The Center for New York City Affairs at The New School released a report outlining the shocking inadequacy of benefits for New York workers who are injured at work, and is an excellent source of information and research related to our work.  The report can be found HERE.  Click The New School Center for New York City Affairs logo below to go to their website for more information.


 

Time to Take Action on the Proposed Medical Guidelines!

Please watch this 93 second video regarding submitting comments to the Workers Compensation Board on the proposed medical guidelines.


PROTECT INJURED WORKERS IN NEW YORK

Working New Yorkers are the backbone of New York's economy.  

New York was the first state to adopt workers’ compensation and was once a national leader in protecting the rights and interests of workers injured on the job. 

Today the New York workers’ compensation system is broken.

If you are a worker in New York State, you can make a difference:

CLICK TO START WRITING A LETTER TO YOUR LEGISLATORS

Join the IWBA

The Injured Workers' Bar Association, established January 7, 1997, is comprised of attorneys from throughout New York State who concentrate their practice in representation of injured workers. Many of our members practice exclusively in the area of Workers' Compensation Law.

Our members provide legal representation for tens of thousands of injured workers every year. To become a member of the IWBA, an attorney must show that 80% or more of their Workers' Compensation practice consists of representing injured workers and not insurance carriers or employers. 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE OR JOIN

Help for Injured Workers

Some say that an attorney is not needed to help prosecute a Workers' Compensation claim, however we strongly urge any injured worker who seeks Workers' Compensation benefits to consult with an attorney who practices in the field of Workers Compensation.

The IWBA is comprised of respected workers' compensation attorneys from throughout New York State and can be contacted for a consultation on your workers' compensation claim. Click here to search our directory for a qualified workers' compensation attorney in your area.

CLICK HERE FOR ADDITIONAL RESOURCES