Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 125–134 | Cite as

Workers' compensation reform in New York State: A proposal to address medical, ergonomic, and psychological factors associated with work disability

  • Michael Feuerstein


This paper presents testimony before the New York State Assembly Joint Hearings on Workers' Compensation. The testimony first establishes the background of the speaker in relation to the problems in the workers' compensation system. A brief summary of the problem including the increased prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and their contribution to work disability, the rising costs of insurance premiums, indemnity, and medical costs, and the percentage of payroll that workers' compensation costs consume in New York State is then presented. A review of problems injured workers and health care providers face is also considered. Following this, two proposals that represent a compromise position in relation to business and labor concerns are presented. The first relates to the implementation of state mandated prevention programs to reduce the risk of injury/illness and associated disability in areas accounting for the majority of the workers' compensation injuries/illnesses—low back and upper extremity disorders. It is proposed that individual employers receive incentives in the form of premium savings based upon actual program outcomes. The second proposal relates to the establishment of mutually agreed upon standards of health care for low back and upper extremity disorders similar to what currently exists in Minnesota. The potential benefits of these plans are discussed in relation to increasing costs and human suffering associated with work-related injuries/illness and disability. This paper is presented as an example of an approach to advocacy that health care providers can take to contribute to reform in the workers' compensation systems of their own states.

Key Words

workers' compensation reform managed care standards of care prevention musculoskeletal disorders 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Feuerstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Occupational RehabilitationUniversity of Rochester Medical CenterRochester

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