Starting on December 1, 2010 the number of physical therapy treatments covered by workers’ compensation insurance will be limited. This change resulting from new guidelines set forth by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board is being met with mixed feelings from those most affected. The new rules will limit patients receiving physical therapy to 12-20 treatments unless further treatments are deemed necessary by the patient’s physician.
Chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Board, Robert Beloten, has stated that these new guidelines should reduce system costs while at the same time improving the quality and timeliness of care provided to workers injured on the job. It is hoped that this change will establish new guidelines as to the mandatory standard of care for neck, back, shoulder and knee injuries.
In a recent press release, Patrick Privatera, President of the Physical Therapy Alliance of Upstate New York indicated he believes the new guidelines could possibly cause more harm than good. As stated in the press release, “While 12 to 20 visits may be adequate to resolve a number of conditions, there are plenty of examples — especially post-surgical cases — where it will be woefully inadequate,” he said. “There will be more administrative burden placed on physicians during an exceptions process that could take weeks to resolve, delaying treatment and keeping an injured worker out of work longer than necessary.”
Only time will tell if the new guidelines in place will prove to be beneficial or hinder the ability of injured workers to receive necessary treatment. If you have been injured at work and need assistance understanding your rights, speak with an experienced workers compensation attorney today.