Fitzpatrick Praises Workers’ Compensation Reform

Agreement will increase benefits, lower costs
February 28, 2007

Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) praised the legislative agreement announced yesterday that will benefit both labor and business by increasing benefits, lowering costs, and establishing anti-fraud practices.

“Our workers’ compensation system is outdated,” said Fitzpatrick. “This agreement will provide a long overdue increase in benefits, reduce costs to businesses, and help create transparency in the system.”

Currently, New York state has the second-highest workers’ compensation cost per case and is ranked 48th among 50 states in benefit levels. Several of the new reforms will:

  • Provide cost savings to businesses by capping permanent partial disability benefits, while continuing a medical care safety net;
  • Increase the current maximum weekly benefit rate for injured workers from $400 to $500, and then increases it over a period of four years to two-thirds of the state’s average weekly wage;
  • Develop fact-based medical guidelines to determine the degree of impairment;
  • Increase penalties for workers’ compensation insurance fraud, and
  • Create transparency in the workers’ compensation system by improving collection of data on premiums and losses.

“These are necessary reforms to keep the downstate economy progressing in the right direction,” said Fitzpatrick. “By lowering the costs of doing business and cracking down on fraud, we can create a more attractive business environment.”