December 31, 2015

COMMENTARY: A few thoughts as the year ends and some suggesions for next year.

DECISIONS: There are no decisions from the Third Department this week but seven new cases have been added to the Third Department's January hearing calendar.



Contact The Insider at:    TheInsider@InsideWorkersCompNY.com                                                                         212-734-9450

Behind the Closed Doors

 An insider’s look at how things really work at the NYS Workers Compensation Board and how to fix them

During the 12 years that I served at the Workers Compensation Board, the Board had undergone major changes, but many more need to be done, more so todayin 2013 than when I left the Board in 2008.

Behind the Closed Door has been written first to substantiate the need for and second to explain how to make those changes.

The most obvious change, initiated in 1996 by Chairman Robert Snashall, was the conversion of the Board’s administrative and judicial procedures from a paper-based system to a computer-based system.
BCTD CoverBut, as with all technology, changes bring with it The Good, and the Bad, and the Ugly (Chapter 17). The impact of these changes on the deliberative nature of the Board has been as profound as it has been on the increased speed with which cases and decisions were processed. The responsibilities of the commissioners did change. But the result was that those who wished to be ‘engaged’ could impact considerably on decisions and in some cases on the process itself while some commissioners, better identified as ‘insouciants’, could better avoid any work at all, letting the ‘engaged’ commissioners or the civil servants make all their decisions while they spend only a few hours a month fulfilling their responsibilities, including reading their decisions and appearing at public meetings.

In 2013 this situation is even worse now that the commissioners no longer do Section Hearings - most appeat at a Board office only for the monthly Full Board Meeting and, even then, there are one or two who are often absent.

Behind the Closed Doors offers the Insider’s look at the Board’s policies, the reality of what happens, and offers an extensive number of recommendations that will insure that the Board, and not just the commissioners, follows two directives: “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied” as well as “Justice Uneven is Justice Unequal". This book explains why they are so many obviously contradictory and confusing decisions and what can be done to resolve these problems, as well as listing the contributions of over 40 current and past employees of the Board.

Answering many of the questions that the claimants, employers, carriers, and the lawyers who practice at the Board have always wanted to ask, this 250-page book explains how practitioners can get better results when appearing before the Board in person or on paper. The chapters are:

♦Why Am I writing This?
♦Who We Are
♦Why Commissioners Are Important
♦How Commissioners Are Selected5
♦Responsibilities of a Commissioner
♦Interview & Approval for §24 & §50-3
♦The Monthly Board Meeting
♦Administrative Review Division (Office of Appeals)
♦For Whom Do We Write?
♦Who ‘decides' the Decisions?
♦The Drfating off Decsions
♦How MoDs Are Done - The Work Queue
♦Formatting MoDs
♦Both Sides of The Coin
♦'Consistency Versus Speed'– The Problem
♦‘Consistency Versus Speed'– The Solution    
♦The Machines Take Over
♦§32 Settlements
♦Make More Commissioner's/s Work        
♦Medical Doctors' Understanding
♦Other Recommendations
♦The Good Things
♦In Closing

Behind the Closed Door can be purchased here or from E-Stores, a division of Amazon.com. Quantity discounts for 5 or more are available on request.