Like many businesses, the Workers’ Compensation Board has had to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the Board remains fully operational, they have implemented changes which may affect your case.
- Hearings: All hearings are being held remotely, and all Board locations are currently closed. You have the option to appear at your hearing remotely. Instructions on how to attend your hearing remotely or via telephone can be found on your Notice of Hearing and on the Board’s website. If you are unable to attend your hearing virtually, the Workers’ Compensation Law Judge will call you at the start of your hearing.
- Medical Evidence: The Board has relaxed the 90-day requirement for medical evidence of an ongoing disability. You still must make every effort to see your doctor. However, if you are unable to due to the need to quarantine or the physician’s unavailability, the Board will take that into consideration.
- Telemedicine: Telemedicine and telephonic doctor’s visits are currently allowed.
- IMEs: Extensions may be possible to attend IMEs. Your benefits may not be suspended if you are unable to attend an IME due to the coronavirus. If you have a reasonable excuse as to why you are unable to attend an IME, contact your attorney.
- Labor Market Attachment: The Board is not requiring injured workers to prove labor market attachment to maintain partial disability payments. If your case is ready for permanency, the Board has instructed the Workers’ Compensation Law Judges to adjourn the matter to a time when labor market attachment can be addressed. To date, no guidance has been given as to when this will be.
- Original Signatures: The Board has waived its original signature requirements on some forms. The full list of forms can be found here. Additionally, notarizing may be done remotely.
- Prior Authorizations: Health care providers must submit prior authorizations for medical procedures to the insurance carrier’s email address, which can be found here. These requests should not be faxed. Due to the prevalence of remote work, prior authorizations that are faxed will not be reviewed timely.
Please talk to your attorney about how the Board’s changes affect your case. It is unclear how long these changes will last, and the attorneys at Lewis and Lewis continue to monitor for updates. If you have any questions, please call our office at (716) 854-2100 to schedule a free consultation today!