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Friday, October 4, 2013

To cut costs, New York will close workers' comp hearing sites

The state is shutting down eight offices used for workers' compensation hearings, Capital has learned, a move that will save money but could inconvenience sick or injured working people.
Last month, the Workers Compensation Board informed a state employees union of its intention to close “customer service centers” in Lockport, Riverhead, Canton, Geneva, Oneonta, Monticello, Queensbury and Hornell. The centers are hearing sites for injured workers contesting the denial of their compensation claims. Their closure would force injured workers on those areas to travel longer distances or make phone appearances in support of their case.

"Since 2008, the Workers Compensation Board has been engaged on comprehensive review of its facilities to achieve savings and efficiencies, while at the same time ensuring the quality of services for stakeholders.

As part of this year’s enacted budget, the Workers Compensation Board agreed with the legislature to consolidate the functions of eight customer service centers that were largely unused or underutilized and in some instances housing no employees,” said board spokeswoman Rachel McEneny. “There are no layoffs associated with the consolidations and the Board is allowing any affected claimant to appear telephonically where possible.

The consolidation will result in $3,000,000 in savings to employers throughout the state over the next 10 years.”
A spokesman for the Civil Service Employees...
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