WCB General Counsel's Office Confirms that Board Has NOT Banned In-Person IMEs
Last week many IME vendors received a notice from the e-mail address "IMEComments@wcb.ny.gov" stating that "in-person IME services have been deemed non-essential and should not be held" because IME vendors are not an essential business under Governor Cuomo's Executive Order 202.6. There was no notice on the Board's website or social media confirming this announcement. A search of the Board's website reveals that the e-mail address "IMEComments@wcb.ny.gov" is connected to the Board's 2019 IME Advisory Committee.
Hamberger & Weiss LLP has received confirmation from the Board's General Counsel's Office clarifying that the Board has not adopted a formal position that there can be no in-person IMEs, leaving it to the IME vendors to make their own determination on whether they are Essential Businesses, so long as they follow the guidance regarding interpretation of Executive Order 202.6 from Empire State Development. General Counsel's Office stated that the notice sent to IME vendors "is not the official position of the Board" because the Board does not have the power to determine which businesses are essential and which are not.
Despite this clarification from the General Counsel's Office, we expect that most claimants will refuse to attend an in-person IME during the COVID-19 crisis and also expect that the Board will excuse this non-attendance while the crisis continues.
For any further questions about this, please contact Mark W. Hamberger.