News and Analysis
This week, Columbus’ NBC affiliate, WCMH-TV, reported on study that found Ohio employers are “vastly” overpaying to finance the state-run workers’ compensation system. According to the report, Ohio’s workers’ comp claims are down significantly, from 1.4 million in 2008 to about 600,000 in 2017. Meanwhile, payments to managed care organizations (MCOs), which handle the medical management of claims and process payments to providers, have remained steady over this period — to the tune of about $170 million a year.
According to the study, on the national level, for each dollar paid for worker medical benefits, 14% goes to MCO administration fees. For each dollar paid in Ohio, MCOs receive 27%.
A year after the study was released, critics say the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWS) has failed to act on the study, which said changes are necessary. The BWC told NBC4 that “it’s all under review.” 11/21/2019
The Ohio House of Representatives this week passed House Bill 81, which has evolved into a much larger workers’ compensation bill than originally intended.
As introduced, the bill would have extended workers’ compensation benefits for medical testing of detention center employees exposed to bodily fluids. The House expanded HB 81 to include a variety of other provisions, including language to codify the state’s voluntary abandonment doctrine and reduce the statute of limitations for violations of specific safety requirements. Other provisions address final settlement agreements and continuing jurisdiction over workers’ comp claims.
The OMA and its business allies were able to ensure the bill did not include language to expand the workers’ comp system to allow for mental-only claims. Also kept out was controversial language regarding the misclassification of employees. The Senate is expected to pick up debate on the proposal in the new year. 11/20/2019
The enrollment due date for OMA’s Workers’ Compensation Group Experience Rating program is this Monday, Nov. 18.
We have posted 2020/21 Workers’ Compensation Services offers to members’ workers’ comp dashboards. This year, you can process your enrollment online. (However, you’ll still need to process your payment separately).
Contact OMA’s Brian Jackson or your account manager if you have any questions or concerns. 11/14/2019
As reported previously, some Ohio lawmakers continue their efforts to expand the state’s workers’ compensation system to allow for mental-only claims — a move that would lead to significant cost increases for employers. OMA Connections Partner Dinsmore has summarized House Bill 308, which would provide PTSD coverage for first responders through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Published in The National Law Review, the story spotlights the advocacy efforts of the OMA and its opposition to HB 308. 11/7/2019
According to new information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 41 U.S. workers in 2017 died on the job after a single episode of inhaling chemicals and chemical products. That is seven more fatal injuries than in 2016. The number of fatalities from inhaling chemicals has ranged between 33 and 55 each year from 2011 to 2017. Inhaling carbon monoxide led to the most fatalities during this time period, followed by inhaling hydrogen sulfide. 10/28/2019
This week, the House Insurance Committee held another hearing on House Bill 308, which would provide PTSD coverage for emergency first responders through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). Supporters of the bill included firefighter groups, psychiatrist associations, academics, and doctors. Interestingly, no major police associations provided proponent testimony.
The business community remains opposed to a mental/mental expansion of workers compensation, but has long offered solutions and coverage opportunities so that first responders could receive treatment outside of the workers’ compensation system. 10/23/2019
October is National Protect Your Hearing Month, and OSHA has produced updated information to help keep workers safe from occupational noise exposure. The agency has also released a new video explaining the OSHA inspection process as it relates to its effort to protect workers from workplace hazards. 10/17/2019
This week, State Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) provided sponsor testimony on House Bill 308. This is the latest attempt by Rep. Patton to secure post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment benefits within Ohio’s workers’ compensation system.
The bill would buck the state’s long-standing tradition of requiring a physical injury before allowing mental health claims under the workers’ compensation system. The bill includes the expansion of workers’ comp benefits for first responders who suffer mental or emotional impairment caused by PTSD, even when there is no physical injury.
The OMA and its business allies have opposed this proposed expansion for years — most recently during this year’s budget process. Instead, the OMA has offered alternatives to ensure that first responders receive proper mental care outside of the workers’ compensation system. 10/10/2019
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and its most recent data, the number of fatal work injuries in the private manufacturing industry declined 28% from 2003 to 2017, the latest year available. In 2017, the leading causes of fatalities at manufacturing sites were transportation-related incidents, along with contact with objects and equipment.
As a reminder, OMA members can regularly participate in safety-related webinars presented by the OMA’s Connections Partners. 10/7/2019
The OMA Safety and Workers’ Compensation Committee met this week in Columbus. Guest speakers were Commissioner Karen Gillmor — a member of the Industrial Commission of Ohio — as well as Dave Sievert, interim director of the Ohio BWC’s self-insured department.
In addition to receiving updates on public policy and state legislative activity, members were briefed by OMA Connections Partner Safex on safety-related developments. OMA Workers’ Compensation Services Managing Director Brian Jackson discussed the latest developments affecting the Ohio workers’ compensation system.
Chaired by Larry Holmes of Fort Recovery Industries Inc., the Safety and Workers’ Compensation Committee meets three times a year. If you’d like to participate in future meetings — in person or by phone — contact OMA Public Policy Services Director Rob Brundrett. 10/2/2019