Columbus, OH – Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer recently announced the Fiscal Years 2014 – 2015 BWC budget, calling it fiscally conservative and another step toward improving outcomes for injured workers. H.B. 34 was recently introduced in the House of Representatives.
“This budget lets us continue our focus on getting injured workers healthy and safely back on the job sooner, while furthering our efforts to maintain stable, reasonable workers’ compensation rates for employers,” said Buehrer.
If approved, the $550.7 million request would be the second consecutive budget decrease under Buehrer. This biennium’s request represents a nearly 5% decrease compared to the original FY2012 – 2013 appropriation, which was a 12% decrease compared to the FY 2010 – 2011 appropriation. Buehrer said the budget appropriately funds the bureau’s mission of protecting Ohio’s workers and employers through the prevention, care and management of workplace injuries, while maintaining reasonable rates for employers.
In announcing the budget, Buehrer pointed to a number of accomplishments during his first two years.
- Saved businesses an estimated $210 million through rate and budget reductions;
- Reduced public-employer premiums to their lowest levels in 30 years;
- Created pilot programs to more efficiently manage workers’ injuries;
- Enacted numerous changes to prevent prescription abuse, including implementing a drug formulary and pharmacy lock-in program to better manage prescriptions while building a “safety net” plan to allow injured workers to safely transition from narcotics and opiates;
- Implemented Destination: Excellence, a cafeteria-style program that encourages best practices in areas such as accident prevention, cost control, and policy management. In it’s first year, more than half of all Ohio employers are taking part in at least one aspect of the program, helping the business community save an estimated $28 – $41 million.
In addition to approximately a dozen minor technical changes, the bill also contains several reforms that will boost BWC’s ongoing effort to improve medical outcomes for injured workers.
“We’ve made great strides in improving injured worker care while keeping workers’ compensation costs in check,” said Buehrer. “The changes in this bill are consistent with our ongoing reform efforts, and I look forward to working with the General Assembly as well as business and labor stakeholders to continue to make our system better.”
Revenue for the budget comes exclusively from premiums paid by Ohio businesses, which are generally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The system has been in place since 1911, ensuring injured workers receive the care necessary to return to work, while protecting businesses from costly litigation. The bureau collects approximately $1.9 billion in premiums each year and pays out approximately the same amount in claims.
Source: Ohio BWC