Ohio BWC Enacts New Lumbar Fusion Surgery Rule

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in updates

The Ohio Administrative Code has been amended to include a new rule governing lumbar fusion surgeries under Ohio workers’ compensation claims.  O.A.C. 4123-6-32 requires numerous criteria to be met prior to a fusion surgery being eligible for approval.  To see the complete rule click here.  The rule sets out two sets of standards for people who have not undergone previous lumbar surgery and those who have.  Under each section, very specific medical findings must be documented to support the requested surgery.  In addition to numerous requirements the rule requires a statement included in the appendix to the rule to be signed by both the injured worker and the treating physician.  The motivation behind the rule is clearly to prevent lumbar fusion surgeries as many injured workers who undergo these surgeries never return to gainful employment. What is yet to be seen is whether or not these people without the surgery will far any better than those with the surgery or will still end up permanently disabled and possibly worse off without the surgery.  Furthermore, the physicians will likely be very hesitant to sign the statement as required in the appendix as it basically says the surgery may not work, you will likely need another surgery, you may not ever...

Learn More

Ohio BWC to give $1.5 billion back to employers.

Posted by on May 29, 2018 in updates

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation recently approved a 1.5 billion dollar rebate to Ohio employers.  The Ohio BWC is doing so despite Ohio BWC service offices being understaffed and overworked.  For a link to the article click here.    The Ohio BWC has issued premium cuts and rebates totaling over 8 billion dollars since 2011.  At the same time the Ohio BWC is cutting premiums and giving rebates, they have shortened the statute of limitations on claims from two years to one year and have refused to pay out amputation awards in a lump sum, and instead have paid these out over time. The Ohio Association of Trial Lawyers issued the following response to the BWC’s most recent premium rebate:   Ohio Association for Justice asks: Why is BWC not sharing some of surplus with injured workers?   Yesterday, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) announced yet another employer rebate, this time in the amount of $1.5 Billion, bringing the total number of employer premium rebates, refunds and credits to $8 Billion since 2011. And yet, at the same time the BWC has recently filed an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court seeking reversal of an 8th District Court of Appeals case that ruled in favor of injured workers...

Learn More

Ohio Supreme Court denies right to permanent partial disability to injured worker receiving permanent and total disability.

Posted by on Sep 21, 2017 in updates

In State ex rel. Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services, Inc. v. Indus. Comm., 2017-Ohio-7577 the Ohio Supreme Court held: “When an injured employee has previously been determined to be entitled to permanent-total-disability compensation pursuant to R.C. 4123.58, the commission does not have statutory authority to grant in the same claim a permanent-partial-disability award pursuant to R.C. 4123.57(A). Previously an injured worker was entitled to a permanent partial disability award for any medical conditions that was not considered as a basis for the prior finding of permanent and total disability.  This decision is a further erosion of injured workers’ right to compensation under their workers’ compensation claim by a republican supreme...

Learn More

Statute of Limitations to File Claims Reduced to 1 year

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017 in updates

Governor Kasich has signed House Bill 27.  Among other changes to Ohio workers’ compensation law, the statute of limitations to file a workers compensation claim has been reduced to one year.  Previously, the statute of limitations was two years.  This change goes into effect on 9/29/17 and applies to claims arising on or after this effective date.  Other changes include: Increase attorneys’ fees to $5,000 for representation in Common Pleas Court cases Facilitate settlement of claims by injured handicapped workers Allow firefighters with cancer to receive working wage loss Allow compensation to be paid before the claimant’s full weekly wage has been determined, and Allow more time to settle claims after final IC orders by filing a notice of intent to settle the claim with 30 days of receipt of the order. Click here to see a full copy of the new...

Learn More

Governor Kasich signs Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in updates

Governor Kasich recently signed the Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act.  This act creates a rebuttable presumption that a firefighter who develops cancer did so while in the course and scope of and arising out of employment.   To read more about this new law click here.  To see the full text of the new law click...

Learn More

Ohio law firm challenges BWC’s privacy statute

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in updates

An Ohio law firm, Bevan & Associates, is challenging Ohio’s statute that makes injured workers’ personal information private.  Previously, the names, claim numbers and addresses of injured workers were available to the public via a public records request.  The Ohio BWC changed the law making this information private with an exception for journalists.  The law firm apparently is using a “journalist” to get this now private information and is using it to solicit business by direct mailing advertisements to injured workers.  The law firm may argue that their advertising is commercial speech that is protected under the First Amendment and that the government must have a substantial interest in curtailing this speech.  However, the state of Ohio will likely argue that the injured workers’ privacy concerns outweigh the law firm’s commercial speech rights.  The law firm may also have issues as to whether or not they qualify as a “journalist” and/or whether or not it is permissible to obtain this information from a journalist and use it in a manner clearly in contravention as to the intent of the statute.  It will be interesting to see how this case develops. (Click here to see the article in Forbes Magazine) (click here to see the article in the Columbus Dispatch)...

Learn More