In an effort to offer better results for injured workers, officials with the
Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation seemed pleased with the announced Fiscal Years 2014-15 budget, H.B. 34, which was presented in the House of Representatives.
According to remarks from Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer, “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.”
Budget of Nearly $551 Million Seeks Approval
As politicians now review the budget language, should it gain approval, the $550.7 million request would be the second consecutive budget decrease under Buehrer. This request represents a close to 5% decrease compared to the original FY 2012 – 2013 appropriation, which sported a 12% decrease compared to the FY 2010 – 2011 appropriation.
According to Buehrer, 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 keeping in place reasonable rates for employers.
Employers Saved Close to $210M in Rate, Budget Reductions
Buehrer noted 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.
Along with close to a dozen minor technical changes, the bill also offers a number of reforms to reportedly increase 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," Buehrer added. "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."
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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