Last year, the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC) announced the launch of the Enhanced Care Program, which will help reduce the amount of delays in treatment of injured workers. The program is supposed to give medical professionals more flexibility in injured worker
treatment, which will hopefully help them return to their jobs faster and save employers money in the process.
While Ohio’s workers’ compensation system is definitely much better when compared to the state of the system five years ago, improvements to the amount of delays and better coordinated treatment plans will make the system even more effective in getting workers back on their feet.
What is Ohio’s Enhanced Care Program?
The Enhanced Care Program was created by a group effort from both businesses and labor groups who worked with the BWC. It is meant to address the 15 percent of workers’ compensation claims
that are unsolved in the system because of the amount of paperwork to process or other health issues the injured worker may have. The state of Ohio is counting on the possibility that getting injured workers back to work quicker will lower the cost of claims.
As an incentive, the state is offering 15 percent more than what it currently pays physicians as a form of incentive for them to participate. Participating doctors in any of the 16 counties chosen for the pilot program are now the primary care options for injured workers. The participants are expected to quickly establish a comprehensive care program in addition to coordinating with the injured worker’s primary care physicians or other necessary specialists. This also cuts off time doctors spend waiting for adjudications and approvals from the state.
Essentially, the Enhanced Care Program will have doctors to treat workers’ compensation cases as they would any other health-care claim. This would increase the quality of care while decreasing the amount of paperwork and cut back on processing time. Officials from the BWC estimate this will cut 8 days off normal cases and up to 25 days off of the more complex cases of workers’ compensation claims.
The Enhanced Care Program Should Expand to All Injuries
What’s the downside of the Enhanced Care Program? It’s only applicable to knee injuries, unfortunately. Granted, there are an estimated 4,000 knee injuries per year inside the 16 counties the program is running in. However, only about 500 cases are expected to be treated, and the program is set to run on a six-month pilot. If successful and the program manages to send injured employees back to work more quickly, it may expand to the rest of the state. However, it will continue to only treat injuries. Ohio workers should receive the benefits of this program no matter what type of on-the-job injury they sustain.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC is a personal injury law firm that helps victims of on-the-job injuries in the Lima, Columbus, Newark, and Zanesville areas of Ohio.