State Representative Jim Buchy...
BWC Reform Efforts
Why Getting Ohioans Back to Work Boosts Our Economy?
In the past two years, we have been working in Ohio to lower the costs
of doing business and promote job growth. Thus far, we have
successfully reduced taxes on family business owners, and turned the
job of attracting new businesses over to the private sector, where less
red tape and bureaucracy will allow Ohio to compete against other
states for companies to expand in Ohio.
A key part of lowering the costs of doing business is reforms at the
Bureau of Workers Compensation. Internally, the BWC has made a
number of reforms in the past two years. Its efforts have directly led
to Ohio’s private employers saving $65 million in premiums by reducing
average base rates by 4 percent and reducing public employer rates by 5
percent. This alone will save local governments $22 million a
year, providing an additional benefit for local tax rates. Each
of these reforms is part of a broader effort to make sure that old and
new businesses in the state of Ohio succeed economically and are able
to hire more employees.
It is important for the BWC to continue its vital reform efforts, which
is why I have co-sponsored three bills in the Ohio House of
Representatives to help them do just that. These bills will help
injured employees return to work sooner by improving the quality of
care they receive. Medical professionals who do not meet certain
standards of care can be more easily de-certified. These bills
will also reduce burdensome bureaucracy, making it easier for workers
to seek out treatment and receive benefits. This legislation is
good for employees because they can recover faster and get back to
work, and it’s good for the employers because it sends skilled and
experienced workers back to their jobs faster.
Employers will also be able to improve their bottom line and maintain a
healthy workforce under a new program. The four-year program
awards companies up to $15,000 to create employee wellness programs.
This will help employers meet the challenges related to rising cases of
obesity and chronic disease, as well as an aging workforce. All of
these factors contribute to workplace injuries and slow the recovery of
The Bureau of Workers Compensation has also helped employers by
creating Destination: Excellence, a new rating plan that aims to
improve “return-to-work” rates by rewarding employers for building a
risk management plan that focuses on safety, prevention, and returning
those who are injured to their jobs more quickly. This is an efficient
“cafeteria-style” plan that offers seven program options, which allows
ease of access for the diversified market.
Like anything with age, the Bureau of Workers Compensation needs some
grease and paint. Internally, the organization is dedicated to
making the needed changes to cut costs to the State Government and
lower the costs for businesses in Ohio. As the new legislation
moves through the Ohio House Legislature I plan to be a proponent and
will impact that legislation with any additional pro-business reforms
that may be needed.