Although workers' compensation claims have decreased by about 50 percent over the past decade in Ohio, payments to the organizations that manage the medical care hovered around the same cost, even increasing slightly.
Worker compensation claims have steadily gone down from 1.4 million in 2008 to about 700,000 in 2017, but payments to managed care organizations (MCOs) have consistently stayed between $600 million and just over $700 million annually, according to a 2018 study. A whistleblower, speaking to NBC4, is accusing the agency of inaction. The amount paid per open claims increased from about $1,200 to nearly $2,000 in that timespan.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) also pays a much higher percentage of its medical benefit spending on MCO medical management than the bureaus in other states. Ohio pays about 27 percent of its funds to them, while the national average is nearly half that: 14 percent.
“We recommend Ohio undertake a strategy which appropriately takes into account unique attributes of the Ohio environment to better align payments MCO medical management spending with the managed care industry,” the study, produced by DXC Technology, said in its list of recommendations.
The whistleblower accused the BWC of inaction, but the BWC said in a statement to NBC4 that the bureau is in the second year of a three-year contract with the MCOs and the contracts will be reviewed for the 2021 calendar year.