Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Commissioner Gillmor Looking Forward to Building on Success in Her Second Term

Karen L. Gillmor, Ph.D. Even though she has a career already filled with state and federal public service, Commissioner Karen Gillmor plans to add to her legacy of service as she begins her second term as a Commissioner with the Ohio Industrial Commission (IC) and as Chairman of the Self-Insuring Employers Evaluation Board.

Governor John Kasich reappointed Gillmor as the public member of the agency for a term that began on July 1, 2017, and will end on June 30, 2023. Governor Kasich first appointed her to the IC in July 2011.

“It is an incredible honor to continue to serve this essential agency,” Gillmor said. “I am very thankful to have received such tremendous support from representatives of Ohio’s workers’ compensation system.”

Gillmor’s reappointment received a unanimous vote from the IC Nominating Council earlier this year.

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, the Ohio State Medical Association, the Ohio Self-Insurers Association, the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, the President of the Ohio Senate, numerous Ohio congressional members, and former IC chairpersons supported her nomination.

Gillmor said that her greatest accomplishments from her first term took place during her IC chairmanship from 2011 until 2013.

“Under my direction, the two most important accomplishments were cutting administrative rates for three of four Ohio employer groups, while the fourth group remained stable with no rate increase,” she said. “Secondly, we re-activated the Department of Quality to provide an in-depth internal accounting of the claims process at the adjudication level, looking at the issues being addressed and decisions being rendered on the various types of claims. The data were collected on the progression of claims through the adjudication process to provide a quality and substance review in addition to tracking the data.”

Other accomplishments include:

  • Reduced the number of employee grievances;
  • Reduced the size of the agency workforce;
  • Restructured the Operations Support, Medical Services and Claims Support Departments to improve effectiveness;
  • Drastically reduced ICON downtime;
  • Created customer service standards that were applied to all employee evaluations;
  • Implemented an Equal Employment Opportunity Strategic Plan that was used as a model for other state agencies; and
  • Installed metal detectors and security cameras in all hearing areas.

“As chairman, I always sought input from stakeholders representing employers, employees, and the public before making any major policy decisions for the agency,” she said.

Throughout her career, she has always had a passionate interest in the fields of health care, labor relations, and workers’ compensation.

Gillmor’s career began in 1975 when she became the legislative liaison for the Ohio State University Senate and later became special assistant to the dean of the Ohio State University College of Law.

From 1983 to 1986, Gillmor served as Chief of Management Planning and Research at the IC. In this position, she authored a study of self-insurance, which was incorporated into Ohio’s omnibus workers’ compensation reform law.

She also served as the employee representative to the IC’s Regional Board of Review and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Oversight Commission.

Before coming to the IC, Gillmor was elected to Ohio’s 26th Senate District seat in 1992, 1996, and 2008. She represented Crawford, Logan, Marion, Sandusky, Seneca, Wyandot, and Union counties.

In the Ohio Statehouse, she chaired the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee, was a member of the Unemployment Compensation Advisory Committee, and the Labor-Management-Government Committee.

“I was the Ohio Senate conferee on the omnibus House Bill 107, into which I placed the amendment creating managed care for injured workers to provide better care at lower costs,” Gillmor said. “I was also the Senate manager of the IC’s $101 million biennial budget and the BWC’s $500 million biennial budget.”

“I think my background in lawmaking has allowed me to bring a unique perspective to my role as commissioner,” she said. “Sponsoring or cosponsoring workers’ comp legislation allows me to know the history behind the law.”

Other legislative accomplishments include:

  • Established solvency standards for health plans in Ohio that instituted consumer protections against health plan insolvency. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners used this bill as a model for nationwide legislation.
  • Implemented the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
  • Applied industry-wide standards for managed care organizations, which was the first collaboration between health plans and physicians groups in the nation.
  • Created the Office of Women’s Health Initiatives within the Ohio Department of Health.
  • Established tax credits for businesses that offered onsite day care centers.
  • Created a tax credit for companies that purchase manufacturing machinery and equipment for installation in Ohio.

“Whether I was the sponsor or the co-sponsor, the goal of all of my legislation was to create a better life for Ohio’s working families,” she said.

Gillmor has received several awards for her accomplishments from groups representing education, medicine, ethics, and taxpayers. She was named the Ohio Outstanding Freshman Legislator by the United Conservatives of Ohio and the National Outstanding Freshman Legislator of the Year by the National Republican Legislators Association. She was a member of the Advisory Council to the Childhood League Center and a trustee of the U.S. Capitol Childcare Center. Additionally, she served as a trustee of Heidelberg University, the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, and the National First Ladies Library.

In addition to her legislative service, Gillmor served as vice chair of the State Employment Relations Board from 1997 to 2007 and was a consultant to former United States Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole. Nationally, she served on the Health Committee of the American Legislative Exchange Council, as well as on the Health and Human Services Committee of the Council of State Governments’ Midwestern Region.

A native of Ohio, she earned her diploma from Rocky River High School before earning a bachelor’s degree with honors from Michigan State University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. She was married to United States Congressman Paul Gillmor, who tragically passed away in 2007. They have five children, Linda, Julie, Paul Michael, and twins Connor and Adam.