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Friday, March 29, 2013

Less Cost. Better Service: Governor Kasich Signs the IC Budget

Chairperson Taylor and Governor Kasich Signing the IC Budget BillCOLUMBUS, OH — Laid end-to-end, the 55 million dollars in the Ohio Industrial Commission’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget would stretch from the William Green Building’s front door to the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington and back—with a few dollar bills leftover.

“It takes millions of dollars to run our agency, but I am committed to every dollar being spent wisely and responsibly,” Chairperson Jodie Taylor said. “Our employees recognize that as a non-general revenue funded agency, we have a responsibility to Ohio employers to maintain the lowest possible cost structure while achieving our goals of quality, timeliness and impartiality.”

In January, the IC submitted its Fiscal Year (FY) 2014-2015 budget to the Ohio General Assembly. The bill passed unanimously in the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate before Governor John Kasich signed the bill on March 26. Chairperson Taylor, Executive Director Tim Adams, Director of Hearing Services Tom Connor and Legislative Liaison Jacob Bell attended a signing ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse.

Over the next two fiscal years, the IC budget will be $55.6 million in FY 2014 and will fall to $54.4 million in FY 2015.

The budget for FY 2014-2015 is less than the previous budget for FY 2012-2013. In fact, the FY 2014 budget is 4.9 percent less than the FY 2012, and the proposed FY 2015 budget is six percent less than the FY 2013 budget.

“As a result of our fiscal responsibility, administrative cost rates for three of four Ohio employer groups were cut for 2013,” Chairperson Taylor said. “The fourth group, while not realizing a reduction, remained stable with no rate increase.”

Taylor said the IC intends to maintain the lowest possible rate structure through the end of the next biennial budget period.

Governor Kasich and Chairperson Jodie Taylor

“The IC is an agency that has embraced process innovation and a commitment to quality,” Taylor said. “Our budget is in excellent shape because of the smart decisions made by our employees every day.”

Technological innovations and common sense solutions to problems have allowed the agency to reduce staff through attrition from 643 positions in 1997 to 400 positions at the end of 2012, without sacrificing the quality of service.

As a result, the IC’s budget was reduced from a ten-year high of $62.6 million in FY 2011 to $58.4 million in FY 2013.

While agency attrition since FY 2008 has yielded an estimated payroll expense savings in excess of $12 million, there are other areas of note that have contributed to the IC’s low cost structure. These include:

  • Lease payment expense – an aggregate savings of $2.4 million since FY 2009 using office consolidations and rent renegotiations in IC district offices.
  • VoIP operations have saved an aggregate of $219,000 since FY 2009 while expanding our broadband capabilities to the district offices.
  • Leveraged toner purchases using a vendor point program to secure $106,000 in needed equipment replacements without a cash outlay.
  • Reduced annual expenditures for office supplies from $219,000 in FY 2008 to $109,000 in FY 2012 through office consolidations, claims processing workflow, and utilizing centralized mailing.
  • Server virtualization has allowed Single Point Management and improved Disaster Recovery capabilities while negating the need to expend $200,000 to replicate these advantages with more hardware.
  • Images stored within our paperless hearing process have been converted to a content engine platform that allows faster access while eliminating $76,000 in annual licensing costs associated with the previous platform.
  • Slashed overtime payments by 75 percent from $96,792 in FY 2006 to $23,828 in FY 2012.

“The recent financial savings has not sacrificed the quality of the IC’s workers’ compensation decisions,” Taylor said. “Our agency still offers an excellent service at a lower cost.”

The IC adjudicated nearly 150,000 claims in 2011, of which only 122 were advanced through a writ of mandamus to the Tenth District Court of Appeals. This was a 25 percent decrease from 2010. The IC’s decisions were affirmed 73 percent of the time.

In 2012, there were 89 new mandamus cases filed, which was a 37 percent decrease from the 122 new cases filed in 2011. The 89 new cases is the lowest number of new mandamus cases filed in many years.

Of these court decisions rendered in 2012, the Court of Appeals denied the writ – or, in other words, affirmed the Commission – in 78 percent of the cases. To put this achievement in perspective, 248 of these cases were filed in 2005 and 295 such cases were filed in 2001.

“Along with our financial success, appeals to court are now at an all-time low,” Taylor said. “I am certain that we will maintain our momentum by continuing to upgrade our technological systems and focusing on the assurance of quality decisions while building on our history of fiscal prudence through realized savings.”

IC Budget Bill


Friday, March 29, 2013

Statewide Hearing Officer Training to be Held September 9, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH — The Industrial Commission of Ohio announced today that the Statewide Hearing Officer Training meeting at Maumee Bay State Park will be held on Monday, September 9, 2013.

Names will be accepted for a registration lottery beginning Monday, April 1, 2013 and ending at the close of business on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

Attendees can register for this event by selecting the “representative” field when logging onto the Industrial Commission Online Network (ICON).

Please include the following information:

  • Registrant’s Name
  • Company or Law Firm
  • Company or Law Firm Address
  • Business Telephone Number
  • Business Facsimile Transmission Number

Please note that registration is limited to one name per entry and no more than three names per organization.

Attendees will be contacted if they are selected in the registration lottery.

The cost is $125. Attendees should not submit fees when registering for the lottery.

CLE accreditation will be requested for this seminar.

For questions, please call (614) 466-8189.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Honoring 100 Years of Fulfilling Our Promise to Injured Workers and Ohio Employers

IC 100 year logoThe Industrial Commission of Ohio is an agency founded on a promise.

In the second decade of the 1900s, 45 states first enacted general laws governing the conduct of workers’ compensation.

At this time, a promise was made that a no-fault system of compensating a worker or his family for his injury, occupational disease, or death casualty related to his job would be paid by his industry. In exchange, employees would forgo their right to sue their employers for work-related injuries by pursuing statutorily prescribed compensation as an exclusive remedy.

The promise, created a century ago, resulted in a workers’ compensation system that provides the workers with a faster and less expensive procedure for receiving benefits while the employer received immunity from a full-liability tort action in court.
One hundred years ago on March 12, the Ohio General Assembly enacted that promise by passing a law mandating workers’ compensation coverage for Ohio employers.

Two days later, Governor James M. Cox sat in his office at the Ohio Statehouse, surrounded by IC Chairman Wallace D. Yaple, Commissioners T. J. Duffy and William Archer, Ohio Senator William Green, and former Governor James Campbell.
The group watched Governor Cox sign the 1913 workers’ compensation bill into law.
At that moment, the Industrial Commission of Ohio was officially created.

A year later, in a 1914 Commission newsletter, Chairman Yaple wrote: “Two years experience under the elective Workmen's Compensation Act of 1911, and five months experience under the compulsory act of 1913, demonstrates the superiority of the new system of caring for work accidents over the old system of employers’ liability laws, with their resulting vexatious and expensive litigation. The new system is better for the employee because, while the amount of compensation paid is limited and fixed in amount, it is certain, and compensation is payable for every injury and for every death where persons are left wholly or partially dependent upon the deceased employee. It is better for society at large, because under its operation a vast sum of money is saved that was expended under the old system in the way of court costs, jury and witness fees, and for caring for those who had been incapacitated on account of injuries and as a result thereof became public charges.”

Below is a timeline that tells the story of the Industrial Commission of Ohio:

1885 — First state effort to arbitrate industrial disputes occurs when the General Assembly creates voluntary tribunals for settlement of industrial accident disagreements between employers and their employees.
1893 — State Board of Arbitration and Conciliation is established and consists of three members, one representing employees, one representing employers, and the third party being neutral.
1911 — The Ohio Workmen’s Compensation Act creates a voluntary workers’ compensation plan for employers. State Liability Board of Awards is created to administer the law.
1911 — Wallace D. Yaple, T. J. Duffy, and Morris Woodhull become the first members of the State Liability Board of Awards.
1912 — Ohio establishes the State Insurance Fund on March 1, 1912.
1913 — Ohio General Assembly enacts a law mandating workers’ compensation coverage for Ohio employers on March 12, 1913. The signing of the 1913 workers’ compensation bill took place in the office of Governor James M. Cox on March 14, 1913. On this day, the Industrial Commission of Ohio officially replaces the State Liability Board of Awards.
1913 — Lemuel C. Fridley receives the first workmen’s compensation check on April 28.
1915 — In Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that films were not part of the "press" and therefore not entitled to First Amendment protection. The case upholds a censorship board, which was placed under the Industrial Commission’s supervision in 1913, to review and censor films in Ohio.
1921 — The Department of Industrial Relations is created and the Industrial Commission becomes part of the department, but the purpose of the Commission is still to hear and adjudicate contested, workers’ compensation claims.
1925 — The Division of Safety and Hygiene is established to help prevent industrial accidents and occupational diseases through development of safety standards and programs.
1935 — The Industrial Commission is separated from the Department of Industrial Relations to become an independent agency.
1955 — The Ohio Bureau of Workmen’s Compensation is created by the Ohio General Assembly. BWC begins administering the workers’ compensation system.
1956 — The Ohio Supreme Court upholds the constitutionally of the establishment of BWC and the division of duties between the BWC and IC.
1963 — As the Director of the Ohio Department of Industrial Relations, William Walker becomes the first African-American cabinet member in the history of Ohio.
1979 — The Industrial Commission establishes its Rehabilitation Division.
1983 — Industrial Commission is comprised of five, not three, members.
1990 — Industrial Commission begins to move into the William Green Building.
1993 — House Bill 107 becomes law, making numerous changes to Ohio’s workers’ compensation system.
2013 — March 14, 2013 marks the IC’s 100th anniversary of serving Ohio’s employers and injured workers.

A timeline poster has been designed to honor the IC's 100 years. It will be displayed in all of the offices.

ic timeline poster

To view the full sized poster click on the link below:
Industrial Commission's 100 Years Timeline Poster
(Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to view the file)