Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation honored the men and women who had been killed as the result of a workplace injury during the Fallen Workers Memorial 2018. To the family and friends of these dedicated workers, we wish you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart
Well yes and no. Pronounced “dwarf" the benefit is actually DWRF (Disabled Workers Relief Fund). DWRF is a type of Ohio workers’ compensation benefits provided to injured workers currently receiving permanent and total disability benefits.
“Permanent and total disability (PTD) benefits pay a worker when that person can’t perform sustained, paid employment due to their work related injury.” Info.bwc.ohio.gov
PTD benefits are problematic because amount paid to the injured worker is fixed. Yet PTD compensation is paid for life. Remember how much gas cost 20 years ago? Less. A lot less. Actually, probably less than half of what it costs today. Things get more expensive. The cost of living goes up every year. That is a big concern for people on a fixed disability income. Huge!
Established in 1953, the DWRF is a special fund to supplement the PTD benefits. Prior to this, injured workers were unfavorably affected by rising inflation and cost of living.
So what’s the problem?
This sounds great right? No application, automatic reviews, and just like that another check in the mail! Well it can be great, but for a few self-insured employees, this can be very misleading.
Self-Insured Employer failed to pay PTD yet Injured Worker received DWRF.
In one situation, an injured worker was awarded PTD. However, the self-insured employer wasn’t actually paying the PTD. The injured worker was receiving DWRF payments, but that is obviously a lot less. Thankfully, an experienced workers’ comp attorney became involved and the man was re-paid what was owed.
The Ohio BWC is a complex system wrought with errors, omissions, unnecessary denials, and other actions harmful to injured workers. An experienced attorney is a necessity to traverse the intricate processes and procedures. Call Garson Johnson today if you have questions about PTD, DWRF payments or other workers’ comp related concerns.
Groundskeeper with Cancer Sued Round-up Weed Killer Manufacturer
Dewayne Johnson, a former groundskeeper, sued Monsanto (the maker of Round-Up) claiming the weed killer caused cancer and that Monsanto failed to warn consumers of the danger.
Johnson was awarded $289 million dollars by a jury trial in San Francisco.
Roundup Tragedy Continues
This is a tragic situation. The situation is getting worse. Imagine if you are a landscaper, groundskeeper, gardener, caretaker, farmer, nursery worker, or even a horticulturist. Part of your daily responsibility is removing or killing weeds, right? The International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) announced in 2015 that two pesticides are “probably carcinogenic to humans.” One of these pesticides is glyphosate and is the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer.
Unbeknownst to you, the chemical you use every day could cause cancer! Over 4000 cancer patients are suing Monsanto for failure to warn the public about the risk. Yet, the Vice President of Monsanto made this statement:
"Today's decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews ... support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson's cancer."
Can you say corporate cover-up?
This is not be the first time a corporate spokesperson denies their product is dangerous.
Think about the tobacco industry.
“In short, [the companies] have marketed and sold their lethal product with zeal, with deception, with a single-minded focus on their financial success, and without regard for the human tragedy or social costs that success exacted,” Kessler wrote in United States of America v. Philip Morris USA. (The Atlantic)
Know someone with mesothelioma?
Asbestos: Think Again: Industry Hid Dangers for Decades the article documents dozens of quotes from corporate memos exposing the dangers of asbestos like this quote:
"We know that you will never lose sight of the fact that perhaps the greatest hazard in your plant is with men handling asbestos. Because just as certain as death and taxes is the fact that if you inhale asbestos dust you get asbestosis."
— 1958 National Gypsum Memo [View document]
Seriously! The industry knew it caused cancer in 1958 yet still used asbestos until 1977!!
Lawsuit Reveals Roundup Memos and Emails
Johnson’s attorney stated:
"We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents proving that Monsanto has known for decades that ... Roundup could cause cancer," (The Guardian)
“Monsanto has specifically gone out of its way to bully … and to fight independent researchers.” (The Guardian)
Jury Sends Strong Message to Monsanto
The San Francisco jury listened testimony from many witnesses as well as Johnson’s description of his pain and suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cell cancer. Then, the jury proceeded to deliberate for three days and awarded Johnson with $250 million in punitive damages and $39 million in compensatory damages.
Gig’s Up Roundup
Does this scenario sound familiar to you? Or a family member? If 4000 people with cancer have sued already because of Roundup, there are probably more victims. Call us if you have a potential case or questions about filing a lawsuit.
Will the Ohio Workers’ Comp pay for my prescriptions for a work related injury?
If your workers’ comp accident and injury were approved and allowed by Ohio BWC, then yes, workers’ comp will pay for your prescriptions prescribed by your comp doctor.
I originally paid for the prescription. How can I be reimbursed?
The pharmacist needs to submit the bill information to the BWC’s Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM). If the pharmacy does this, you will automatically be reimbursed once your claim is allowed. If you paid as a “cash customer” and the bill information was not submitted to the PBM, ask the pharmacy to complete the Outpatient Medication Invoice (C-17).
Important things to remember
Can I be reimbursed for co-pay if my health insurance originally paid for the script?
That’s a no. Any scripts related to a work injury need to be submitted to the BWC’s Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM). BWC will not reimburse you for any co-pays.
My medication was denied for requiring a prior authorization. How do I get prior authorization?
The medical professional prescribing your meds should contact BWC's Pharmacy Benefits Manager, ACS State Healthcare at 1-800-644-6292. Or, the prescriber should complete a Medco-31 or Medco-32 (for non-preferred medication). Basically, you need to call your doctor and ask them to make sure your meds are authorized. They should be able to manage this for you.
If you have any questions about your prescriptions or other workers’ comp claim related concerts, don’t hesitate to reach out to experienced and dedicated attorneys at Garson Johnson. We have decades of experience focusing on the Ohio workers’ comp law and BWC system.
***BWC will only reimburse medications that are listed on the BWC medication formulary.
ATTENTION: Clients with hearings scheduled at the Cleveland Industrial Commission Office.
Please be aware of the ongoing construction around the state building. Expect parking and walking delays because of the repairs and replacements.
Industrial Commission- Cleveland
615 Superior Ave. NW
Cleveland, OH 44113-1898
In January 2017, the NEW OHIO WORKERS COMP LAW SIGNED TO HELP FIRE FIGHTERS WITH CANCER revealed a new law to help Ohio firefighters with cancer to receive workers' compensation benefits. Then in November 2017, OHIO BWC INITIATES FIREFIGHTER EXPOSURE GRANT PROGRAM discussed grants available to fire departments to improve safety.
This month, Middleburg Heights is joining the list of fire departments utilizing the Ohio BWC grant. Cancer is proven to be a job hazard for firefighters. We applaud the Ohio BWC for providing grants and attempting to reduce the exposure to toxic chemicals in any job environment.
State Funded Employers? The Ohio BWC
In Ohio, the majority of businesses pay for workers’ compensation insurance to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Most likely, your employer is one of these businesses and is considered to be state funded. In those situations, the Ohio BWC will pay for your medical expenses and benefits of your workers compensation injury. Ohio Managed Care Organizations (MCO) assist the Ohio BWC by medically managing your workers’ compensation case. The MCO will approve treatment, process paperwork, and process payment for medical providers. The Ohio BWC, however, is the entity actually paying for workers’ comp benefits as well as paying the MCO for their administrative functions.
Self-Insured Employers? The Employer
Some very large Ohio businesses may qualify to be self-insured employers. Which means, the business would administer and pay for the workers’ compensation claims against them. To qualify, an employer must meet several requirements including:
What can the injured worker do to get the best results from a workers comp injury?
Engaging and hiring an experienced and successful workers comp attorney is extremely important to ensure the injured worker receives the best treatment and benefits available. It is common knowledge but rarely spoken that injured workers without an attorney receive less benefits, less treatment and overall inferior results.
Your attorney recommends filing a C92 to determine a percentage for your permanent partial disability. You attend the doctor’s exam. Great news! The BWC approved and determined the percentage. Congratulations, you’ve been awarded permanent partial disability benefits!
But wait, does this mean your workers’ comp claim is closed? Absolutely Not!
Sometimes when an injured worker received permanent partial disability (PPD) award, they believe this settles or closes the claim. A PPD award does not close a workers’ compensation claim. ***If you want to keep your claim open and active, it is extremely important that you continue to follow up with your physician of record at least once a year after a PPD award is paid.***
ABOUT C92/ PPD:
ABOUT WORKERS’ COMP CLAIM EXPIRATION (STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS)
Are you trying to get medical treatment approved through the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation?
If you have a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, you probably already know this is a complex and often confusing system. When you get injured at work, often times the workplace injuries will require treatment. It should be as simple as getting to the doctor and getting the treatment, right? Well, it's not always that easy.
Here are steps to getting treatment approved through the Ohio BWC system for state-funded cases:
(Hopefully, you will be successful with step 1! If not, read more to get the scoop.)
STEP 1: Your Physician of Record (POR) completes a C-9 form and submits it to your employer's Managed Care Organization (MCO).
-If the MCO approves it, congratulation! You can begin treatment!*
STEP 2: If the MCO denies the C-9, your physician or attorney must appeal the denial within 14 days to the Ohio BWC.
-If the BWC approves it, congratulations! You can begin treatment!*
STEP 3: If the BWC denies it, your attorney will appeal to the Industrial Commission for a hearing in front of a District Hearing Officer. (DHO) Don't be intimidated about the actual hearing, read more to learn everything you need to know.
-If the DHO approves the treatment for your workplace injury, congratulations! You can begin treatment!*
STEP 4: If the DHO at Ohio's Industrial Commission denies the recommended medical treatment at a hearing, your attorney will appeal again. This time you will be referred to a Staff Hearing Officer (SHO) at the Industrial Commission. This hearing is much like the hearing at the DHO level.
-If the SHO approves it, congratulations! You can begin treatment!*
STEP 5: If the SHO denies the medial treatment for your workers' comp injury, call your attorney, schedule a phone consult or in office consultation, and discuss the next steps for your claim. Experienced workers' comp attorneys will be able to work with your physician and guide you on the best possible actions moving forward.
When dealing with the Ohio BWC, you are much better positioned and prepared if you have an experienced, strategic and compassionate lawyer on your side. Contact us at Garson Johnson LLC with any questions about your workers comp medical treatment.
*Side Note! Your employer can appeal any approval of treatment during steps 1-3. If this happens, rely on your attorney to help you!
INCREASE CANCER DIAGNOSIS IN FIREFIGHTERS GETS NATIONAL ATTENTION
On Monday October 23, 2017, NBC Nightly News highlighted the “alarming cancer rise among American firefighters.” NBC highlighted a few firefighters and their struggles with blood cancer, tumors in and around the heart, kidney cancer and brain cancer. Many city fire departments are tracking elevated cancer rates. 163 firefighters and EMT’s from Ground Zero have died of cancer.
The news video explained the increase amounts of synthetics, plastics and chemicals will cover a firefighter with dangerous and toxic soot. Because of the increase diagnosis of cancer, many fire stations are taking extra safety precautions like machine washing protective gear and increase rules and protocols about wearing safety masks.
OHIO RECOGNIZES CANCER AS OCCUPATIONAL ILLNESS FOR FIREFIGHTERS
For several years, Ohio State Senator Tom Patton worked vigorously to sponsor this bill and bring it to completion. In January 2017, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act which makes it easier for Ohio firefighters with cancer to receive workers compensation benefits.
This relatively new legislation basically assumes certain types of cancer are occupational illnesses for firefighters performing official duties. Sadly, Captain Palumbo, for whom the bill was named, passed away on May 24, 2017 from an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Local firefighter Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. receives hero’s burial
“As we lay Michael to rest today, his legacy which he left in the fire service will carry on forever,” Lt. Bill Mastroianni of Euclid Fire Department said. “Michael becomes the face of Senate Bill 27, and his determination and selflessness in getting this legislation passed will continue to protect fire fighters and their families against this dreaded occupational and deadly disease for decades to come.”
OHIO BWC INITIATES FIREFIGHTER EXPOSURE GRANT PROGRAM
This month, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation recently announced the first 38 fire departments to receive money under the Firefighter Exposure to Environmental Elements Grant Program. This grant provides funding to help purchase safety gear to help protect firefighters from the dangerous and toxic soot.
Fire Departments Awarded First OH Environmental Exposure Grants
"The dangers of fighting a fire do not stop when the flames are extinguished," said BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison. "The men and women who risk their lives to save ours deserve access to the best equipment and tools that can minimize long-term threats to their health and well-being."
GARSON JOHNSON APPLAUDS OHIO'S EFFORTS
As strong and tireless advocates for injured workers in Ohio, Garson Johnson is pleased the Ohio legislature and the Ohio BWC are making such efforts to provide firefighters with the workers’ compensation benefits they so desperately need when fighting cancer. We also applaud the BWC for working with the fire departments and city employers to help protect these men and women. The Palumbo Act and the Firefighters Grant program are providing increased benefits for this dangerous occupation.
With these two positive changes, we would hope that the General Assembly will see fit someday to expand the “Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act” to include other occupations that pose a similar heightened risk to its workers.
If you or a family member is a fire fighter diagnosed with cancer, please contact our attorneys. We want to help you navigate through the BWC process and ensure you receive all the benefits and compensation owed to you.