Ohio WC Bureau Planning Hospital Rate Cuts

August 3, 2005

In spite of warnings from health care groups, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation plans to cut the rates it pays hospitals treating sick and injured workers.

The bureau insures about two-thirds of all employees in Ohio, providing medical and compensation benefits for work-related injuries, diseases and death.

The proposal, scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, is expected to save the bureau $50 million over 15 months. Under the plan, payments for inpatient services will be cut by about 21% by reducing a formula that pays 70% of a hospital’s stated charges to 55% of charges. Outpatient rates would drop 17%, from 60% of charges to 55%.

State officials say the plan strikes a balance between paying hospitals a fair rate and addressing employer concerns about this year’s 4.4% workers’ comp premium increases.

Bureau officials also contend that the proposed cuts will cause few if any hospitals to stop providing care, although the Greater Cincinnati Health Council expressed concerns that the cuts could force hospitals to stop accepting comp patients.

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