Ohio Agencies Owe Workers’ Comp Fund $46 Million, Director Says

October 5, 2006

Ohio agencies owe the state insurance fund for injured workers $46 million in medical management fees that the agencies weren’t charged for over several years, according to the fund’s director.

William Mabe, administrator of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, said he’s still trying to figure out why 120 state agencies weren’t assessed the annual 8 percent fee, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported.

Under Ohio’s workers’ comp system, employers pay a fee to private firms called medical management companies that manage claims filed by injured workers.

Mabe says for some reason the bureau has paid the fees for state agencies since the program began in 1997 instead of the agencies paying the fees themselves.

Mabe sent a letter on Monday of this week to Carol Drake, Department of Administrative Services administrator, explaining that state employers owe the insurance fund $46.1 million.

Mabe said he doesn’t understand why the agencies, including universities and university hospitals, weren’t assessed the fee for managing medical claims, especially since a 1999 internal audit cited BWC for not collecting the fees in 1997.

“We’re doing the archaeology to figure that out, but I have yet to find that piece of information or that document that says, ‘Do this, don’t do that,” Mabe said.

The bureau is already examining its contracts with the management companies in light of rising costs. Payments to those firms jumped more than 40 percent since the arrangement began, though the state is seeing about half as many claims.

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