Overview of Senate Bill 45 (as Introduced)
Senate Bill No. 45 introduced February 13, 1997 with Senator Cupp as sponsor offers these changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act: This is an abbreviated summary, or overview, of the Act. There are many more changes. For more information about this bill, see our referendum page.
- Changes “disability” to “impairment” throughout. Both permanent partial and permanent total would be based on “impairment” and not “disability”.
- Reduces continuing jurisdiction (R.C. 4123.52) from ten years in lost time claims and six years in medical only claims to three years. No compensation is payable after three years pass without payment under R.C. 4123.56, 4123.57(B) [amputation awards], 4123.58 or 4123.59. For medical treatment a claim remains open for three years from date of treatment which is paid.
- Wage loss reduces non-working wage loss to twenty-six weeks. Aggregates all wage loss payments (R.C. 4121.67 and 4123.56) to a maximum of two hundred weeks. Rehabilitation wage loss is reduced by one week for each week of R.C. 4123.56 wage loss which is paid. Wage loss to be paid based on difference between average weekly wage and amount being earned.
- Directs use of AMA Guides most current edition.
- Permanent partial – Award based on Bureau doctor examination. Hearing Office may only reverse in limited circumstances: (a) doctor didn’t examine on all conditions; (b) doctor examined on condition not allowed; (c) doctor prejudiced; (d) claim barred from award. If item a, b, or c is found, it will lead to another BWC examiner. Hearing Officer becomes a rubber stamp for BWC doctor.
- Directs Hearing Officer to declare overpayment where terminates temporary total retroactively.
- Permanent partial reduced from two hundred weeks to one hundred weeks, but raised to a maximum of two-thirds of average weekly wage from present one-third of average weekly wage.
- Occupational disease — requires for occupational disease that the date of the claim be the date of first diagnosis. Average weekly wage to be based on that date.
- Reduces temporary total, permanent total and DWRF by counting retirement benefits, 80% paid for by employer, so that total of all benefits does not exceed statewide average weekly wage.
- Reduces permanent total by any permanent partial paid.
- Payment or furnishing benefits or compensation by a self-insurer is not recognition of claim or condition.
- Injury definition excludes pre-existing conditions from injury claims unless condition substantially worsened. Excludes from injury cumulative or repetitive trauma. Limits payment and medical for substantial aggravation to result of the worsening.
- Occupational disease exclusion (a) ordinary diseases of life; (b) a disease which would arise without occupational exposure; (c) diseases caused by natural deterioration.
- Excludes full or part-time college students from benefit of adjustment of average weekly wage under R.C. 4123.61 and 4123.62, due to young age or likelihood would earn more.
- Directs Hearing Officers to report suspected fraud and holds DHO harmless from such report.
- Excludes religious sects from workers’ compensation coverage where sect to opposed to insurance.
- Classes as secret records of injury and disease, accident investigation reports. Such records would not be available to the public.