On Thursday, an Ohio Chamber priority bill completed its way through the legislative process and now awaits the signature of the governor as the Ohio House concurred with the amendment added by the Ohio Senate last week.
The legislation, House Bill 81 (HB 81), makes several important reforms to Ohio’s workers’ compensation system that stand to benefit employers across the state.
Under HB 81, the payment of a medical bill will no longer determine when the continuing jurisdiction of the Bureau or Industrial Commission begins. Instead, the continuing jurisdiction will start following an individual’s final medical appointment. Making this switch will benefit employers because claims will be finalized sooner and in a more predictable way since billing practices for doctors vary across the state.
The bill also codifies an important component of workers’ compensation law known as voluntary abandonment. This common law doctrine assures benefits are only payable when a workplace injury is the reason for an individual’s wage loss. Adding this doctrine to the Ohio Revised Code guarantees a vital financial safeguard for employers cannot be later modified or stricken by future justices at the Ohio Supreme Court.
In addition to these reforms, HB 81 also shrinks the statute of limitation for filing VSSR claims from two years to one year. This reduction promotes consistency within the workers’ compensation system in Ohio by creating one statute of limitation period for both injury claims and VSSR claims.
HB 81 was also an Ohio Chamber Key Vote because of its significant pro-business impact, and we recorded the vote in our Free Enterprise Index.
We thank lawmakers for their quick action on this legislation and appreciate their willingness to make reforms to Ohio’s workers’ compensation law that will have a positive impact on the system.