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CLIENT ALERT: Bureau of Workers' Compensation Budget Amends Law

Client Alert

As we head into 2018, you should be aware of some recent changes made in Ohio’s laws concerning Workers’ Compensation. These changes became effective September 29, 2017.   Some will affect business more than others, but these are changes you should really know about. 

>A notice of intent to settle can be filed by the Injured Worker or Employer within thirty (30) days of receipt of an order being appealed (or, apparently which could be appealed), or the Industrial Commission’s refusal to hear an appeal. If filed, this filing extends the time for filing an appeal to Court to one-hundred and fifty (150) days (unless the other party files an objection to the notice within fourteen (14) days of receipt). This provision may assist parties in settling claims before invoking judicial machinery.

>Changes increased Injured Worker Attorney fees from $4,500.00 to $5,000.00.

>The BWC medical section is required to schedule a medical examination to determine the employee’s continued entitlement to initial compensation no later than thirty (30) days following the initial consecutive ninety (90) day period.   While the BWC may waive the scheduling of a medical examination for “good cause,” if the employee’s employer objects to the waiver, then the administrator will refer the employee to the bureau medical section to schedule the examination or the administrator will schedule the examination.

>Section 4123.56(E) provides that if an injured worker is awarded temporary total disability compensation before the full weekly wage is determined, s/he will be compensated at the statewide average weekly wage rate.  Discrepancies will be accounted for and adjusted once the full weekly wage is calculated.

>A Permanent Partial Disability Application (C92) will be dismissed (without prejudice, which means it can be refiled if the statute has not already run) if the injured worker fails to respond to an attempt to schedule an examination by the bureau medical section or fails to attend a scheduled medical exam without notice or explanation.

>Various provisions amend sections which address fire fighter cancer presumption.  Changes to this the section, among other things, amend the fire fighter cancer presumption to permit rebutting the presumption by demonstrating that exposure to the carcinogen could not have caused that type of cancer.  Changes to this section also limit the presumption to situations where the fire fighter has not worked in hazardous duty for more than fifteen (15) years.  Other changes  permit a fire fighter to receive working wage loss if s/he has a scheduled claim for cancer contracted by a fire fighter.

>The time limit for filing a claim is reduced from two years to one year.  It is important to note, however, that the statute of limitations for occupational disease claims has apparently not changed.

>Also, while not a legislative change, an important new medical rule goes into effect January 1, 2018.  A section of the Ohio Administrative Code will be enacted, which covers Lumbar Fusions.  Under this new rule, before approving lumbar fusion surgery, certain medical criteria generally must be met.

For more information about the law changes or other employment, labor and workers' compensation matters, contact Richard L. Williger


Valley National Bank/Trulieve Loan: A Big Step Out of the Shadows

In a late December press release, Trulieve announced that it had secured a $71.5 million commercial bank loan. In addition to the amount of the loan, which may be the largest commercial bank loan to date to a cannabis company, the release prominently identified Valley Bank and featured both a quote from Valley’s Senior Vice President, John Myers, and a description of the Bank’s service platform and commitment to the cannabis industry.

The End of Non-Competes? The Impact It Will Have on the Healthcare Industry

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a proposed rule that, if enacted, will ban employers from entering into non-compete clauses with workers (the “Rule”), and the Rule would void existing non-compete agreements. In their Notice, the FTC stated that if the Rule were to go into effect, they estimate the overall earnings of employees in the United States could increase by $250 billion to $296 billion per year. The Rule would also require employers to rescind non-competes that they had already entered into with their workers. For purposes of the Rule, the FTC has defined “worker” to also include any employees, interns, volunteers, and contractors.”

2022 Healthcare Recap and 2023 Healthcare Check-Up

As the country begins to return to a new “normal” following the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many healthcare rules changing on both the federal and state levels as a result. Thus, it is important for healthcare providers and their employers to be aware of these changing rules, and any implications they may have on their practice. Look back on healthcare in 2022 and find a checklist for 2023.

Direct Support Professional Retention Payments

On December 15, the Ohio Senate and House passed House Bill 45, which authorizes the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), in conjunction with the county boards of developmental disabilities, to launch their initiative to issue retention payments to Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). These retention payments will be distributed quarterly to participating home and community-based waiver providers to address the workforce crisis in the direct provider sector. Governor DeWine needs to sign the Bill to begin the payments, but he is expected to do so by the end of 2022.

Real Estate Investors Position for 2023 Opportunities

Real estate investors weathered another year in a post-pandemic world, with the year closing with yet another interest rate increase coupled with both uncertainty and heightened interest carrying into 2023. Just last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate 0.50 percentage points, shifting the target range to 4.25% to 4.50%. The new level is the highest the fed funds rate has been since December 2007 and marks the seventh rate hike this year. So what does this mean to investors, brokers, lenders, and others in the real estate world? Read a few perspectives below from stakeholders familiar with our BMD clients and the markets in which they do business.