Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

CLIENT ALERT: Bureau of Workers' Compensation Budget Amends Law

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

Ohio Supreme Court Clarifies Medical Statute of Limitations

The Ohio Supreme Court issued a decision in late December that clarifies and finalizes the Ohio law regarding the period of time in which patients can assert claims for medical malpractice. The Court was examining the interplay between three different statutes being the statute of limitations, the statute of repose, and the savings statute.

Ohio Hospitals and Healthcare Clinics: It’s Time to Revisit Your Billing and Collection Practices

According to a recent Cuyahoga County case, certain healthcare entities may not be protected from liability when engaging in unfair or deceptive billing acts. This decision is consistent with the growing trend across the country to encourage price transparency and eliminate unfair surprise billing practices by health care organizations. Now is the time for hospitals and other health care organizations to revisit their billing and collection policies and procedures to confirm that they are legally defensible and consistent with best practices.

HIPAA Business Associate Agreements: Why These Contracts Matter

No one loves drafting, reading or negotiating HIPAA Business Associate Agreements (BAAs). Yet many of us need to do so, and some of us do so daily. They are often boring, dense and technical, but BAAs are important from both a legal and a business perspective, and they deserve our attention. Failure to enter a BAA when one is required can constitute a HIPAA violation that results in substantial liability, as demonstrated by certain recent Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) settlements.1 A business associate who makes a disclosure that is not authorized by the applicable BAA or required by law can be subject to civil and, in some cases, criminal penalties. Further, parties are often presented with BAAs that contain onerous one-sided indemnification and other provisions that can be devasting to an organization in the event of a HIPAA breach. The significance of a BAA is often not fully understood by the parties until something goes wrong (e.g., a HIPAA security incident or breach, an Office of Civil Rights (OCR) audit or a fracture in the relationship between the parties) and, at that point, there is limited opportunity to mitigate legal and business risk. Ideally, attention should be given at the commencement of the business associate relationship, when the parties are able, to thoughtfully addressing regulatory requirements, planning and preparing for potential adverse events and appropriately allocating risk among the parties. As with most healthcare regulatory compliance initiatives, a proactive approach with respect to BAAs is preferable. This article provides a broad overview of certain BAA requirements and some practical negotiating tips for the parties involved.

“I’m Out Of Here!” Now What?

We all know that the healthcare industry is experiencing a wave of integration. This trend has been evident for many years. Fewer physicians are willing to assume the legal, financial and other business risks associated with owning their own practices. More and more physicians, including anesthesiologists, are becoming employed by large physician groups, health systems and national providers. This shift necessarily involves not only entry into new employment arrangements but also the termination of existing relationships. And those terminations are often governed by written employment agreements, state and federal healthcare laws and employer benefit plans and other policies and procedures. Before pursuing their next opportunity, physicians should pause for a moment and first attend to the arrangement that they are leaving. Departing physicians need to understand their legal rights and obligations when leaving their current employment relationships in order to avoid unintended consequences and detrimental missteps along the way. Here are a few words of practical advice for physicians contemplating an exit from their current employment arrangements.

Investment Training for the Second and Third Generations

Consider this scenario. Mom and Dad started the business from the ground up. Over the decades it has expanded into a money-making machine. They are able to sell the business and it results in a multimillion-dollar payday for their labors. The excess money has allowed Mom and Dad to invest with various financial advising firms, several fund management groups, and directly with new startups and joint ventures. Their experience has made them savvy investors, with a detailed understanding of how much to invest, when, and where. They cannot justify formation of a full family office with dedicated investors to manage the funds, but Mom and Dad have set up a trust fund for the children to allow these investments to continue to grow over the years. Eventually, Mom and Dad pass. Their children enjoy the fruits of their labors, and, by the time the grandchildren are adults, Mom and Dad's savvy investments are gone.