Ohio’s BWC Budget Bill Has Finally Passed. What’s Changed? Not Much.

Legislation passed earlier this year by the Ohio House of Representatives funding the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation also included a number of substantive changes to Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation laws.  Those changes included: providing coverage for First Responders with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder even in the absence of a physical injury; amending the First Report of Injury to require injured workers to include citizenship information; changing the statute of limitations for filing VSSR claims from two years to one; and prohibiting employers from requiring a resignation as a condition of settlement.

The Ohio Senate stripped all policy provisions out of the House version and the bill was sent back to conference committee.  The final version emerged last Wednesday, with none of the above changes included.  Other than budgetary provisions, the only policy change was a provision that will allow the BWC to enter into an interagency agreement for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services through the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, an attempt to provide PTSD coverage for police officers and firefighters fell one vote short in conference committee.  House Speaker Larry Householder said that the House will bring separate legislation on the PTSD issue later in the year.

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