Ohio Industrial Commission Votes Unanimously on Two Key Issues

Smart Summary

  • The Industrial Commission unanimously voted to include Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) claims to the list of issues that can be docketed for hearing.
  • PPD claims will likely begin appearing on the hearing docket by the end of the first week in May.
  • The Statewide Hearing Officers Meeting has been canceled, and may yet be rescheduled for the fall.

The Industrial Commission of Ohio conducted a Special Meeting on April 15, 2020, regarding two key issues.

Unanimous Vote to Include Permanent Partial Disability on Hearing Docket

The first was whether to add applications for permanent partial disability (PPD) to the current list of issues being docketed for hearing. In early March of this year, in response to the COVID–19 pandemic, the Industrial Commission began conducting hearings by telephone and only on limited issues, Dave McCarty covered in our April 8 article: claim allowance, additional allowances, temporary total disability compensation, wage loss compensation and permanent total disability compensation. The Commission heard evidence that, of the approximately 11,000 claims currently awaiting docketing for hearing, more than 3,500 of those claims involve applications for PPD or an increase in PPD. There are also approximately 2,100 such claims being held by the Ohio BWC awaiting referral to the Commission for hearing. The Commission unanimously voted to include PPD hearings on the current docket, which means they will likely begin to appear on the docket by the end of the first week in May.

Unanimous Vote to Cancel Statewide Hearing Officers Meeting

The Commission also addressed whether to cancel the Statewide Hearing Officers Meeting currently scheduled for September 14 and 15, 2020. The Commission noted the Executive Order from Governor DeWine temporarily eliminating nonessential travel of state employees. It also noted that its contract with the facility at which the annual meeting will be held provides certain exclusions for which the current pandemic may qualify and for refunds relative to the timing of cancellation. It was recommended to the Commission to cancel the currently scheduled meeting and the Commission voted unanimously to move forward with cancellation. It is hoped that the meeting can be rescheduled later in the fall.

Randy Mikes is of counsel with Kegler Brown and assists Ohio employers with all aspects of workers’ compensation defense, representing them at administrative hearings before the Industrial Commission throughout the state of Ohio and before the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Randy can be reached directly at [email protected] or (614) 462-5414.