Special Edition: Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation

Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation

IAIABC: Please provide an organizational overview (number of employees, years in business, vision)

Dr. Brian Wilson, Director of Medical and Health Services Research, Office of Chief Medical Officer, Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation: The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is the sole provider of workers’ compensation insurance in Ohio, serving nearly 257,000 public and private employers. We are one of the largest state-run, monopolistic insurance systems nationally, employing over 1,500 employees serving its customers. We strive to deliver safe, quality, equitable, cost-effective care at the right time and setting to employees injured at work.
BWC’s Vision, Mission, & Core Values include:
Vision: To transform BWC into an agile organization driven by customer service
Mission: To deliver consistently excellent experiences for each BWC customer every day
Core Values: One Agency, Personal Connection, Innovative Leadership, Relentless Excellence

Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation

IAIABC: How does your organization serve the workers’ compensation industry? 

BW: We serve the workers’ compensation industry by focusing on providing safe, quality, cost-effective care for injured workers, innovative safety initiatives, and low rates for employers. Through collaboration and partnerships with other industry leaders, we implement and develop best practices for achieving the best experience for our internal and external customers. We afford injured workers freedom of choice of a provider they choose and utilizes managed care organizations to assist in medically managing claims. Meanwhile, employers retain their right to appeal claims filed by an employee and treatment requests. 

IAIABC: BWC will host The IAIABC Forum 2024. What would you like to highlight about Ohio that would encourage IAIABC members to attend?

BW: We encourage members to attend the Forum in Cincinnati to experience all the Queen City has to offer, including its panoramic views of the city, which overlooks the Ohio River. The city also boasts a rich history in professional sports teams, the Cincinnati Reds and Cincinnati Bengals, as well as its famous architecture, cultural attractions, a dynamic food scene, and, of course, Cincinnati Chili.  

IAIABC: What do you see as some of the major challenges the industry is facing, and how can we as a community address them? 

BW: Some of the major challenges facing the industry include physician burnout There is an opportunity to become proactive through strategic initiatives and planning which can address physician shortages in key health-care specialtiesand fewer providers specializing in occupational medicine, fragmentation across the health-care industry, higher medical costs, and a shortage among young professionals choosing a career in workers’ compensation. As an industry leader, we seek to address these issues through outreach and education among stakeholders, internal and external, which may bridge the gap and provide a solution to these issues now and in the future. There is an opportunity to become proactive through strategic initiatives and planning which can address physician shortages in key health-care specialties, while educating young professionals how their contribution to workers’ compensation can positively impact employers and workers through creating safe work environments and assisting injured workers throughout the care continuum. 

Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and automation, loom large for our industry and society. It will be critical for us, as a community, to determine best practices, to identify the advantages and risks of these new technologies, and to move forward in ways that are thoughtful and forward-thinking without losing sight of security, safety, and the needs of those we serve.

IAIABC: Are there any projects/programs/initiatives since the IAIABC last talked with you in 2020 that you would like to highlight or are particularly excited about?


  • Premium rate cuts for employers
  • Targeted messaging system to alert injured workers on claim status or Ohio Industrial Commission referrals
  • Enhanced Care Program – an innovative value-based methodology that allows the physician of record to treat allowed conditions in the claim those injuries that are causally related to the injury and reduces the administrative burden to provide care immediately and treat within ODG with assurance of payment for services.
  • Concussion Management – treatment rule that provides timely care to those injured workers who may be experiencing characteristics of a concussion but who have yet been diagnosed with a concussion. Clinical manifestations of a concussion may be present, and the physician can provide services that may fall into one or more of the eight clinical domains
  • Substance Use Recovery Workplace Safety Program - minimizes the impact
    of substance use disorders in Ohio’s workforce and to promote a safe and healthful workplace which incentivizes employers to hire and retain workers who are in recovery
  • Better You, Better Ohio!® – a health and wellness program offered to employers who have less than 250 employees where employees can receive biometric screenings and health-coaching calls, all while earning a cash reward for participating
  • Safety Intervention Grants
  • Annual Medical & Health Symposium and the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo – two initiatives geared toward educating providers and employers
  • 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – a partnership between Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services and BWC that offers Ohioans a free/confidential service to reach trained crisis counselors/specialists 24/7 access via call, text, or chat who may be experiencing:
    • Suicidal thoughts or tendencies;
    • Substance use;
    • Mental health crisis; or,
    • Any other kind of emotional distress.

IAIABC: What's an interesting fact about your organization that most people don't know?

BW: Every year, we host our Ohio Safety Congress & Expo, which is the nation’s largest free occupational safety conference. It features over 150 educational sessions, workshops, and keynote presentations. Additionally, its Expo Marketplace allows attendees to network with 300 exhibiting companies and organizations. Furthermore, we host our Medical & Health Symposium – filled with educational sessions for health care providers and legal professionals, including FREE continuing education, live surgery, exhibitors, and more.
Last year over 7,600 professionals registered from all 50 states and 37 countries for our virtual conference.

On the medical front, our pharmacy program is unique in that it operates a closed formulary that is managed internally and approved by an appointed Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee. Also, we have maintained a 27-year partnership with managed care organizations in a collaborative effort to manage the medical aspects of injured workers’ claims and improve the overall experience for customers. 

IAIABC: What are your favorite benefits of membership?

BW: Our favorite benefits of IAIABC membership are having the opportunity to connect and collaborate with other jurisdictional and industry leaders. IAIABC provides a platform for leaders to learn from others’ experiences while sharing strategic and innovative initiatives that advance the industry in meeting stakeholders' needs. 

IAIABC offers educational opportunities throughout the year and provides members the opportunity to participate in committees and conferences. Active participation in IAIABC’s various committees, whether in a leadership position or member, offers a platform to engage with fellow leaders across the industry to discuss policy and topics impacting workers’ compensation.