4121.121 Bureau of workers' compensation - appointment, powers and duties of administrator - chief operating officer.

(A) There is hereby created the bureau of workers' compensation, which shall be administered by the administrator of workers' compensation. A person appointed to the position of administrator shall possess significant management experience in effectively managing an organization or organizations of substantial size and complexity. A person appointed to the position of administrator also shall possess a minimum of five years of experience in the field of workers' compensation insurance or in another insurance industry, except as otherwise provided when the conditions specified in division (C) of this section are satisfied. The governor shall appoint the administrator as provided in section 121.03 of the Revised Code, and the administrator shall serve at the pleasure of the governor. The governor shall fix the administrator's salary on the basis of the administrator's experience and the administrator's responsibilities and duties under this chapter and Chapters 4123., 4125., 4127., 4131., and 4167. of the Revised Code. The governor shall not appoint to the position of administrator any person who has, or whose spouse has, given a contribution to the campaign committee of the governor in an amount greater than one thousand dollars during the two-year period immediately preceding the date of the appointment of the administrator.

The administrator shall hold no other public office and shall devote full time to the duties of administrator. Before entering upon the duties of the office, the administrator shall take an oath of office as required by sections 3.22 and 3.23 of the Revised Code, and shall file in the office of the secretary of state, a bond signed by the administrator and by surety approved by the governor, for the sum of fifty thousand dollars payable to the state, conditioned upon the faithful performance of the administrator's duties.

(B) The administrator is responsible for the management of the bureau and for the discharge of all administrative duties imposed upon the administrator in this chapter and Chapters 4123., 4125., 4127., 4131., and 4167. of the Revised Code, and in the discharge thereof shall do all of the following:

(1) Perform all acts and exercise all authorities and powers, discretionary and otherwise that are required of or vested in the bureau or any of its employees in this chapter and Chapters 4123., 4125., 4127., 4131., and 4167. of the Revised Code, except the acts and the exercise of authority and power that is required of and vested in the bureau of workers' compensation board of directors or the industrial commission pursuant to those chapters. The treasurer of state shall honor all warrants signed by the administrator, or by one or more of the administrator's employees, authorized by the administrator in writing, or bearing the facsimile signature of the administrator or such employee under sections 4123.42 and 4123.44 of the Revised Code.

(2) Employ, direct, and supervise all employees required in connection with the performance of the duties assigned to the bureau by this chapter and Chapters 4123., 4125., 4127., 4131., and 4167. of the Revised Code, including an actuary, and may establish job classification plans and compensation for all employees of the bureau provided that this grant of authority shall not be construed as affecting any employee for whom the state employment relations board has established an appropriate bargaining unit under section 4117.06 of the Revised Code. All positions of employment in the bureau are in the classified civil service except those employees the administrator may appoint to serve at the administrator's pleasure in the unclassified civil service pursuant to section 124.11 of the Revised Code. The administrator shall fix the salaries of employees the administrator appoints to serve at the administrator's pleasure, including the chief operating officer, staff physicians, and other senior management personnel of the bureau and shall establish the compensation of staff attorneys of the bureau's legal section and their immediate supervisors, and take whatever steps are necessary to provide adequate compensation for other staff attorneys.

The administrator may appoint a person who holds a certified position in the classified service within the bureau to a position in the unclassified service within the bureau. A person appointed pursuant to this division to a position in the unclassified service shall retain the right to resume the position and status held by the person in the classified service immediately prior to the person's appointment in the unclassified service, regardless of the number of positions the person held in the unclassified service. An employee's right to resume a position in the classified service may only be exercised when the administrator demotes the employee to a pay range lower than the employee's current pay range or revokes the employee's appointment to the unclassified service. An employee forfeits the right to resume a position in the classified service when the employee is removed from the position in the unclassified service due to incompetence, inefficiency, dishonesty, drunkenness, immoral conduct, insubordination, discourteous treatment of the public, neglect of duty, violation of this chapter or Chapter 124., 4123., 4125., 4127., 4131., or 4167. of the Revised Code, violation of the rules of the director of administrative services or the administrator, any other failure of good behavior, any other acts of misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office, or conviction of a felony. An employee also forfeits the right to resume a position in the classified service upon transfer to a different agency.

Reinstatement to a position in the classified service shall be to a position substantially equal to that position in the classified service held previously, as certified by the department of administrative services. If the position the person previously held in the classified service has been placed in the unclassified service or is otherwise unavailable, the person shall be appointed to a position in the classified service within the bureau that the director of administrative services certifies is comparable in compensation to the position the person previously held in the classified service. Service in the position in the unclassified service shall be counted as service in the position in the classified service held by the person immediately prior to the person's appointment in the unclassified service. When a person is reinstated to a position in the classified service as provided in this division, the person is entitled to all rights, status, and benefits accruing to the position during the person's time of service in the position in the unclassified service.

(3) Reorganize the work of the bureau, its sections, departments, and offices to the extent necessary to achieve the most efficient performance of its functions and to that end may establish, change, or abolish positions and assign and reassign duties and responsibilities of every employee of the bureau. All persons employed by the commission in positions that, after November 3, 1989, are supervised and directed by the administrator under this section are transferred to the bureau in their respective classifications but subject to reassignment and reclassification of position and compensation as the administrator determines to be in the interest of efficient administration. The civil service status of any person employed by the commission is not affected by this section. Personnel employed by the bureau or the commission who are subject to Chapter 4117. of the Revised Code shall retain all of their rights and benefits conferred pursuant to that chapter as it presently exists or is hereafter amended and nothing in this chapter or Chapter 4123. of the Revised Code shall be construed as eliminating or interfering with Chapter 4117. of the Revised Code or the rights and benefits conferred under that chapter to public employees or to any bargaining unit.

(4) Provide offices, equipment, supplies, and other facilities for the bureau.

(5) Prepare and submit to the board information the administrator considers pertinent or the board requires, together with the administrator's recommendations, in the form of administrative rules, for the advice and consent of the board, for classifications of occupations or industries, for premium rates and contributions, for the amount to be credited to the surplus fund, for rules and systems of rating, rate revisions, and merit rating. The administrator shall obtain, prepare, and submit any other information the board requires for the prompt and efficient discharge of its duties.

(6) Keep the accounts required by division (A) of section 4123.34 of the Revised Code and all other accounts and records necessary to the collection, administration, and distribution of the workers' compensation funds and shall obtain the statistical and other information required by section 4123.19 of the Revised Code.

(7) Exercise the investment powers vested in the administrator by section 4123.44 of the Revised Code in accordance with the investment policy approved by the board pursuant to section 4121.12 of the Revised Code and in consultation with the chief investment officer of the bureau of workers' compensation. The administrator shall not engage in any prohibited investment activity specified by the board pursuant to division (F)(9) of section 4121.12 of the Revised Code and shall not invest in any type of investment specified in divisions (B)(1) to (10) of section 4123.442 of the Revised Code. All business shall be transacted, all funds invested, all warrants for money drawn and payments made, and all cash and securities and other property held, in the name of the bureau, or in the name of its nominee, provided that nominees are authorized by the administrator solely for the purpose of facilitating the transfer of securities, and restricted to the administrator and designated employees.

(8) Make contracts for and supervise the construction of any project or improvement or the construction or repair of buildings under the control of the bureau.

(9) Purchase supplies, materials, equipment, and services; make contracts for, operate, and superintend the telephone, other telecommunication, and computer services for the use of the bureau; and make contracts in connection with office reproduction, forms management, printing, and other services. Notwithstanding sections 125.12 to 125.14 of the Revised Code, the administrator may transfer surplus computers and computer equipment directly to an accredited public school within the state. The computers and computer equipment may be repaired or refurbished prior to the transfer.

(10) Prepare and submit to the board an annual budget for internal operating purposes for the board's approval. The administrator also shall, separately from the budget the industrial commission submits , prepare and submit to the director of budget and management a budget for each biennium. The budgets submitted to the board and the director shall include estimates of the costs and necessary expenditures of the bureau in the discharge of any duty imposed by law.

(11) As promptly as possible in the course of efficient administration, decentralize and relocate such of the personnel and activities of the bureau as is appropriate to the end that the receipt, investigation, determination, and payment of claims may be undertaken at or near the place of injury or the residence of the claimant and for that purpose establish regional offices, in such places as the administrator considers proper, capable of discharging as many of the functions of the bureau as is practicable so as to promote prompt and efficient administration in the processing of claims. All active and inactive lost-time claims files shall be held at the service office responsible for the claim. A claimant, at the claimant's request, shall be provided with information by telephone as to the location of the file pertaining to the claimant's claim. The administrator shall ensure that all service office employees report directly to the director for their service office.

(12) Provide a written binder on new coverage where the administrator considers it to be in the best interest of the risk. The administrator, or any other person authorized by the administrator, shall grant the binder upon submission of a request for coverage by the employer. A binder is effective for a period of thirty days from date of issuance and is nonrenewable. Payroll reports and premium charges shall coincide with the effective date of the binder.

(13) Set standards for the reasonable and maximum handling time of claims payment functions, ensure, by rules, the impartial and prompt treatment of all claims and employer risk accounts, and establish a secure, accurate method of time stamping all incoming mail and documents hand delivered to bureau employees.

(14) Ensure that all employees of the bureau follow the orders and rules of the commission as such orders and rules relate to the commission's overall adjudicatory policy-making and management duties under this chapter and Chapters 4123., 4127., and 4131. of the Revised Code.

(15) Manage and operate a data processing system with a common data base for the use of both the bureau and the commission and, in consultation with the commission, using electronic data processing equipment, shall develop a claims tracking system that is sufficient to monitor the status of a claim at any time and that lists appeals that have been filed and orders or determinations that have been issued pursuant to section 4123.511 or 4123.512 of the Revised Code, including the dates of such filings and issuances.

(16) Establish and maintain a medical section within the bureau. The medical section shall do all of the following:

(a) Assist the administrator in establishing standard medical fees, approving medical procedures, and determining eligibility and reasonableness of the compensation payments for medical, hospital, and nursing services, and in establishing guidelines for payment policies which recognize usual, customary, and reasonable methods of payment for covered services;

(b) Provide a resource to respond to questions from claims examiners for employees of the bureau;

(c) Audit fee bill payments;

(d) Implement a program to utilize, to the maximum extent possible, electronic data processing equipment for storage of information to facilitate authorizations of compensation payments for medical, hospital, drug, and nursing services;

(e) Perform other duties assigned to it by the administrator.

(17) Appoint, as the administrator determines necessary, panels to review and advise the administrator on disputes arising over a determination that a health care service or supply provided to a claimant is not covered under this chapter or Chapter 4123., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code or is medically unnecessary. If an individual health care provider is involved in the dispute, the panel shall consist of individuals licensed pursuant to the same section of the Revised Code as such health care provider.

(18) Pursuant to section 4123.65 of the Revised Code, approve applications for the final settlement of claims for compensation or benefits under this chapter and Chapters 4123., 4127., and 4131. of the Revised Code as the administrator determines appropriate, except in regard to the applications of self-insuring employers and their employees.

(19) Comply with section 3517.13 of the Revised Code, and except in regard to contracts entered into pursuant to the authority contained in section 4121.44 of the Revised Code, comply with the competitive bidding procedures set forth in the Revised Code for all contracts into which the administrator enters provided that those contracts fall within the type of contracts and dollar amounts specified in the Revised Code for competitive bidding and further provided that those contracts are not otherwise specifically exempt from the competitive bidding procedures contained in the Revised Code.

(20) Adopt, with the advice and consent of the board, rules for the operation of the bureau.

(21) Prepare and submit to the board information the administrator considers pertinent or the board requires, together with the administrator's recommendations, in the form of administrative rules, for the advice and consent of the board, for the health partnership program and the qualified health plan system, as provided in sections 4121.44 , 4121.441 , and 4121.442 of the Revised Code.

(C) The administrator, with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint a chief operating officer who has a minimum of five years of experience in the field of workers' compensation insurance or in another similar insurance industry if the administrator does not possess such experience. The chief operating officer shall not commence the chief operating officer's duties until after the senate consents to the chief operating officer's appointment. The chief operating officer shall serve in the unclassified civil service of the state.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.39, SB 171, §1, eff. 6/30/2011.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 6/30/2011.

Effective Date: 08-01-2003; 06-21-2005; 09-09-2005; 2006 HB699 03-29-2007; 2007 HB100 09-10-2007; 2008 HB79 01-06-2009