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Published: Saturday, 12/10/2005

BWC loses hospital-payment ruling

BLADE STAFF

COLUMBUS - A Franklin County Court ruled yesterday that the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation improperly adjusted hospital reimbursement policies in response to criticism that the bureau overpaid health- care providers.

The Ohio Hospital Association sued the bureau, after the state agency unveiled plans in October to lower its repayment rates. A recent study by Service Employees International Union District 1199 claimed that the bureau overpaid for the treatment of injured workers.

Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Schneider said that the bureau should have arranged for a hearing involving all the affected parties and received approval from a legislative rules committee before amending its reimbursement policies.

"Ohio hospitals are compelled to challenge any effort to reduce payments for the care they provide because all of us are affected when shrinking payments produce longer wait times for care or result in some services being lost," said James R. Castle, OHA president and CEO.

Bureau spokesman Jeremy Jackson said the state agency is appealing the decision.



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