On June 3, 2020, the Ohio Industrial Commission unanimously voted to place all issues referred for adjudication on the active telephonic hearing docket. Since March, the Industrial Commission has conducted all hearings by phone due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initially, the commission heard only claim allowances and certain compensation issues telephonically. Following the recent vote, the hearing docket will expand to include treatment issues. According to Tom Connor, the Director of Adjudications, approximately 76% of the issues not currently docketed are treatment issues. The addition of treatment issues to the active telephonic hearing docket, should increase hearing volumes.

During the meeting, Tom Connor confirmed that hearing officers are scheduled for two hearings per hour, six hours per day, three days a week, except for permanent partial disability (PPD) issues, which are docketed for six hearings per hour. Current gaps in the schedule allow additional issues to be added to the docket. Accordingly, hearing officers’ schedules will remain unchanged.

Moving forward, “priority” issues, such as claim allowances and temporary total disability, will continue to be identified and docketed manually for hearings. The remaining issues will be docketed by the Industrial Commission’s automatic docketing system. If all goes well, automatic docketing of all issues for adjudication will resume in the next few weeks.

We continue to monitor changes announced by Industrial Commission during the pandemic.

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