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For immediate release: April 14, 2017

BWC Pharmacy Director receives Governor's Award for Employee Excellence

Honor recognizes Johnnie Hanna's efforts to build modern pharmacy program, curb opioid addiction

COLUMBUS - Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Pharmacy Director Johnnie Hanna received the Governor's Award for Employee Excellence today for building a model pharmacy program at BWC and for his efforts to help injured workers avoid opioid addiction, a deadly disease ravaging communities across Ohio and the nation.

In introducing Hanna at a private Statehouse ceremony this morning, BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison credited the veteran pharmacist and his team for initiatives that have lowered BWC drug costs by $46 million over the last seven years and reduced opioid doses by 18.9 million to nearly half their 2011 levels.

"Under Johnnie's leadership, our pharmacy team is showing what it means to be world-class," said Morrison. "Their efforts, which are receiving national attention, help improve the lives of those we serve by focusing on health and recovery and reducing the likelihood of deadly addiction."

Hanna said he was surprised and humbled by the award while deflecting credit to his team.

"All of us work hard every day to do right by injured workers so they can recover and get back to work without the added burden of a crippling addiction," he said.

Hanna joined BWC in May 2009 after a career working in the nonprofit health care sector and a four-year term on the State Board of Pharmacy in the 1990s. He is credited with building BWC's modern pharmacy department and crafting measures designed to mitigate the potential for opioid addiction or dependence. A rule adopted last year by the BWC Board of Directors, for instance, requires BWC doctors to a use a set of best practices when prescribing painkillers or risk losing their BWC certification. The rule also calls for BWC to cover addiction services for opioid dependence for up to 18 months when it's determined the dependence resulted from the use of opioids covered by the agency.

The Governor's Award for Employee Excellence is awarded to individuals and groups of state employees for work-related achievements that have made a significant impact on the general public or in the life, safety or property of others, as well as enhanced the state's image, improved government functions and saved money or increased revenues.

Out of 34 nominations, four finalists were chosen. The other finalists include Chad M. Garner, director of the state pharmacy board's Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS), a tool that tracks the dispensing of controlled prescription drugs to patients; a group of nine employees with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and a group of 11 employees with the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Hanna and his wife of 44 years, Connie, live in Hillsboro, a small city about 90-minutes southwest of Columbus. A photo of Hanna can be found here.

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