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For immediate release: Oct. 4, 2017

BWC captures industry awards

Pharmacy program wins for innovation, opioid work; staffer wins for leadership


COLUMBUS - The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) collected two international awards for its innovative response to the opioid epidemic and for an employee regarded as an up-and-comer in the work comp industry.

The International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) named BWC's pharmacy department the winner of its second annual Innovation Award for its contest entry, "Saving Lives - Building a Model Pharmacy Program Amid a Deadly Epidemic."

"We commend you and your colleagues for finding solutions to reduce harm and aid recovery from occupational injuries and illnesses," said Jennifer Wolf Horejsh, IAIABC'S executive director. "The judging panel had a challenging task selecting the award recipient but was impressed by your innovation and outcomes."

"Saving Lives" summarizes BWC's work since 2011 to reduce opioid abuse and excessive prescribing of the painkillers while building a pharmacy program that's recognized as a leader in the industry today. Led by former Pharmacy Director John Hanna, the department found 8,029 injured workers dependent on opioids in 2011 and reduced that number by nearly half to 4,101 by the end of 2016. (For an infographic explaining the effort, click here.)

"I'm delighted by this award and proud of our entire department, but the real satisfaction is seeing fewer and fewer injured workers at risk for overdose and death. That's what this is all about," said Hanna, who retired last Friday after eight years with BWC.

Hosting its annual convention in Portland, Oregon, this week, IAIABC also named the bureau's Kendra DePaul one of 11 NexGen award winners from across the country. Short for Next Generation, the award recognizes talented new leaders in workers' compensation who are making their mark. DePaul won for her work in building and managing BWC's Other States Coverage program, which insures Ohio employers when they're working outside Ohio.

"This award is really a tribute to the leadership here and the coworkers who have guided me along the way," said DePaul, who joined BWC in 2012 as an assistant to former Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer.

BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison said the awards reflect BWC's commitment to being a world-class workers' compensation carrier.

"I couldn't be prouder," Morrison said. "These awards demonstrate what I tell people all over Ohio - BWC is loaded with talented people who represent the best in public service."

As winners, DePaul and pharmacy clinical operations manager Nick Trego attended the conference and addressed audiences about their work. In addition, BWC will be featured in the October issue of IAIABC's Perspectives magazine.

A photo of Hanna, a Hillsboro resident, can be found here. A photo of DePaul, a Norwalk, Ohio, native who lives in Columbus today, can be found here. Her title is Other States Coverage Manager.

Media Contacts:

Melissa Vince, 614-466-2956 or 614-202-2329, melissa.vince@bwc.state.oh.us

Tony Gottschlich, 614-644-4940 or 614-296-1734, anthony.gottschlich@bwc.state.oh.us

Established in 1912, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation provides workers' compensation insurance to 244,000 public and private Ohio employers. With nearly 1,900 employees and assets of approximately $27 billion, BWC is the largest state-run insurance system in the United States. Our mission is to protect Ohio's workers and employers through the prevention, care and management of workplace injuries and illnesses at fair rates. For more, visit www.bwc.ohio.gov.

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