Lima BWC worker found in violation

First Posted: 4/16/2014

LIMA — Two workers at the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation office could face charges after an internal investigation found wrongful acts had been committed.

On Oct. 17, Ohio Inspector General Randall Meyer's office was notified by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation alleging that Lima Claims Representative Lou Ann Lauck in the Lima office had accessed her son-in-law's claim file on Aug. 29 and Oct. 4.

The agency provided a log report confirming Lauck accessed her son-in-law's claim using the agency's internal claim computer system. The investigation was initiated by Meyer's office Oct. 18 and issued its report April 16. The report has been forwarded to Allen County Prosecutor Juergen Waldick and city of Lima Law Director Tony Geiger for consideration of charges against Lauck and her supervisor, Lynn Benny.

On Nov. 14, Injury Management Supervisor Tim Clark in Cincinnati reported that an injured worker called to complain about Claim Service Specialist Daren Booker. Clark said the injured worker told him he was being “jerked around” and that his mother-in-law worked in the Lima Service Office.

The unidentified claimant said, “When you got a family member who works there that you can ask questions of about your claim you know when somebody's jerking you around.”

Clark said the injured worker told him his mother-in-law had read the physician's review and told him that the issue would have to be resolved through a hearing at the Industrial Commission. After telling the injured worker he would review the claim file and would call him back, Clark said he asked the injured worker for his mother-in-law's name. The injured worker replied his mother-in-law was Lou Ann Lauck.

Clark contacted Benny and explained his conversation with the injured worker. Clark followed up his phone call to Benny with an email and sent a copy of the email to office managers in Lima and Cincinnati.

Lauck told Lima Manager Winnie Warren and Benny she had not accessed her son-in-law's claim file, but an investigation into her computer logs showed she had accessed the personnel files on the two dates. Lauck later admitted to accessing the file to see if the claim had been filed, accessing the file to see if the physician review had been received, and printing off the physician review.

The agency's policy requires that workers notify superiors if a relative has submitted a claim so the claims can be forwarded to the Special Claims Department, which was not done.

According to the OIG report, accessing the report was not allowed. Accordingly, the OIG found there was reasonable cause to believe wrongful acts or omissions occurred.

Allen County Prosecutor Juergen Waldick said he had been notified that the concluded report would be forthcoming but he had not received it yet for review on Wednesday.

The OIG made the following recommendations concerning their investigation:

•That the conduct of Lauck and Benny be reviewed to determine whether administrative action was needed.

•Determining if Lauck required remedial training for properly handling confidential personal information and if Lauck and Benny needed additional training when special claims should be notified.

•Determining if refresher training was needed to employees on accessing personal information and what procedures to follow when logging in to computers.

•Determining if training was needed for employees on determining when to transfer claims to other offices.

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