Commonwealth Medicine to become third-party administrator in October
By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
Sept. 14, 2021 – OPERS offers disability benefits to qualifying members when unexpected health issues and accidents happen.
Members of the OPERS Traditional and Combined plans may apply for disability benefits if they have at least five years of contributing service credit. Law enforcement members are immediately eligible for disability benefits for any on-duty illness or injury.
A key component of our disability plan is the OPERS Rehabilitative Services Program, which helps disability recipients return to wellness. Program participants partner with a clinical nurse case manager who works with participants to map out a plan for recovery. Participants also receive vocational assistance to help with their self-directed job search efforts
OPERS created the program in 2014 for state and local members, and since then, it’s proven to be of great value to those receiving a disability benefit.
We contract with an outside company to administer the program, and beginning Oct. 28, that company will be Commonwealth Medicine, the consulting and operations division of the UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester, Mass. It is known for its expertise in providing comprehensive rehabilitative services and case management.
Commonwealth Medicine has clinical nurse case managers with expertise in supporting disabled individuals by conducting clinical assessments, creating personalized case management plans, and providing ongoing coaching and support. All those services are provided over the telephone.
By actively participating in the Rehabilitative Services Program and complying with their case management and treatment plans, disability recipients can extend the leave of absence from their last public employer to five years, from three years. Also, their continued eligibility for a disability benefit is evaluated based on their last public employment position, not any position, for an additional two years while they remain active in the program.