COVID-19 & Ohio: New ODJFS Public/private Partnership Team
Feb. 4, 2021
Today, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ohio is among the top five states for delivering COVID-19 vaccine doses to long-term care facility residents. As a result of this aggressive effort to vaccinate those in long-term care, Ohio is beginning to see a drop in cases. Pfizer has notified Ohio that they believe they will increase their shipment of vaccine by 40 percent around mid-to-late February. Shipments could additionally increase even more by the end of March. Pfizer is currently shipping approximately 73,000 doses to Ohio per week. Meanwhile, Moderna doses have increased from 73,200 two weeks ago to 105,600 doses that are expected next week.
Ohio was one of the first states to draw unused doses from the long-term care program, and those 77,000 extra doses are being delivered this week to select CVS and Walgreens pharmacies.
DeWine announced the formation of a new Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Public-private Partnership Team to improve Ohioans’ experiences with the unemployment system.
Members of the team will include highly-skilled experts, most of whom are on loan from some of Ohio’s top banking and insurance companies:
- Fifth Third Bank
- Western & Southern Financial Group
- Encova Insurance
Pat Tiberi, president and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable, worked with business leaders to identify the best talent for the partnership team who have experience in large organizations’ call centers, claims processes, and fraud detection.
"These experts will provide recommendations and solutions to improve the call center, claims process, and fraud detection efforts in the state unemployment system," said DeWine. "They’ll examine short-term and long-term improvements. Our goal is quick action while keeping an eye on the long-term best processes going forward, and we will continue working to improve the unemployment system so that eligible Ohioans in need can receive the financial assistance they are counting on during this pandemic."
The team currently has around 16 members but is expected to grow.
This week, Ohio has paid out nearly $100 million to more than 110,000 Ohioans receiving traditional unemployment. This represents some extended weeks of benefits plus an additional $300 a week, which were included with the new federal aid. Starting this Saturday, more than 155,000 Ohioans will also start seeing benefits from this new federal aid package. This includes Ohioans who recently lost a job as a result of the pandemic as well as Ohioans who continue to be impacted due to the pandemic.
By the last week in February, all Ohioans impacted by unemployment will have the ability to claim all the weeks and supplements available under the law and receive the benefits they are owed.
DeWine also commented on Ohio's $24.7 million settlement with McKinsey & Co. for its role in fueling the opioid crisis. The settlement is part of a $573 million national settlement encompassing 47 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Settlement funds will be distributed as part of the OneOhio plan which focuses funding to programs that address prevention, treatment, and long-term recovery as well as criminal justice and public awareness costs that promote the overall health and well-being of Ohioans.
Ohio was one of the first states to file lawsuits against the opioid manufacturers and distributers that pushed millions of addictive pills into Ohio. Last year, the state developed the OneOhio partnership with Ohio townships, villages, cities, and counties that filed suit against these same companies.
"Although McKinsey was not a part of the lawsuits that brought Ohio together under the OneOhio plan, I am pleased that Attorney General Dave Yost has decided to leverage this recent settlement to start the work of OneOhio and begin the development of a statewide foundation," added DeWine. "We remain committed to holding these drug manufacturers and distributors accountable. When the settlements for those cases happen, Ohio will be ready to implement the necessary funding, programs, and services for Ohio’s communities."