Monday, September 16th, 2013

Customer Highlight: Forest Hills goes Self-Insured with PublicSchoolWORKS

Posted by Rachael Ballard Filed under: Compliance, OSHA, Workers' Comp

Choosing between using an insurance provider or being self-insured was one of the big decisions Forest Hills School District (FHSD) in Cincinnati, OH, was considering in 2010. While deciding to go self-insured can be a scary endeavor for school administrators, using an effective safety management system provides a safety net. FHSD was looking to save money by going self-insured, but needed the safety net of to ensure their entire safety program was being implemented, managed and sustained, and they did so with PublicSchoolWORKS.

To begin the process, FHSD began evaluating two parts of its safety program: staff training and accident management. The district had implemented an online training service several years before that it had received for free; however, the service did not meet the district’s needs for safety or compliance. Additionally, this program did not offer an accident management mechanism – a service the district needed. FHSD was using a paper- and pen-based reporting process, resulting in a waiting pattern for the claim to be processed and zero accountability for whoever processed or investigated the claim.

Based on these evaluations, FHSD knew the free staff training service would not be enough to meet the requirements of an effective safety program for a self-insured district. To serve its need for compliance, FHSD decided to switch to PublicSchoolWORKS in December of 2011.

With PublicSchoolWORKS’ EmployeeSafe Suite, FHSD was able to effectively implement its safety program. The online accident reporting and training systems auto-notify administrators via email when actions need to be completed in order to stay in compliance with mandates. Additionally, the EmployeeSafe Suite automatically produces forms required by the Public Employment Risk Reduction Program (PERRP) to keep FHSD in compliance with state workers’ compensation mandates.

The move to being self-insured, although considered a leap of faith by some, was a well-planned and executed venture for FHSD. The district is able to more swiftly make necessary safety changes and stay on top of compliance. After just one year of implementation, the district saved $211,000 in insurance costs.

“The connectivity PublicSchoolWORKS provides is huge,” said Rick Toepfer, treasurer at FHSD. “The implementation paid for itself and then some. It is managing processes for us and was worth the money because we feel much more in control of what is happening in our administrative processes. It was results driven – it had to work and it did.”

To learn more about how your district can use PublicSchoolWORKS to go self-insured, email

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