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Industry Insights

Paduda: Lots Going On in Workers' Comp

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It's been a very busy week, indeed. Here’s what happened.

Joe Paduda

Joe Paduda

MedRisk’s management changes

Longtime CEO Mike Ryan has stepped up to executive chair, and President Ken Martino is moving up to CEO. Mike has led the organization as president for more than seven years. Founder and Chair Shelley Boyce named Ryan CEO several years ago. I know Shelley, Ken and Mike very well.

MedRisk’s annual growth has averaged over 20% for the last decade. The company now employs 1,200 people, all located here in the U.S.

There’s no question MedRisk, perhaps the most successful company in the work comp services sector, is in very good hands. (Disclosure: MedRisk is a Health Strategy Associates consulting client.)

Mental health in the workplace

Great take on the big increase in workplace stress from HomeCare Connect’s Teresa Williams. Teresa notes that the percentage of adults with depression or anxiety has tripled over the last year. 

Her piece has helpful recommendations that employers:

  • List what they are doing to protect employees.
  • Be honest and straightforward about the employer’s financial situation.
  • Refer workers to trusted sources for information on COVID — NOT YouTube videos from random cranks.
  • Keep in mind that younger workers seem more vulnerable to stress than we older folks.

Progress in bringing science to claims handling

Congratulations to Gallagher Bassett’s Jeffrey Austin White and colleagues. GB’s Treatment Quality Index (TQI) was named Insurtech Initiative of the Year. The index, coupled with Clinical Guidance, identifies which claims would benefit from what type of clinical attention, and when to apply it.

There’s a lot of really good thinking behind TQI. It addresses one of the toughest challenges faced by claims handlers: Innovate, or else.

Coincidentally, GB’s Gary Anderberg penned a terrific piece on what we have learned and can learn from COVID. One of his five takeaways:

COVID has cast a strong light on the fact that we always act on imperfect, half-developed information, that all decisions are provisional, that updating your data constantly and rigorously is not a luxury.

(GB is not an HSA client.)

Gary’s piece came the same day the Harvard Business Review published a thought-provoking article on innovation, noting that one huge retailer spent 18 months developing and implementing curbside pickup. This went pretty much nowhere until COVID.

Substitute “telemedicine” for “curbside pickup” and “workers’ comp insurer” for “retailer,” and you will learn a lot about the cost of not innovating.

What does this mean for you?

Great companies succeed by delivering the service customers don’t even know they want.

Joseph Paduda is co-owner of CompPharma, a consulting firm focused on improving pharmacy programs in workers’ compensation. This column is republished with his permission from his Managed Care Matters blog.

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