Prioritizing an individual’s overall health and well-being can improve injured worker satisfaction while lowering litigation rates, medical costs and claim duration. This session at the RIMS 2019 Annual Conference & Exhibition examined potential advantages of this approach and the results from organizations who have successfully implemented such programs.
- Darin Hampton, Occupational Care and Recovery Coordinator, International Paper
- Anas Al-Hamwi, Senior Director, Health & Safety and Injury Management, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
- Kathryn Tazic, Managing Director Client Services, Sedgwick (moderator)
Employers have put forth some incredible new ideas for employee advocacy in recent years. Each panelist shared their story.
International Paper funded a position with their TPA called an Employee Advocate. This person is the first and most-frequent point of contact for the injured workers. No one else in the process gets to communicate with the Employee Advocate except the employee. This person helps alleviate fear by explaining medical processes and terms and has also been very active in helping with employee wellness programs like smoking cessation.
This new model provided positive results, which got senior leadership on board with their efforts. Results also significantly improved relations with union officials, who are now convinced that the company is doing its best for employees.
One thing they learned throughout this process is that constant training in the field is necessary so that new employees know and follow the process. It’s important to keep up with turnover. They also learned to break down silos and keep constant communication with other departments like Human Resources.
Walgreens instills a culture that values care for each team member and found that the economics of compassion is very real. They surveyed employees to determine what they could do better and used the feedback to create a proactive approach to workers’ compensation. They restructured so that all stakeholders can more easily work together to efficiently triage care for the injured worker so that they feel cared for and receive the help they need to heal and get back to work. They also pay for and provide transportation for injured employees, making care more convenient and removing excuses.
After years in the making, the program provided great metrics related to claims frequency, absence management and return to work. They continue to work to create a workers’ comp center of excellence within the organization and are exploring various technology, rethinking how and what they are communicating, to further improve their program.