• LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Digg
  • RSS
  • Email
  • Print

keywestfl-2399852-hurricane-blog$1.9 billon. That is the estimated dollar amount the recent historic floods in Houston Texas will cost to return life and business back to normal according to the Houston Business Journal. Now almost every major weather service is reporting that, due to weather-related pattern shifts such as La Niña, the 2016 hurricane season may be more active than any over the past three years. Experts at AccuWeather warn that those living along the Atlantic coast should be vigilant, as tropical storms Bonnie and Colin have already appeared early in the Atlantic hurricane season, which typically spans from June through November. Historically, seasons which have tropical storm activity during the months of May, June and July have a higher likelihood of becoming normal or above-normal throughout the season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a 70% likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms, of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes.

It only takes one storm to create a disaster for your business, regardless of whether storm activity levels are high or low. Businesses in coastal and near-coastal regions should prepare and take several precautions every hurricane season. Here are a few considerations:

  1. Building damage related to tropical storms can be caused by high wind, debris, wind-driven heavy rain, storm surges and flooding. Determining the initial cause of damage to the property can be critical during the post-damage assessment period. Fire, arson and looting are unfortunately not uncommon after hurricanes when properties are most vulnerable.
  2. Marine equipment and offshore operations are common to coastal industries and damage to barges, cargo and offshore structures can be extensive in the aftermath of a major tropical storm. Adjusters skilled in marine operations, including surveying and adjusting to recovery and loss control, are vital to ensure that damages are accurately captured to begin the process of recovery.
  3. After a hurricane, assessing the immense scope of loss to business and personal contents within a structure can be overwhelming to both the insured and the adjuster. Personal property and business property losses require the same attention to detail as a building claim, especially when events such as looting are involved. An accurate inventory protects businesses against loss, while also avoiding potential inflation of loss. The level of thoroughness needed for content adjusting is a different skillset than that required for building adjusting.
  4. The Atlantic hurricane season not only wreaks havoc in U.S. coastal cities, but also those of islands in the Caribbean, as well as in Mexico. Of note, NOAA also predicts a normal or above-normal forecast for the eastern Pacific and central Pacific regions. Widespread damage throughout a multi-national region requires not only a fast, experienced response – it also requires professionals who have a complete understanding and expertise in local markets and conditions which may differ from those in the mainland U.S.

Catastrophe team adjusters are experts in assessing and handling all types of disasters, whether they are natural or man-made, with the goal of making everything right and stable again. While we still can’t prevent storms or know for sure what Mother Nature has in store for 2016, you can take action now to be prepared should your business or property be impacted by a hurricane or other major weather event this year. Benjamin Franklin said it simple and best, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Please feel free to share your ideas and questions with us; the Vericlaim Catastrophe Response Team is available to help meet the needs of your organization.

John Hinz, AIC, Vice President
Vericlaim, a Sedgwick company

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Digg
  • RSS
  • Email
  • Print

TOneOrlandohe recent tragic events in Orlando, Florida—where 49 people lost their lives and dozens more were wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history—weigh heavily on our hearts and minds. For Sedgwick’s 450-plus colleagues in the greater Orlando area, the impact of the attack hits much closer to home.

As we all struggle to comprehend the scope of the losses for everyone affected, it has been inspiring to see the outpouring of support from around the world for the city of Orlando and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, with which many of the victims identified.

During this difficult time, I have thought a lot about Sedgwick’s commitment to taking care of people because caring counts. At the heart of our business, we intervene in people’s lives when the unexpected occurs and do our best to make things right. While we cannot bring the 49 fallen victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting home, we can support their loved ones and help those injured in the attack to rebuild their lives. To that end, Sedgwick is honored to donate $25,000 to the OneOrlando Fund.

Given our industry’s rich history of charitable giving, it’s no surprise how many Sedgwick colleagues, customers and friends have raised their hands and opened their hearts to help those affected by this tragedy. I encourage anyone still looking for a meaningful way to get involved to join Sedgwick in supporting the OneOrlando Fund.

Shortly after I announced our gift to Sedgwick’s 13,000 colleagues earlier today, I received a heartfelt note from one of our claims representatives in California. He wrote:

“I was almost in tears reading about this charitable donation. The entire LGBT community has been affected by this tragedy. I am so proud to be a part of a company that stands by our community under these horrific circumstances. Thank you so much for helping these families; it is generosity like this from our allies that will help us get through this and give us strength to not cower in fear, but instead stand and be proud of who we are. I have never been happier to work for Sedgwick and hope for a long career with the company.”

Sedgwick has never been prouder to lend a helping hand. It is colleagues like these who, day in and day out, help us demonstrate how caring counts.

Dave North, president and CEO, Sedgwick

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Digg
  • RSS
  • Email
  • Print

CHS_SBN_web-sponsor-thumbnail_050216Many within the workers’ compensation industry know that Ohio’s system is unique. In fact, even here at Sedgwick, we frequently hear, “that’s a state of Ohio situation.” The good news is that Sedgwick’s Ohio team of nearly 400 colleagues within the CompManagement Partner Companies fully understands the unique nuances within the Ohio market.

First off, it’s a monopolistic state where the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is the insurance carrier for more than 225,000 employers in the state fund. About two-thirds of Ohio’s workforce is covered by BWC and the remainder is covered through self-insured programs administered by large employers.

It is also unique in that managed care services are provided directly by 15 different managed care organizations (MCOs) where 100,000 new injuries and 2.5 million bills are processed each year; and 300,000 active claims are being managed at any point in time.

While employers in Ohio contract individually and directly with third party administrators for workers’ compensation claims administration, a managed care organization (MCO) has just one contract, which is with BWC. MCOs focus on providing return-to-work and managed care services to help injured employees get back on the job as quickly and safely as possible.

Perhaps the most distinctive aspect for Ohio employers is the MCO selection process. They can only change MCOs during a short, four-week period during the month of May every other year. The most recent open enrollment period took place last month and the transition for employers that selected a new MCO will occur in early July.

For the 2016 open enrollment period, we are proud to say that our Ohio MCO, CompManagement Health Systems (CHS), led the industry in both the net premium increase and the number of new claims:

  • Gained more than $19 million in net premium (more than 70% better than our nearest competitor)
  • Added over 7,000 new claims

MCOs that provide medical management with a return-to-work focus can help ensure timely and cost-effective claim resolution. They can also offer additional advantages for employers and injured employees by consistently examining treatment trends and scrutinizing medical expenses.

With 19 years of experience, CHS has the expertise to help clients handle the complex medical issues involved in Ohio workers’ compensation claims. We help our customers reduce lost time and medical costs – and ultimately gain more control over their premiums.

We would like to hear from you and answer any questions you might have regarding the nuances of the workers’ compensation and managed care process for state fund employers in Ohio. Please feel free to leave your questions or comments here.

 

Quinn Guist, President, CH

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Digg
  • RSS
  • Email
  • Print

A_Scandal_in_Bohemia-10The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge (1).  Its origin is thought to be over 1000 years old and it is still used today to solve problems.

Forensic experts servicing the insurance industry are required to utilize a reliable methodology to discover the cause of claim. Many experts use the scientific method, which is regularly broken down into the following seven-step process:

  1. Recognize the need: In this initial step of the scientific method, the problem is identified. Generally speaking, a property or casualty event has occurred, and its root cause needs to be determined so responsibility can be established and similar incidents can be prevented.
  2. Define the problem: This second step is where an action plan is developed to remedy the problem. Simply put, an investigation commences with planned steps needed to solve the established problem.
  3. Collect data: In the third step, data is collected. It is critical here that all available data be collected prior to the data analyzation and hypothesis development.  Any premature analyzation and hypothesis development could bias the end result. As described by Sherlock Holmes in A Scandal in Bohemia,”It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.  Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”  This is why securing expert forensics is important for your needs. Experience and commitment to exploring all the facts will result in better outcomes in the long run.
  4. Analyze the data: Once all the available data has been collected, the fourth step can begin. During this step the collected data is cognitively analyzed using the education, training, experience and expertise of the team doing the analyzation. Having competent experts in the required field who can understand the value of the collected data prior to forming hypotheses is crucial. It is important that during this critical step of the scientific method that only facts and evidence are considered and that no presumptions or speculation be included.
  5. Develop a hypothesis: During the fifth step, the known facts and evidence are considered to develop potential hypotheses. It is not uncommon for multiple hypotheses to be considered initially, each with their own measure of possibility.  At this point, having all of the data available is critical for all options to be established for consideration.
  6. Test the hypotheses: In the sixth step, the hypotheses developed each have to be considered against all of the known facts and evidence. Physical testing can also be done to gain additional data for consideration to support or exclude development of one or more hypotheses.  Sometimes this testing can be as simple as setting fire to a material to confirm that it is combustible and will support propagation of a fire.  Any hypothesis that cannot be supported by the known facts and evidence is invalid and must be discarded.
  7. Select the final hypothesis: The seventh and final step occurs when all hypotheses have been evaluated and tested. Often only a single hypothesis remains and is identified as the root cause of an event.  There are occasions, however, when two or more hypotheses cannot be completely excluded.  When this occurs, a measure of probability is required to establish if any of the remaining hypotheses are more likely to be the cause than the others.

Forensic experts are tasked with recreating events and answering questions about why they occurred.  The team at Unified has in depth experience providing fire and forensic engineering investigation services and understands the value that the scientific method brings to the overall process.

Please feel free to share your examples of how using, or possibly not using, the above steps resulted in the success or failure of an investigation.

Unified provides forensic investigation services to insurance carriers, corporations and public entities. What questions can we help you with regarding forensic investigations for your organization?

Michael Reynolds, IAAI-CFI, FCLS   |   Director of Total Performance
Unified Investigations & Sciences, Inc., a Sedgwick company

  1. Goldhaber & Martin, “Photon and garaviton mass limits”
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Digg
  • RSS
  • Email
  • Print

tech-and-wcNew technology is reshaping the world in which we live. It takes the form of self-driving cars, virtual reality and 3-dimensional (3D) printers. Once thought to be cold and impersonal, technology is redefining our expectations and how we view a quality customer experience. It is no surprise that new technologies are also reshaping workers’ compensation as we know it. Soon, it will be difficult to remember a time when mobile apps, telemedicine and artificial intelligence were not part of the workers’ compensation claims process. And, it’s not hard to imagine there are many more advancements to come.

The technology currently being used and the prototypes soon to hit the market are remarkable. As an example, technology is a dominant component underlying the advocacy movement in the claims world. As service providers work diligently to improve an injured worker’s experience and alleviate much of the accompanying uncertainty, technology is being used to provide information to injured workers more quickly and conveniently.

What technologies are making an impact on workers’ compensation – today and tomorrow?

Smart technology
Today
: Smartphones, tablets and mobile devices allow injured workers to be more empowered in the claims process than ever, capable of checking claim status and payment information in real time, corresponding and meeting virtually with examiners and nurse case managers, submitting important documents and photos, even reporting their own claims – all according to their own preferences using tools like mobile applications, messaging and chat platforms.
Tomorrow: Gamification of the claims experience through self-service applications will encourage and empower employees to take a more active role in their recovery and return to work. With the rise in wearable devices and connected health initiatives, application programming interfaces (APIs) will begin to be integrated into mobile self-service tools to support injured workers within the workers’ compensation system. First fill pharmacy cards will become part of a person’s digital wallet, thereby increasing convenience and satisfaction for workers’ compensation patients needing prescription drugs.

Automated correspondence
Today
: Automated correspondence and rules engines can be engaged by employers and claims administrators to direct workflow and send real-time notifications via text or email when triggered by specific claim events. The efficiencies achieved allow organizations to direct additional resources where they will have the most impact – supporting the injured worker – while having the added benefit of potentially lowering costs, improving productivity and achieving higher levels of employee satisfaction.
Tomorrow: Techniques such as automated empathy have the opportunity to automate the experience by motivating the employee through familiar, text-like interaction. These technologies will be driven by artificial intelligence rooted in behavioral patterns and can also reduce the workload of busy claims professionals.

Paperless solutions
Today
: Electronic signatures eliminate stacks of paper forms and support faster settlements and claim acknowledgements. Injured workers can sign up for direct deposit through mobile applications. Biometric authentication that simplifies the way employees sign up for and interact with self-service tools is becoming more refined; consider, for example, secure thumbprint recognition features integrated with the latest smartphones. These technologies foster more customized and immediate access for injured workers during what can be an unsettling and stressful time.
Tomorrow: Paper and electronic correspondence containing lengthy, written explanations will be replaced by online video platforms where claim concepts can be clearly demonstrated and explained. Personal avatars, virtual assistants and chat capabilities will also increase in popularity and support more holistically the advocacy of the person.

Telepresence and videoconferencing
Today: For claim reviews, meetings and discussions among employers, claims professionals, case nurses, attorneys and others in remote office locations, today’s technologies are making communication easier. With the explosion of social media, similar newsfeed-style interactions are being developed in the claim process allowing real-time and interactive exchange between all involved parties.
Tomorrow: Telephonic advocacy outreach will be replaced with video telepresence and allow for more personable and empathetic interactions. Telehealth solutions will more comprehensively support nurse case management and clinical triage, adding more efficiency to the system.

Analytics
Today
: In recent years, the industry has progressed from the application of descriptive to predictive and now to prescriptive analytics. In addition to common claim variables, predictive analysis can leverage text-mining techniques in examiner notes and loss descriptions. This enables claims professionals to identify higher-cost claims by surfacing details such as comorbidities, opioid usage or other significant elements not readily documented in a field.
Tomorrow: Prescriptive analytics allow companies to further harness the power of big data, providing greater insight into actions needed to produce the best result for an injured worker, and then actually prescribing the intervention required. For example, new technologies allow the use of machine or deep learning techniques to prescribe actionable measures in response to the data analyzed, as we can see illustrated by the example of self-driving cars.

As we look toward the future, emerging technology advancements could create even more dramatic shifts in the workers’ compensation landscape. Imagine widespread use of wearable tech, with sensors embedded into everyday items such as clothing, shoes and hats, designed to support and track injury recovery. For injured employees requiring surgery for knee, hip or possibly even skin replacement, 3D scanners and printers could provide a more personalized approach and a faster recovery process than current practices. Safety programs could captivate the attention of workers as they are delivered using virtual, augmented or mixed reality techniques.

Now is an exciting time for the industry. Both employers and employees are capitalizing on the wave of technological change with an eye toward improving the efficiency of the entire system. However, at the center of these tech advancements remains one constant – the injured employee. Those technologies making a lasting impact will be those designed to improve and enhance the overall employee experience associated with the unanticipated and unfortunate workplace event.

Jarrod Magan, VP Client Technology Services

For an expanded look at the impact of technology on workers’ compensation today and tomorrow, read these additional articles from Jarrod Magan, originally published in WorkCompWire’s Leaders Speak series:

 

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Digg
  • RSS
  • Email
  • Print

Freepik-Medical-SettlementWhat happens when you experience a significant large loss at your organization? We recently supported one of our clients through such an event and wanted to share lessons learned in the hopes they can help other employers be mindful of how structured settlements can be a valuable tool when taking care of those involved.

Less than two years ago, one of our clients experienced a significant large loss. While we can’t provide all the details, the impact is evident even at a high-level view. This particular loss had catastrophic exposure as soon as the first claim was called in, involving more than 30 separate incidents which had occurred over a long period of time. The result was 30 individual claims, many including long-term healthcare with the potential to cost millions of dollars. In addition to the new injuries, many of the affected workers were already in poor health, which would only decrease their ability to heal and make it more difficult to receive the treatment they needed.

The client in this scenario had a significant self-insured retention, as well as two levels of excess. Upon the first report of the accident, it was evident the first level of excess was instantly going to be put on notice. The client’s primary focus from the start was to care for their workers, but their goal was also to handle claims appropriately in an attempt to mitigate expenses to the point where the second level of excess would not be reached. This was a lofty goal, but it gave our team a financial ceiling to work within.

The client service manager (CSM) for this client immediately jumped to action, making sure all involved parties were included and informed early in the process.

Defense counsel was involved from the beginning as it was anticipated many of the claimants would seek immediate counsel. In addition to defense counsel, the CSM understood that a loss of this nature was going to require a great deal of financial expertise to be able to handle claims appropriately while meeting the client’s goal of not crossing over into the second level of excess. This is where Galaher Settlements’ nationwide network of brokers, experience in working through settlement negotiations, and guidance in providing the right financial direction made a difference in the outcome.

The first step was to bring in a broker who was both familiar with and local to the area. The broker would work side by side with defense counsel to ensure understanding of financial goals and how to achieve those goals on behalf of the injured workers and our client. The broker also helped to create a bridge between the parties on the ground locally and the Sedgwick examiner.

In this situation, compensability, diagnosis and treatment were never in doubt, which allowed us to move forward rather quickly toward resolution for the injured workers. Within a year of the claims being opened, it was clear settlement negotiations were going to start early. The early start would hopefully help to mitigate losses and support a crisis management plan.

The quick turnaround also meant defense counsel and the examiner would need to quickly grasp the financial impact of each claim. One of the main issues in this case was that each worker had their own set of comorbidities with their own set of medical needs; there would not be a single global settlement to close all claims. In addition, each had their own counsel; defense, examiner and broker would need to be prepared to negotiate a settlement with 30 different individuals, ensuring each was fairly treated and made whole, while also being mindful of the fiduciary goals of the client. The impact of the Galaher broker was immediately clear, as it allowed the examiner and defense counsel to quickly asses the financial impact of each case and prepared them to negotiate settlements. The local broker was able to attend every mediation conference in person, running numbers for the parties and explaining the value being negotiated to both sides of the table.

Of the 30-plus claims being negotiated, only about a third of them ended up settling with a structured settlement, however, by having the structured settlement broker present during all negotiations they were able to give an accurate representation of the cash settlements’ true value. With this level of expertise – and with all parties on the same page – the results achieved met the objective of caring for the individuals involved, while also meeting the goals of the client.

In less than two years from the initial date of accident, all claims were settled without the client reaching their second level of excess.

Do you have experience with a similar type of event with lifetime exposure or high-dollar value? How have you been able to utilize structured settlements to ease a large loss?

Matthew Zink, MPA, Manager Medicare Compliance & Structured Settlements

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Digg
  • RSS
  • Email
  • Print

OTC-threat-imodium-blogThree weeks ago, I was wrapping up a discussion with a client and fellow Sedgwick colleagues on the opioid epidemic. Someone in the room received the unexpected text that Prince had died. In the next few moments, without any other information, my fellow pharmacy colleagues and I started thinking to ourselves what could have possibly led to his death. Our meeting ended shortly thereafter and when I reconvened with my colleagues outside, we had all completed the mental exercise in our head, considering the news of an emergency plane landing in the days leading up to Prince’s death. This sounded like a drug overdose.

As details about his death continue to slowly leak into the headlines, news outlets are now beginning to give more air time to the opioid issue that seems to be at play. It seems like for the first time, the media is beginning to provide the coverage this epidemic requires. If there is anything good that can come from a story of another life lost due to opioid abuse, it is awareness and action. These stories can serve to make us aware of how pervasive this issue has become, while also forcing us to act for a better way forward.

One week after the death of Prince, another headline quietly broke regarding the opioid epidemic that requires our awareness and continued action. At the end of April, The Annals of Emergency Medicine published a case report involving two separate cases. Both cases involved single men, ages 24 and 39. Both men in the report had a history of opioid abuse and both were being treated with a medication designed to help them with their opioid addiction. Unfortunately, their addiction was so intense that they both started looking at unlikely alternatives to get their next fix. Both men lost their lives due to an overdose of loperamide, an over-the-counter (OTC) medication more commonly referred to as Imodium. It’s also been called “poor man’s methadone.”

Most of us have heard of loperamide or Imodium and most likely we have some in our medicine cabinets at home. Loperamide, while not considered an opioid, actually has a place on the opioid family tree, but on a somewhat distant branch as a distant cousin. The OTC product is effective in treating diarrhea because it acts in a similar way in the gut that other opioids do, by causing constipation. While loperamide has the ability to work on the same gut receptors that morphine would, in prescribed amounts it will not affect other receptors throughout the body that morphine does. Yet, if someone was to take enough of the medication, they would realize a high similar to that of an opioid.

One of the men from this case report was found with six empty boxes of loperamide next to him and there are reports of some people taking upwards of 100 to 200 tablets per day. At these high doses, the risk for overdose and death greatly increases. If the person doesn’t succumb to respiratory depression, serious heart rhythm changes can occur, which can lead to death.

Dr. Robert Hall, Medical Director of Optum, recently said about this alarming trend, “The inappropriate use of Imodium for the purpose of generating euphoria further illustrates the challenges and severity of drug addiction in this country, in that people would knowingly choose to take a medication despite its risks of further harm. That is the definition of addiction.”

The Annals of Emergency Medicine report cited a 7-fold increase in calls related to loperamide abuse or misuse from 2011 through 2015. The national poison center also noted a 71% increase in calls related to intentional loperamide exposures from 2011 through 2014.

In the coming weeks, I expect some will push that we put loperamide behind the counter, like we do with pseudoephedrine. Such a move would make it harder to abuse loperamide, but we must realize it won’t fix our addiction problem. Those of us in the Sedgwick Pharmacy Program realize that the best way to advocate for someone is not only to advocate what we are against, but what we are for. When it comes to this issue, we will continue to demonstrate how caring countsSM by advocating for safer prescribing, clinically appropriate alternatives, and for solutions that help the whole person return back to a normal way of life.

Paul Peak, PharmD |  Director Clinical Pharmacy Complex Pharmacy Management

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Digg
  • RSS
  • Email
  • Print

national-suicide-lifeline_149852_2Life is precious!  The disturbing news hit the press late last month about the alarming escalating rates of suicide in this country.  The overall suicide rate rose by 24% from 1999 to 2014 according to the National Center for Health Statistics. This led me to contemplate why this is happening and how we as humans can help support others.  As I was deep in thought about the impact suicide has on all of us, Sedgwick launched caring counts℠ which is an excellent fit for the discussion.

Recently I began volunteering as a crisis counselor.  It is very rewarding to make a positive impact on someone’s life.  I have to say it totally changed the way I approach my everyday life.  You never know what is going on with the person next to you.  We all have things we are dealing with and we are sometimes not really able to focus on anything else other than our own problem. It could be a recent death of a loved one, a serious medical condition, a worry about our child or simple body aches and pain.

Now when a person in a retail setting is rude or terse with me, my first thought is I bet something is really bothering that person. I find myself trying to be especially kind and nice so that maybe I can be the one to help them have a more positive day. Before my volunteer work, I think I was too quick to judge and feel they should have treated me better.

Human beings are the only species on the planet that can override the survival instincts and actually make a decision to end their life. The remaining question is always why did they do it and how did they get to such a dark place that led them to believe the world would be better without them? These questions are painful and leave behind a legacy of sadness, guilt and “what ifs” for those left behind. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we were able to see the pain inside of someone and help them feel they are important?

There have been a few studies conducted on those who committed suicide and left a note. In the analysis of these notes the primary factor that seemed to determine whether a person committed suicide was their prevalent belief that the world, their family and friends would be better off without them because they felt they were such a burden. This was a more pronounced factor than feeling depressed and hopeless and is believed to be a key driver behind intentional suicide.  [1]

Caring really does count! It doesn’t require much to be nice, speak kindly, show empathy and help someone whether or not you perceive they are worthy. In the end we are all accountable to each other as human beings.

National Suicide Prevention 800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text “Go” to 741-741  (free for most carriers)

  1. Joiner, T. E., Pettit, J. W., Walker, R. L., Voelz, Z. R., Cruz, J., Rudd, M. D., & Lester, D. (2002). Perceived burdensomeness and suicidality: Two studies on the suicide notes of those attempting and those completing suicide. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 21(5), 531-545.

National Center for Health Statistics  www.cdc.gov/nchs

TeresaBartlett-180hDr. Teresa Bartlett, SVP, Medical Quality

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Digg
  • RSS
  • Email
  • Print

DrugTakeback2016Participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day today, Saturday, April 30 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and you could save a life.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day was established in 2010 by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to help reduce prescription drug risks and encourage safety. Last September, Americans turned in 350 tons (over 702,000 pounds) of unused or unwanted prescription drugs at more than 5,000 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 10 previous Take-Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 5.5 million pounds – more than 2,750 tons – of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), opioid overdose deaths reached record levels in 2014. A CDC press release reported that 47,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2014, which was a 14% increase over the previous year.

Everyone must be accountable for the medications they are prescribed. As providers, we need to educate our patients about the options for safe disposal of unused and unwanted medications. And National Drug Take Back Day is one of them. Pain and other symptoms requiring prescriptions are often resolved before the entire prescription is used. More often than not a large proportion of those medications end up in the medicine cabinet or the kitchen drawer.

As claims examiners, nurses, pharmacists and physicians, it is our duty to promote awareness across the injured population and to care for our consumers, patients and – by extension, their families, friends and communities. Unused medicines sitting at home are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Statistics prove that childproof drug packaging or top cabinet shelves are not enough to protect children and teenagers from an unintentional overdose. Throwing medications in the garbage or flushing them down the toilet is not only unsafe, it also has a negative impact on the environment.

On April 30, various local sites will be set up to collect unused, unwanted or expired medications to provide safe and responsible disposal. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. We encourage you to help increase awareness of this program and take the opportunity to clean up your own medicine cabinet.

To find a collection site near you, use the search tool on the DEA website. You can also contact the DEA’s call center at 800.882.9539 or your local law enforcement agency. Check out the Sedgwick team’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day blab and share a picture with us of your local collection site if you take time today to participate in this life-saving event.

Shanea McKinney, Pharmacist, Sedgwick

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Digg
  • RSS
  • Email
  • Print

Today isworkersdaymemorial Workers’ Memorial Day, an annual international observance to pay tribute to workers who have died or experienced exposures to hazards on the job.

Thanks to the efforts of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and talented risk management and safety professionals across the nation, U.S. employers maintain very high standards when it comes to safe working conditions. Nevertheless, unforeseen accidents happen, and regrettably 4,679 U.S. people died in 2014 from work-related injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Because of Sedgwick’s role in the workers’ compensation arena, we know all too well the life-changing impact that a catastrophic injury or fatality has on the fallen employee’s extended family and team of colleagues. Managing claims that involve loss of life is some of the toughest work that we do. Because of our caring countsSM philosophy, our clients entrust us with the responsibility of dealing compassionately with employees who have experienced a loss at work and families who have lost a loved one. These interactions can be painful, and our colleagues are charged with making these unspeakably difficult situations a bit easier for those turning to us for assistance during a time of grief.

A meaningful way that Sedgwick gives back to the industry and honors workers killed on the job is by supporting Kids’ Chance, a national organization founded to ease the burden of families who face loss of income due to death or disability as the result of a workplace injury. Kids’ Chance provides educational scholarships to the children of fallen workers, and we are proud to join them in this worthwhile endeavor. Click here to read more about our special partnership with Kids’ Chance.

I am proud to be part of the most caring claims team in the business.  At Sedgwick, caring counts.

Darrell Brown
Chief Claims Officer
Sedgwick