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

On December 8, I hosted a webinar along with Donna Hardaker, former Director, Wellness Works Mental Health America of California and Heather Holladay, Integrated Health Manager Pacific Gas and Electric Company. It was a fantastic discussion on a topic which needs much more attention: stigma and social prejudice toward employees with mental health challenges. If you were not able to attend, you can revisit the recorded webinar and our presentation slides.

The statistics and research findings are compelling: Approximately 1 in 5 people is dealing with a mental health situation on a daily basis, and studies show that people with depression have a 2.5 times higher risk of on-the-job injury. [1] Mental health challenges, regardless of whether they are situational or chronic, are fraught with societal stigma, which stifles diagnosis, treatment, open dialogue and awareness of mental health and caring for those impacted.

The workplace is no different, and some argue even greater stigma occurs at work among peers and leadership, which in turn impacts absence and productivity. In fact, in 2015 the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that just over 35% of respondents cite social concerns as reasons for not receiving mental health services, second only to cost of care at over 45%. Even more specifically, 9.5% indicate getting care might create a negative image of them in the workplace. [2]

Employers have begun to address cultures of health and well-being in a variety of ways to improve workforce and employee health, impacting health and disability costs and employee engagement and experience. Eliminating mental health stigma and social prejudice is just one step in this broader initiative. Increased education and awareness in the workplace can help eliminate labeling and misconceptions that create barriers to those seeking mental health treatment or other accommodations.

As an employer, what steps can you take as you examine your workplace culture? I offer three areas we can begin to dialogue about in today’s blog. As the year progresses, we will address these and explore even more ways we can break down the barriers.

  • Integrating physical and mental well-being. Separate silos for physical and mental health are dissolving: benefits managers and risk managers alike are promoting a culture of health and tapping prevention-oriented strategies commonly available in group health plans (i.e. stress reduction, work/life balance, EAP). Education campaigns are raising awareness, and putting mental wellness on equal footing with physical health.
  • Educating managers and supervisors. Organizations are training managers and supervisors to better understand mental health conditions, to identify and address behaviors that might warrant outreach, and to reduce stigma surrounding mental health needs.
  • Stamping out stigma. Employees need to feel that requests for help will not be penalized and will produce real benefits. Some organizations are implementing peer advocate and peer support programs, positioning people who have successfully overcome stigma, societal predjudice and other challenges in their own lives as inspiring champions for their co-workers.

I encourage you to take the first step in understanding – download the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) “Mental health in the workplace” white paper we discussed on the webinar in December.  Sedgwick partnered with DMEC and Pacific Resources to create a great resource of information to help your organization get started on its journey.

http://dmec.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Mental-Health-in-the-Work-Place_FINAL.pdfI hope part of your 2017 work resolutions will be to address this important issue and join us in our work to eliminate stigma and prejudice toward employees with mental health challenges. Think about it: what barriers and issues do you see in organizations? What ideas do you have for addressing them? Please leave me your comments, questions and suggestions, and we will try to incorporate them into a future post.

Bryon Bass, SVP, Disability and Absence Practice & Compliance

 

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

2017 is here 2017-insights_portal-tileand poised to challenge and change our industry in many areas. I think we can all agree the technological advances are moving at an unprecedented pace. The terms artificial intelligence, drones and wearables are changing our lives. Still at the forefront for Sedgwick is our commitment to taking care of the people we serve. In 2017, topics related to mental health and prescription drug abuse are going to gain even more attention from employers. In addition, government regulations and legislative changes may create some of the most challenging landscapes we have ever faced as an industry.

We have been hard at work identifying what we believe will be some of the most important trends to focus on in the year ahead. The topics below reflect the key areas highlighted in Sedgwick’s “Insights for 2017” list. I believe that our list is a great resource and shines a light on the areas that your business should be ready to address. Click on the topic that you would like to read more about or click here to read the full Insights for 2017 list.

We will continue to offer our insights as we monitor the following business advancements and challenges throughout 2017:

lightbulb2-red Good Health Empowerments
Accessing care via technology
Balancing the scale of pain management
Supporting mental health initiatives
read more about these trends>
lightbulb3-orange Regulation transformations
Compliance enforcement
Navigating regulatory changes
Workers’ compensation strategies
read more about these trends>
lightbulb1-blue Consumer-Centric Progressions
Enhancing the claims experience
Bridging benefit models
On-demand consumerism
read more about these trends>
lightbulb4-yellow Risk circumventions
Crisis plans
Geo risks
Talent strategies
read more about these trends>
lightbulb5-green Tech modernisms
Artificial and emotional intelligence
Explosion in actionable data
Self-service innovations
read more about these trends>

Let us know what areas will be most important for your company in the coming year.  We welcome your feedback.

Jim Ryan, EVP, Casualty Operations

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

Make prescription drug control one of your highest priorities

Pharmacy spend has been, and will continue to be, a hot-button topic for a cross-section of the healthcare industry. Workers’ compensation is no exception. Opioids, in particular, continue to be at the center of continual drug safety concerns, with strong potential to impact overall claim costs and, more importantly, the health, wellbeing and productivity of injured employees.

Tfreevector-checklist-2017he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999. From 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people died in the U.S. from overdose related to these drugs. The most commonly abused opioids include methadone, hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Unfortunately, the past misuse of prescription opioids is also the strongest risk factor for initiating the use of heroin. Increased availability, relatively low cost (as compared to opioids), and high purity are also risk factors associated with heroin use. In fact, 9 in 10 people who use heroin also abused at least one other drug.

However, opioids are not the only medications that are easily obtained and abused; musculoskeletal relaxants, benzodiazepines and sedative hypnotics, to name a few, are all commonly overprescribed and easily abused or misused, all of which are frequently utilized in the treatment of workers’ compensation injuries. Neuropathic agents thought by many healthcare providers as benign and free from abuse potential are making the headlines as some of the newest party drugs. Lyrica (pregabalin), classically categorized as a pharmacological anticonvulsant or neuropathic agent utilized for the treatment of fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, post-herpetic neuralgia or partial onset seizures, has recently been identified as a recreational party drug increasing the number of emergency department visits due to overuse.
Beyond the rising misuse of prescription medication, the cost of prescription drugs continues to escalate, making the importance of tight monitoring and close management of the spend associated with pharmacy-related claims a paramount concern on minds of risk managers. A National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) report noted that prescription drug prices increased 11% in 2014 – significantly higher than the 10-year average increase of 4%. NCCI also indicated that prescription drugs account for about 17% of workers’ compensation medical costs.

The following is a list of strategies that can be deployed by employers this year to minimize prescription drug abuse:

  • Deploy aggressive point-of-sale pharmacy clinician intervention
  • Be sure clinicians and pharmacists providing intervention services are armed with the latest drug trends and trained to educate and negotiate with prescribers and injured workers
  • Apply consistent best practice intervention indicators to routinely address complex pharmacy issues and long-term drug use; examples of indicators would be new start long acting opioids or dangerous drug combinations
  • Take advantage of 2017 Drug Enforcement Administration “Take Back” dates by getting employees involved with drug take back initiatives, which include safe drug disposal sites
  • Ensure continual maximum pharmacy network penetration in order to maintain clinical controls across the injured employee population
  • Utilize clinical resources such as pain management contracts, state-specific prescription drug monitoring programs, and urine drug screening to verify and confirm prescription utilization
  • Aggressively manage poly-pharmacy for dangerous medication combinations and unnecessary side effects, including increased sedation, euphoria or opioid induced-constipation
  • Leverage nationally established clinical recommendations, such as the 2016 CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, American Geriatrics Society Beers Criteria, and state-specific workers’ compensation clinical guidelines, to further reinforce patient-centric safety concerns with prescribers

As always, you can reach out to any of our knowledgeable managed care team at Sedgwick for guidance to help you manage your prescription drug programs.

Shanea A. McKinney, PharmD, Director Client Services-Managed Care Client Services

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

logo-dfehA recent ruling by the California Court of Appeal (Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc. (2016) 2 Cal. App. 5th 1028) increases the sphere of influence of the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to include reasonable accommodations for non-disabled employees known to have a relationship or association with someone with a disability.

When the plaintiff in the case, Luis Castro-Ramirez, began working for DHE in 2010, his supervisor allowed him to shift his work schedule so he could administer dialysis to his son in the evening hours. In 2013, Castro-Ramirez got a new supervisor, who changed his work hours such that he was unable to attend to his son’s daily dialysis needs. Castro-Ramirez requested an accommodation to care for his disabled son and was denied. He refused the new schedule, and DHE terminated his employment. Castro-Ramirez sued and recovered under the association clause of the FEHA.

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) includes protection from association discrimination, but that protection is somewhat limited. The ADA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee based upon their association or relationship with an individual who has a known disability. Under 42 U.S.C. §12112(b)(4), the term “discriminate” includes “excluding or otherwise denying equal jobs or benefits to a qualified individual because of the known disability of an individual with whom the qualified individual is known to have a relationship or association.” According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the goal is to prevent employers from taking adverse actions based on unfounded stereotypes and assumptions about individuals who associate with people who have disabilities. However, associational discrimination was rarely litigated, and the intended scope of the principle involved three types of situations: expense, disability by association and distraction. (See 29 C.F.R. § 1630.8 and Den Hartog v. Wasatch Academy.) The association principle of the ADA was never intended to expand as far as the California Court of Appeal has taken it in the Castro-Ramirez ruling.

As explained by the National Law Review, the FEHA “makes it unlawful to discharge a person based on physical disabilities or other characteristics, including the association with a person who has or is perceived to have any of those characteristics.” Before Castro-Ramirez, the ADA required employers only to provide reasonable accommodations to their disabled employees, not to disabled individuals outside of the employment relationship. The Castro-Ramirez opinion expands the application of the prior ruling by requiring California employers to consider providing non-disabled employees with leave accommodations in order to aid those disabled individuals with whom they have an association or relationship.

Recommendations for California employers

The Castro-Ramirez case highlights the need for a critical eye toward accommodation options that should be considered. Unpaid leave beyond that required under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or other FMLA-like state leave laws can be a reasonable accommodation under the ADA and FEHA. In light of the ruling in this case, employers should ensure their accommodation review programs consider such options for California employees who request time to care for disabled family members but have no other leave rights available.

It’s also good idea for those with employees working in the state of California to conduct regular reviews of their policies to ensure they prohibit all forms of discrimination. Additionally, human resources professionals should always listen closely and give serious consideration to employees’ requests for leave accommodations for disabled individuals with whom they are associated.

Employers must recognize that the ADA does not require a family relationship for an individual to be protected by the association provision. And of course, employment decisions should not be based on unfounded stereotypes and assumptions about individuals who associate with people who have disabilities.

Should you have any questions about this ruling, please contact your Sedgwick client services representative.

Kimberly Webb, national technical compliance director
Sedgwick

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

The story is simple and familiar to any experienced property claims professional: a pipe breaks flooding the restaurant downstairs causing it to close for two weeks, or a worker unknowingly drills through a pipe while working on a customer’s equipment which contaminates product in production causing a production shutdown for 72 hours.  Either of these events results in a claim for lost prosprinlerfits. The business owner may not know that it should claim lost profits; the claim may say lost sales, revenue, business, production or income.  As a claims professional, your client is now asking you to determine what is owed to the party that was affected.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants defines the damages owed as follows:

Only lost “net” profits are allowed as damages. Lost “net” profit is computed, in general, by estimating the gross revenue that would have been earned but for the wrongful act reduced by avoided costs. Avoided costs are defined as those incremental costs that were not incurred because of the loss of the revenue. After the net lost profits are determined, any actual profits earned are deducted to compute the damages.

To summarize, the claimant is owed lost sales, less any avoided expenses.

For the example of the restaurant above, the property owner will likely present a claim for the sales they believe are lost, but even if the claimed lost sales are accurate the actual loss of profit is likely much less.  The business did not have to purchase food, pay employees, credit card fees, supplies, cleaning, etc., while it was shut down.  All of these expenses, and possibly more, were avoided partially or completely.  The actual loss to the business is the sales it would have earned less the costs it avoided.  Without analyzing and accounting for these costs the property owner  will receive a windfall from your client.

Let’s look at the more complex example of the worker who unknowingly drills through a pipe while fixing a machine.  The property owner sends a long list of damages including claimed lost production of $40,000. The property owner is asking for lost production, but did they lose sales as a result of the shutdown?  Probably not because if a business is shut down, but uses existing inventory or their customers wait a couple of days to get their product, no loss of sales occurred and therefore no profits were lost. Sales may be delayed, but not lost.  Additionally, the property owner may have other locations that can help make up lost production..  If the property owner incurred increased costs of production as a result of the event, such as overtime to make-up lost production, the client may owe for the increased costs. However, that is a separate analysis.

If after a thorough analysis, it is determined that the property owner did lose sales, there is still the matter of determining the avoided expenses.  In manufacturing cases, the expenses are often complex and based on calculations that spread out (amortize) costs over a large period of time. In addition to the obvious avoided costs such as raw materials that were not used, an analysis of production costs is often necessary to determine total avoided costs. A property owner will often state that these costs are fixed, but their own calculations may show that they assign a cost-based on machine hours or units produced. Without considering these avoided expenses, you may advise your client to pay more than they actually owe.

It is very easy to overlook avoided expenses when calculating lost profits  An experienced forensic accountant can determine which expenses are likely avoidable and if further analysis is prudent.

Please feel free to share your questions and thoughts with us.

Robert Fox, CPA
Managing Director, forensic accounting and business income services
Vericlaim, a Sedgwick company

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

Give the gift of hopeAs we look back on 2016, many of us could agree that it has been one of the most stressful years on our cohesive fabric as a nation and one that has seen natural disasters and struggles happening around the world. At Sedgwick, we believe that caring counts℠ every day, and we take care of people around the world when they need us most. We are especially reminded during the holidays of the importance of this caring counts philosophy and our corporate responsibility to support the communities in which we work and live. What better time than now to come together and care for those around us locally, nationally and internationally?

As a reflection of our caring counts spirit, Sedgwick will join the strong network of volunteers, donors and partners that represent the Red Cross to give the gift of hope this holiday season. Our colleagues and industry friends are already actively engaging in many exciting activities to support our goal of giving back. I hope you will also accompany us on our mission by supporting the Red Cross in one of the many ways listed below; to learn more, click on each icon.

campaign-icons_2 campaign-icons_3
Donate blood Support disaster relief
campaign-icons_4 campaign-icons_1
Emergency preparedness Thank a soldier
campaign-icons_canada-logo campaign-icons_canada-leaf
Support relief efforts in Canada Safety information from Canada
campaign-icons_ireland-logo campaign-icons_ireland-healthsafety
Support relief efforts in Ireland Safety information from Ireland

On behalf of the entire Sedgwick family of companies, I want to send season’s greetings to you and your family and best wishes for health, happiness and success in 2017. Please share how you are giving the gift of hope this season! Leave your stories and comments here to inspire others on our blog.

Ericka DeBruce, VP, Engagement, Inclusion & Social Responsibility

 

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

nwcdc-blog-2016Nearly all businesses have interest in consumer experience. Whether you fly an airline, shop at a retailer, visit a website, or frequent an eatery, businesses care about your perception of their services and the products you consume. Negative experiences result in loss of business, and potentially sales for a competitor. Designing protocol inclusive of user experience has advanced from the automotive and technology industries to a broad spectrum of business verticals, including healthcare and insurance. Never before in my 25-year healthcare background has patient experience and patient engagement been more prevalent in design discussions and outcome reviews. Without a positive experience, patients will not engage in their health by way of treatment adherence and compliance.

Approach

This shift in focus from simply delivering care to understanding how the patient consumes care and feels about their care has lead heath systems and payers to focus significant strategic and operational resources on experience. Patients are frequently referred to as consumers, given that they are actively researching health options and purchasing their care directly. Employers are especially focused on their employees’ experience, whether it is within an operational team, the company as a whole, or the organization’s employee benefit offerings. Companies understand employee experience translates to employee engagement and directly reflects satisfaction and retention.

Adoption

Early adopters of advocacy-based claims management in workers’ compensation have jumped on the consumer experience bandwagon. Employers and payers are creating claims models to improve the experience of the consumer – the injured worker. Workers’ comp is complex and often difficult for someone without much experience in the system to understand. Stakeholders often address regulation and follow a required process with injured workers rather than truly focusing their attention on the worker’s needs. The vernacular used in workers’ compensation can be intimidating and cause confusion and mistrust. Do we think about the injured worker as a consumer of the goods we are delivering? An injured worker’s experience will impact their level of engagement with medical treatment, their return to work, and the long-term ramifications for the employer.

Advancement

I am grateful for the opportunity to present at this week’s National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference with three employers focusing on advocacy-based claims management during our session titled “The Advocacy Approach: Helping Injured Workers for Successful Claims Results” on Wednesday, November 30 at 2:30 PM. Denise Algire of The Albertson’s Company, Scott Daniels of Comcast, Bill Wainscott of International Paper and I will explore advocacy in workers’ compensation and share real examples of how advocacy is front and center in their benefit programs. We will review factors to consider when designing a program, various advocacy claims models and measurement outcomes. We hope to see you there and look forward to your ideas to help us advance the advocacy conversation.

Kimberly George, SVP, Corporate Development, M&A, and Healthcare

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

fraud-hacker-grinchAn old CONfidence fraud has found its way to the insurance business. Customers, consumers and adjusters should all be aware and alert of a new variant of the traditional “advance fee” fraud and identity theft confidence scheme that is affecting hundreds of thousands of people annually.  The developing trend involves fraudsters, typically from outside of the U.S., having obtained a claimant’s telephone number and making contact to “con” them out of their money and personal information.  Here is how it works: the caller, representing themselves as an agent for the insurance carrier or TPA, makes contact with the claimant to allegedly settle their general liability or workers’ compensation claim. The caller offers to settle the claim for an unusually large amount, which excites the claimant. The claimant is asked to provide personal information and send a settlement fee, usually $2,500 in cash to a Western Union account. The result, the fraudster receives the advance fee and the claimant gets nothing!

Happening in the insurance arena

In addition to the settlement scheme discussed above.  The insurance industry has seen its checks stolen in the U.S. mail delivery process and then counterfeited by fraudsters. The counterfeit checks are sent to claimants and others usually for less than $10,000; some of the checks are for claims settlements others for Craig’s List or other purchases.  The amount of the counterfeit check is always for an amount in excess of the actual amount due. The individuals realize the check was for an overpayment and they contact the fraudster who instructs the individual to deposit the check (which is counterfeit) into their bank account and send the difference to them via Western Union. The result, within a few days the counterfeit check is charged back to their account and the money that was sent to the fraudster – for a double loss.

Tips for avoiding advance fee schemes

Things that seem “too good to be true” probably are!  Customers, consumers, insurance company and TPA colleagues and others should follow common sense and good business practices, such as:

  • Know with whom you are dealing before making a deal
  • If you do not know the person or company, learn more
  • Be wary if someone asks you to pay money in advance of a transaction
  • Make sure you understand every business agreement; if terms are complex, consult with a friend, your bank, an attorney or the Better Business Bureau
  • Do not sign nondisclosure or circumvention agreements

Sedgwick consumers, customers and colleagues should report suspected fraud to fraudissues@sedgwick.com.

R. A. (Andy) Wilson, CFE, CPP, Vice President, Fraud & Compliance

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

2015-dea-drug-fact-card-1At Sedgwick, we are committed to steering people away from opioid addiction and finding solutions to returning them back to healthy, productive lives. However, the lure of such drugs can begin even before entering the workforce and experiencing an unfortunate injury leading to the prescription of an opioid. This was exhibited last week in the following critical update from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Please read this important information; I feel strongly that, as part of our commitment to caring counts, we must alert the industry and the general public of this dangerous substance and do all we can to keep it out of the hands of the next generation entering the workforce.

DEA update

The DEA took swift action November 10 by temporarily classifying the designer drug “pink” or “pinky” a Schedule I drug; this order went into effect on November 14. This means it is now in the same class as heroin and LSD. Schedule I drugs fall under the Controlled Substances Act for drugs with no medical use. The importance of this move by the DEA is that it is now illegal to sell this drug on the internet in the U.S. Many states had passed legislation to make the drug illegal for purchase, and the DEA move is helpful in limiting its availability online. The agency will make a decision next year if the drug will permanently remain on the Schedule I list.

Pink is a synthetic opioid which has been widely available online at very inexpensive rates to purchase; although now illegal, as of this blogging, I see it can still be bought online at a cost of $28 for 60 tablets. This drug is also known as U-47700. It is 700 times more potent than heroin.

Opioid addiction can start early

So far, pink/U-47700 has been the suspected cause of death for 46 people, primarily in New York and North Carolina – some of them young teenagers who thought it would be fun to get high.

Be aware: law enforcement agencies have confiscated versions of the drug in powder form and tablets that mimic pharmaceutical opioids. Pink/U-47700 got its name from the pink-purple hue derived through its processing, but has also been found in other forms, sometimes mixed with other drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. For example, Ohio law enforcement confiscated 500 blue pills earlier this year that initially appeared to be short-acting oxycodone, but tested officially as U-47700. (1)

Synthetic drugs are very commonplace and widely available on the internet for purchase as long as a person has access to a credit card. They are manufactured in other countries and shipped to the U.S. It is very easy for companies who manufacture these drugs to tweak them just enough and slightly change the name to continue to sell them on the internet.

We need to be very aware of what our children and teens are ordering online.

Teresa Bartlett, MD
SVP, medical quality, Sedgwick

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

https://www.workcompcentral.com/events/awardsThis past week, the workers’ compensation industry came together in Burbank, CA to celebrate the 2016 Comp Laude Awards. Comp Laude was created by the late David DePaolo, WorkCompCentral founder and CEO, on the premise that workers’ compensation does a lot of good things for people experiencing the misfortune of a workplace injury or illness. For two jam-packed days, attendees were busy learning from one another, networking, and sharing ideas and projects focused on improving the workers’ compensation experience, along with congratulating the Comp Laude honorees.

The Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation hosted a day-long claims track, which focused on advocacy-based claims management, as part of the event. Employers and stakeholders shared their insights into creating and operating within an advocacy model. Advocacy puts caring, listening, and empathy at the forefront of the claims process. Panelists acknowledge the system is complicated to navigate and often intimidating. Early adopters of advocacy are reworking the vernacular used with injured workers, rewriting the letters they send, and working diligently to communicate more effectively with injured workers.

I was humbled and deeply touched by the fireside chat held with injured workers. In this panel we heard from three injured workers and a spouse; they shared their injury and recovery stories and, with passion and care, shared how they felt the system could improve. A panelist formerly on narcotics for 12 years was told by his medical and case management team he was as good as he would get. Yet, when a fresh carrier team evaluated his claims, rehabilitation was an option – and two years later he goes to the gym daily and is medication free. As society wraps its arms around those diagnosed with cancer, having a work injury is taboo unless the injury is catastrophic from the start and all resources are offered to support the injured worker and family. Has the payer community given up on injured workers with a desire to get better?

As Cindy Cassidy, Assistant Manager, Sedgwick, shared with me, “Rarely do claims professionals get to put a face to the claim and truly understand the impact of the injury on the worker’s life as well as their family’s lives. All the injured workers who spoke drove home the importance of communication, even when the news wasn’t what they were hoping to hear.”  Another Sedgwick colleague, Brittani Drost, Claims Representative, reflected, “I was greatly moved by the fireside chat and thought it was an incredibly important section of the event. It’s important to be reminded of and revitalized for the main purpose of workers’ compensation, which is to help people. Sometimes, the overwhelming rules and regulations, the juggling of tasks and deadlines that this industry requires can wear a person down. During the advocacy panels and the fireside chat, I greatly wished I had some way to broadcast it live to my colleagues at home, primarily to encourage them with the reminder that what they do every day does matter, and people do appreciate the time and effort they put in with every claim.”

Another highlight of the event was the People’s Choice Award presentation. Each presenter shared an impactful six minutes on their topic and the audience voted for their favorite. Sedgwick’s own Jay Ayala, managing director, shared his thoughts on diversity and inclusion (D&I). Unlike most D&I conversations, Jay’s powerful message hit on two groups of diversity we do not normally think about, hiring those with disabilities into the claims environment, as well as single parents. The audience voted Dwight Johnson, Soule Innovations, the People’s Choice Award winner. In a way, Dwight has become the face of Comp Laude and in his raw, open, honest and heartfelt approach, he reminded us all to care – care for the injured worker, care for each other, and care to be better.

The audience learned about the growth of Kids’ Chance nationally and a Kids’ Chance scholarship recipient from California shared her story about growing up with a parent impacted by a work injury and what this has meant to her life. Her story is compelling; Kids’ Chance creates a future that might not have happened otherwise, Kids’ Chance creates opportunities, and Kids’ Chance cares and supports their scholarship recipients when there might be few others in position to do so.

As I reflect on my experience at Comp Laude, I have a renewed appreciation for advocacy, and designing programs to improve the experience for stakeholders – both claims professionals and injured workers. Comp Laude allows the industry to come together, set our logos aside for the event, and focus on being better together.

Kimberly George, SVP, Corporate Development, M&A, and Healthcare