Quick Tips

Rise of the Workers’ Comp Warrior

 

Employers need to define and fortify the position of Workers’ Comp Manager. It is a sad reality that this job often falls short of the impact and respect it deserves. It owns no distinct professional standard as compared with the role of Risk Manager, HR Manager, Safety Engineer or even Production Supervisor, yet the role is often added to those positions as an afterthought. Worst of all, employers freely allow vendors (TPA or Broker) to assign this job’s process and tasks. I say we retire the current notion of the “Workers’ Comp Manager” and unleash the “Workers’ Comp Warrior”

Why replace the term “Manager” with “Warrior”? Because this title recognizes what should be the employers’ daily fight against a WC system that puts data-driven process and so-called efficiency above personal service and pro-active intervention. The term “Warrior” does NOT imply a negative position that simply fights fraud and bad actors… Rather, this is a noble fight that seeks the best and fastest route to employee healing and return to productivity.

Consider that “healing and return to productivity” as an endeavor has been dumbed down by our industry. Vendor preferences in the name of Best Practices would have you believe the task is met by simply reporting a new loss and leaving the employee at the whim of the claims and managed-care team. In reality, healing and return to productivity is an extremely complicated and personal process that is easily thwarted by the insult and cross-purposes of a claims team seeking “fast track” method while a managed-care team seeks “savings” based on a rigged system of medical reimbursement. Our industry-wide-elephant-in-the-room ballooning plague of churning WC claims evidences a dire lack of ability to “heal and return to productivity”.

A WC Warrior fights to ease this gauntlet for employees. He or she proclaims the hub-position in a turning wheel of WC action while establishing vendors and other aspects as respective spokes. Other wheel-spokes include employee expectation and responsibilities, supervisory role, top management support and resources, experienced-based allocation of costs, RTW culture, medical providers, cooperation EH&S, etc. No two employer-wheels are completely alike, but all need a Workers’ Comp Warrior at the center. No single vendor can re-create or support such a turning wheel. Most critically – in practical application no employee skips this ride to a quality medical healing and return to productivity; however, any ill-intended employee who jumps off early is easily spotted.

Quick Tip: Raise The Bar and Re-Define An Employer-Based “WC Warrior” Position

Key aspects of a “Workers Comp Warrior” include:
– Emphasis on employee advocacy above all else
– Technical knowledge and experience in all the process-workings and interactions of WC
– Provides claim-by-claim insight otherwise not available via the common intake process
– Leads each situation with solutions, options and strategies
– Expects real time interaction, does not adhere to adjuster diaries
– Runs an inclusive program with company-wide involvement and awareness
– Considers the learning opportunity from a poor claim outcome
– Accepts inevitable frustrations without blaming adjusters, doctors, state laws or employees
– Is never lulled by the perfect-world-bubble a broker or other vendors might try to create

Barry Thompson

About The Author

Barry Thompson is a renowned Risk Management Consultant with roots in a 1982 claim adjusting desk and branches bearing the fruit of a career-focus on improving Workers’ Compensation. He is Founder and President of Risk Acuity, LLC as well as creator and operator of ClaimAnswer.com. He began publication of Quick Tips in 2004. Each edition brings a unique independent employer-focused source of Workers’ Comp advice, information and ideas.