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The signature workers’ compensation event in the United States takes place each year at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada. The highlight of the conference is the presentation of the “Teddy” award to a select few companies, chosen from hundreds of applicants, for outstanding achievement in workers’ compensation. The “Teddy” award honors the memory of President Theodore Roosevelt who lobbied for years on behalf of workers’ compensation laws to protect injured workers.
This year New Jersey based Barnabas Health System along with three other companies around the nation won the coveted “Teddy” award for its innovative Corporate Care program, spearheaded by Caryl Russo, Vice President of Corporate Care. Several Capehart Scatchard attorneys were present at the ceremony. Russo acknowledged the efforts of her business partners in winning this award, including PMA Management Corporation, third party administrator, William H. Connolly, the hospital’s insurance broker, as well as Capehart Scatchard, among others.
Russo and three other representatives of award winning companies, including American Airlines, participated in a 90 minute panel discussion focusing on the elements of success behind each company’s award winning workers’ compensation program. Russo began by posing this challenge, “Creating consistency in an occupational health program is like tacking jello to a wall.” There are countless challenges to be faced. She said that for Barnabas Health Care the key was establishing clear and achievable goals. In the hospital’s case the main goals were to provide the best possible health care while reducing lost time frequency.
The hospital created a system-wide “corporate care” program which was rolled out at each member hospital one hospital location at a time. A highly qualified occupational physician was hired to oversee treatment of workers’ compensation cases at each hospital. All the physicians were trained in understanding the requirements on the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation system. The program also focused on the need for creative modified duty positions at every hospital location. Since the rollout of the program, Barnabas has seen a 72 percent drop in lost time frequency.
Another key aspect of the program was the creation of a claim triage team, including the third party administrator, broker, department heads and other professionals. The triage team convened each week to focus on complex and high cost claims, looking for innovative ways to close files and resolve claims in an efficient manner. Another focus of the program was to put in place systems which helped gather detailed past medical history early in the life of a new claim which could bear on causation and credit issues. Such information became critical for occupational physicians and specialists involved in providing medical care.
Russo explained that all of these changes have resulted in millions of dollars in cost savings and reductions of reserves and letters of credit for the hospital, at a time when many New Jersey employers are experiencing skyrocketing workers’ compensation costs.
Those who are interested in learning more about Barnabas Hospital’s Corporate Care program can hear Russo and her award-winning program team speak about the crucial elements of their cost saving program at the Millennium Seminar on December 3, 2015 at the Hilton Hotel in Parsippany, New Jersey. Information on and registration for the seminar is available at www.millenniumseminars.com or by firstname.lastname@example.org.
John H. Geaney, Esq., is an Executive Committee Member and a Shareholder in Capehart Scatchard's Workers’ Compensation Group. Mr. Geaney concentrates his practice in the representation of employers, self-insured companies, third-party administrators, and insurance carriers in workers’ compensation, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family and Medical Leave Act. Should you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Mr. Geaney at 856.914.2063 or by e‑mail at email@example.com.