2016 Teddy Awards: Honorable Mention

A Matter of Trust

St. Luke's workers' comp program is built upon relationships and a commitment to care for those who care for patients.
By: | November 2, 2016 • 3 min read

It’s not often that workers’ compensation claims adjusters meet face-to-face with the injured workers whose claims they administer.

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But St. Luke’s Health System Ltd.’s workers’ comp team forges close relationships with injured workers, their supervisors, and anyone involved in resolving a claim by consistently doing just that. Risk & Insurance recognizes this effort with a 2016 Teddy Award Honorable Mention.

St. Luke’s, a self-insured health care system, self-administers workers’ comp claims with in-house adjusters, a nurse case manager, and even in-house bill review. It does so with centralized workers’ comp services serving a system spread across 19 Idaho communities.

The self-administration arrangement affords adjusters for the Boise, Idaho-based entity the ability to personally meet with claimants, who even stop by the workers’ comp department with claims questions.

Similarly, managers stop by to learn how the company’s workers’ comp system works and to learn what they can expect should one of their reports face an injury.

Jeanne James, manager of workers' comp and long-term disability, St. Luke’s Health System Ltd.

Jeanne James, manager of workers’ comp and long-term disability, St. Luke’s Health System Ltd.

“We have people come and see us,” said Jeanne James, St. Luke’s manager of workers’ comp and long-term disability. “We sit down with them so we become human beings to them and they are human beings to us.”

Having in-house adjusters also facilitates a quick response to all injuries, James added.

Immediate injury response, attention to safety, and an attitude that says any of St. Luke’s 14,000  employees injured on the job will be taken care of and returned to work keeps workers’ comp costs “very low,” said Lori Severson, VP and senior loss control consultant at broker Lockton Companies.

Often, employers with that many workers spread across an entire state face greater claims lag time and communication gaps when employees are injured, Severson said.

But whether injuries are major or minor, St. Luke’s in-house adjusters see to it that workers are immediately diagnosed and treated.

Lockton became St. Luke’s broker in 2015 when the health care system asked Lockton to provide services including the evaluation of its self-insured approach.

“One of the things that works very well, we saw, was their self-insured program,” Severson said.

“First and foremost we are taking care of the people that go back and take care of our patients.” — Jeanne James, manager of workers’ comp and long-term disability, St. Luke’s Health System Ltd.

St. Luke’s workers’ comp team views their role as supporting an investment in the entity’s employees and patients.

“First and foremost we are taking care of the people that go back and take care of our patients,” James said. “So we always want to make fair and consistent claims decisions. One of things we strive to do is educate ourselves on the facts of claims.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes the “health care and social assistance” sector for generating more worker injuries than all other private-sector industries. The risks health care workers face include exposures to blood-borne pathogens, musculoskeletal injuries from patient-handling, and workplace violence, to name a few.

Yet St. Luke’s injury frequency increased only 25 percent from 2010 to 2015, despite employee growth that shot up from 10,142 in 2011 to nearly 13,858 during 2015.

The numbers reflect St. Luke’s emphasis on safety.

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Among other recent measures, St. Luke’s elevated the authority and titles of its safety managers to increase their visibility across the entire system and to emphasize their roles’ importance.  The new relationship with Lockton also added safety and risk consultant services.

St. Luke’s is also “super strong on return to work,” Severson said.

But meeting face-to-face with employees is one of the workers’ comp department’s most important strategies, James said. Doing so helps adjusters better comprehend accident causes, understand claimants’ explanation of their work environments, and it cultivates trust.

“One of the primary things that we do, that is most beneficial to us and everybody we work with along the claims path, is build relationships,” James said. &

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Read more about the 2016 Teddy Award winners:

target-150x150Bringing Focus to Broad Challenges: Target brings home a 2016 Teddy Award for serving as an advocate for its workers, pre- and post-injury, across each of its many operations.

 

hrt-150x150The Road to Success: Accountability and collaboration turned Hampton Roads Transit’s legacy workers’ compensation program into a triumph.

 

excela-150x150Improve the Well-Being of Every Life: Excela Health changed the way it treated injuries and took a proactive approach to safety, drastically reducing workers’ comp claims and costs.

 

harder-150x150The Family That’s Safe Together: An unwavering commitment to zero lost time is just one way that Harder Mechanical Contractors protects the lives and livelihoods of its workers.

 

More coverage of the 2016 Teddy Awards:

Recognizing Excellence: The judges of the 2016 Teddy Awards reflect on what they learned, and on the value of awards programs in the workers’ comp space.

Fit for Duty: 2013 Teddy Winner Miami-Dade County Public Schools is managing comorbid risk factors by getting employees excited about healthy living.

Saving Time and Money: Applying Lean Six Sigma to its workers’ comp processes earned Atlantic Health a Teddy Award Honorable Mention.

Caring for the Caregivers: Adventist Health Central Valley Network is achieving stellar results by targeting its toughest challenges.

Advocating for Injured Workers: By helping employees navigate through the workers’ comp system, Cottage Health decreased lost work days by 80 percent.

A Matter of Trust: St. Luke’s workers’ comp program is built upon relationships and a commitment to care for those who care for patients.

Keeping the Results Flowing: R&I recognizes the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago for a commonsense approach that’s netting continuous improvement.

Roberto Ceniceros is senior editor at Risk & Insurance® and chair of the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. He can be reached at [email protected] Read more of his columns and features.

The Profession

For This Pharmaceutical Risk Director, Managing Risk Means Being Part of the Mission to Save Lives

Meet Eric Dobkin, director, insurance and risk management, for Merck & Co. Inc.
By: | September 28, 2018 • 5 min read

R&I: What was your first job?
My first job out of undergrad was as an actuarial trainee at Chubb.I was a math major in school, and I think the options for a math major coming out are either a teacher or an actuary, right? Anyway, I was really happy when the opportunity at Chubb presented itself. Fantastic company. I learned a lot there.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?
After I went back to get my MBA, I decided I wanted to work in corporate finance. When I was interviewing, one of the opportunities was with Merck. I really liked their mission, and things worked out. Given my background, they thought a good starting job would be in Merck’s risk management group. I started there, rotated through other areas within Merck finance but ultimately came back to the Insurance & Risk Management group. I guess I’m just one of those people who enjoy this type of work.

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R&I: What is risk management doing right?
I think the community is doing a good job of promoting education, sharing ideas and advancing knowledge. Opportunities like this help make us all better business partners. We can take these ideas and translate them into actionable solutions to help our companies.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?
I think we have made good advancements in articulating the value proposition of investing in risk management, but much more can be done. Sometimes there is such a focus on delivering immediate value, such as cost savings, that risk management does not get appropriate attention (until something happens). We need to develop better tools that can reinforce that risk management is value-creating and good for operational efficiency, customers and shareholders.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?
I’d actually say there hasn’t been as much change as I would have hoped. I think the industry speaks about innovation more often than it does it. To be fair, at Merck we do have key partners that are innovators, but some in the industry are less enthusiastic to consider new approaches. I think there is a real need to find new and relevant solutions for large, complex risks.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?
Cyber risk. While it’s not emerging anymore, it’s evolving, dynamic and deserves the attention it gets. Merck was an early adopter of risk transfer solutions for cyber risk, and we continue to see insurance as an important component of the overall cyber risk management framework. From my perspective, this risk, more than any other, demands continuous forward-thinking to ensure we evolve solutions.

R&I: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Sticking with the cyber theme, I’d say navigating through a cyber incident is right up there. In June 2017, Merck experienced a network cyber attack that led to a disruption of its worldwide operations, including manufacturing, research and sales. It was a very challenging environment. And managing the insurance claim that resulted has been extremely complex. But at the same time, I have learned a tremendous amount in terms of how to think about the risk, enterprise resiliency and how to manage through a cyber incident.

R&I: What advice might you give to students or other aspiring risk managers?
Have strong intellectual curiosity. Always be willing to listen and learn. Ask “why?” We deal with a lot of ambiguity in our business, and the more you seek to understand, the better you will be able to apply those learnings toward developing solutions that meet the evolving risk landscape and needs of the business.

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R&I: What role does technology play in your company’s approach to risk management?
We’re continuing to look for ways to apply technology. For example, being able to extract and leverage data that resides in our systems to evaluate risk, drive efficiencies and make things like property-value reporting easier. We’re also looking to utilize data visualization tools to help gain insights into our risks.

R&I: What are your goals for the next five to 10 years of your career?
I think, at this time, I would like to continue to learn and grow in the type of work I do and broaden my scope of responsibilities. There are many opportunities to deliver value. I want to continue to focus on becoming a stronger business partner and help enable growth.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?
I’d say right now Star Wars is top on my list. It has been magical re-watching and re-living the series I watched as a kid through the eyes of my children.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in? When I was about 15, I went to a New York Rangers versus Philadelphia Flyers game at the Philadelphia Spectrum. I wore my Rangers jersey. I would not do that again.

Eric Dobkin, director, insurance & risk management, Merck & Co. Inc

R&I: What is it about this work you find most fulfilling or rewarding?
I am passionate about Merck’s mission of saving and improving lives. “Inventing for Life” is Merck’s tagline. It’s funny, but most people don’t associate “inventing” with medicine. But Merck has been inventing medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases for a long time. It’s amazing to think the products we make can help people fight terrible diseases like cancer. Whatever little bit I can do to help advance that mission is very fulfilling and rewarding.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?
Ha! My kids think I make medicine. I guess they think that because I work for Merck. I suppose if even in a small way I can contribute to Merck’s mission of saving and improving lives, I am good with that. &




Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]