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2017 NWCDC

Integration Made Easy

Focus on quick treatment and not so much on the source of injury, experts advise.
By: | December 7, 2017 • 2 min read

For two winners of the most prestigious award in workers’ compensation program management and the CEO of a major TPA, the message is relatively simple: Be clear with injured workers, give them a contact to talk to and let them see a good doctor.

And then watch your workers’ compensation costs plummet.

Susan Emerson, general manager, claims management, disability, leave and workers’ compensation claims, Delta Air Lines

Of course there are complicating factors; labor organizations and state regulations can be so complex, they’ll have you scratching your head. Maybe that’s why, according to Dave North, CEO, Sedgwick, achieving seamlessness between family leave, disability and workers’ compensation functions can seem so elusive.

“Very few employers, actually, have a fully integrated plan,” said North, as he kicked off the morning session “Integrated Benefits: Harder Than You Might Think” at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

His two co-panelists, Susan Emerson, general manager — claims management, disability, leave and workers’ compensation claims, Delta Air Lines, and Dawn Watkins, director, integrated disability management, the Los Angeles Unified School District, both emphasized the importance of focusing not so much on what you can deny in a a claim, but in how soon you can get an injured worker to the right doctor.

“We have really focused on getting the employee to the right specialist, as soon as the injury occurs,” said Emerson, who along with her teammates, won a Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award this year.

“We have really focused on getting the employee to the right specialist, as soon as the injury occurs.” — Susan Emerson, general manager, claims management, disability, leave and workers’ compensation claims, Delta Air Lines

L.A. Unified won the Teddy Award in 2008 for executing a stunning turnaround of the workers’ compensation and disability program at the second largest school district in the country.

Both Emerson and Watson said they focus on saying yes more than no. Settle cases reasonably, settle them quickly, and don’t badger injured people with utilization reviews if you can help it, they advise. &

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]