Risk Management

The Profession

At McKesson, Jane Sandler blends her passions for risk management and health care to help the organization develop innovative, forward-thinking solutions.
By: | December 14, 2016 • 4 min read

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R&I What was your first job?

My first paycheck came from bagging groceries at Kroger. I didn’t have a car and had to walk to work. My ultimate goal was to save enough money for my first car. The very car I later drove to my first insurance job in an underwriting department. It was a great feeling.

R&I How did you come to work in risk management?

Growing up in a state-controlled environment of the former Soviet Union, risk management was not on my radar. I have always had a passion for health care as it touches and influences the lives of so many. I was pre-med when a friend told me about her major – risk management and insurance. It seemed fascinating.

R&I What is the risk management community doing right?

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One of the things I appreciate the most about our industry is the depth of relationships. Trust and integrity are crucial. Risk managers form long-standing partnerships with insurers and other industry colleagues, enabling us to support each other and excel during challenging times.

At the core of everything risk managers do lays the desire to prevent injuries, enable new opportunities and protect our enterprise against volatility.

R&I What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

We could do a better job of attracting young talent. There is a stigma associated with the insurance industry — it’s perceived as boring, and that could not be further from the truth. I’ve been stretched and challenged every step of the way and feel that this is one of the more engaging professions.

I serve on the board of trustees for the Georgia State University Risk Management Foundation and one of our strategic initiatives focuses on educating college recruits on the breadth of opportunities afforded by our industry.

R&I What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

In my 20 years in the industry, risk managers have made a huge move from being “insurance and claim guys” to becoming a trusted business adviser to the C-suite. We’ve embraced that we cannot eliminate or insure all risk. Risk-taking is an essential part of any business opportunity. But what we can do is partner with key stakeholders to better understand the risk and empower innovative solutions.

R&I What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

It’s the risks associated with new technological breakthroughs and legislative developments. Most recent examples in the health care industry are interconnectivity and value-based reimbursements. In the early stages of any initiative, much is undefined.

R&I Who is your mentor and why?

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I have been very lucky to meet many colleagues along the way that have opened doors, given me a chance and shared their expertise. Deanna Allen gave me my first opportunity in health care risk management, welcomed me with open arms, pushed me and really helped me grow in my early career.

Another individual who comes to mind is Allan Bogenschutz. He’s one of the best colleagues you could have, always willing to share his candid feedback. Allan has been a great sounding board and adviser to me over the years.

R&I What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Having emigrated here at the age of 17 from Ukraine, successfully establishing a new life is a point of both pride and immense gratitude to everyone who helped me along the way.  I am appreciative of the freedom and opportunities this country affords to anyone who’s willing to work hard and apply themselves.

R&I What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Riding on an ATV with my husband. It was all fun and games until he flipped us over. So, my zip-lining experience, in comparison, was very safe.

R&I What is your favorite book or movie?

“Kafka on the Shore” by Haruki Murakami.

R&I What is your favorite drink?

Absinth.

R&I What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

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Travel is my escape and it is hard to narrow down the wonders of the world to just one. I would say for architecture it’s the magic of Gaudi’s Barcelona. For nature, it’s the grandeur of the Alps.

R&I What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

The most fulfilling part is blazing new trails and developing innovative solutions to support my company’s growth. I am very grateful for the opportunity McKesson has afforded me in leading the risk management department in a new direction. I am lucky to have an incredibly talented global team.

We are very focused on quantification of risk in a way that is easy to communicate across the organization. McKesson’s leadership team values the role and contribution of the risk management function.

R&I What do your friends and family think you do?

I talk about it so much, I am pretty sure they know exactly what I do! To my kids, I explained that it’s planning in advance and having a plan B. Last time we were at the beach in the fall, their shoes got soaking wet and we had a spare pair in the car. I think they got it.




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

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2017 Teddy Awards

The Era of Engagement

The very best workers’ compensation programs are the ones where workers aren’t just the subject of the program, they’re a part of it.
By: | November 1, 2017 • 5 min read

Employee engagement, employee advocacy, employee participation — these are common threads running through the programs we honor this year in the 2017 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Awards, sponsored by PMA Companies.

A panel of judges — including workers’ comp executives who actively engage their own employees — selected this year’s winners on the basis of performance, sustainability, innovation and teamwork. The winners hail from different industries and regions, but all make people part of the solution to unique challenges.

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Valley Health System is all-too keenly aware of the risk of violence in health care settings, running the gamut from disruptive patients to grieving, overwrought family members to mentally unstable active shooters.

Valley Health employs a proactive and comprehensive plan to respond to violent scenarios, involving its Code Atlas Team — 50 members of the clinical staff and security departments who undergo specialized training. Valley Health drills regularly, including intense annual active shooter drills that involve participation from local law enforcement.

The drills are unnerving for many, but the program is making a difference — the health system cut its workplace violence injuries in half in the course of just one year.

“We’re looking at patient safety and employee safety like never before,” said Barbara Schultz, director of employee health and wellness.

At Rochester Regional Health’s five hospitals and six long-term care facilities, a key loss driver was slips and falls. The system’s mandatory safety shoe program saw only moderate take-up, but the reason wasn’t clear.

Rather than force managers to write up non-compliant employees, senior manager of workers’ compensation and employee safety Monica Manske got proactive, using a survey as well as one-on-one communication to suss out the obstacles. After making changes based on the feedback, shoe compliance shot up from 35 percent to 85 percent, contributing to a 42 percent reduction in lost-time claims and a 46 percent reduction in injuries.

For the shoe program, as well as every RRH safety initiative, Manske’s team takes the same approach: engaging employees to teach and encourage safe behaviors rather than punishing them for lapses.

For some of this year’s Teddy winners, success was born of the company’s willingness to make dramatic program changes.

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Delta Air Lines made two ambitious program changes since 2013. First it adopted an employee advocacy model for its disability and leave of absence programs. After tasting success, the company transitioned all lines including workers’ compensation to an integrated absence management program bundled under a single TPA.

While skeptics assume “employee advocacy” means more claims and higher costs, Delta answers with a reality that’s quite the opposite. A year after the transition, Delta reduced open claims from 3,479 to 1,367, with its total incurred amount decreased by $50.1 million — head and shoulders above its projected goals.

For the Massachusetts Port Authority, change meant ending the era of having a self-administered program and partnering with a TPA. It also meant switching from a guaranteed cost program to a self-insured program for a significant segment of its workforce.

Massport’s results make a great argument for embracing change: The organization saved $21 million over the past six years. Freeing up resources allowed Massport to increase focus on safety as well as medical management and chopped its medical costs per claim in half — even while allowing employees to choose their own health care providers.

Risk & Insurance® congratulates the 2017 Teddy Award winners and holds them in high esteem for their tireless commitment to a safe workforce that’s fully engaged in its own care. &

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More coverage of the 2017 Teddy Award Winners and Honorable Mentions:

Advocacy Takes Off: At Delta Air Lines, putting employees first is the right thing to do, for employees and employer alike.

 

Proactive Approach to Employee SafetyThe Valley Health System shifted its philosophy on workers’ compensation, putting employee and patient safety at the forefront.

 

Getting It Right: Better coordination of workers’ compensation risk management spelled success for the Massachusetts Port Authority.

 

Carrots: Not SticksAt Rochester Regional Health, the workers’ comp and safety team champion employee engagement and positive reinforcement.

 

Fit for Duty: Recognizing parallels between athletes and public safety officials, the city of Denver made tailored fitness training part of its safety plan.

 

Triage, Transparency and TeamworkWhen the City of Surprise, Ariz. got proactive about reining in its claims, it also took steps to get employees engaged in making things better for everyone.

A Lesson in Leadership: Shared responsibility, data analysis and a commitment to employees are the hallmarks of Benco Dental’s workers’ comp program.

 

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]