7 Questions for MedRisk’s Danielle Lisenbey

Danielle Lisenbey made history by becoming the first female member of the Crawford & Co. Global Executive team. This November, she begins a new chapter as president at MedRisk.
By: | October 15, 2020

After a groundbreaking career with Crawford and Co., Danielle Lisenbey was named as president of MedRisk in October. Before her start date at the company in November, Risk & Insurance® sat down with Ms. Lisenbey to review the ins and outs of her new appointment and what’s in store next. Here are Ms. Lisenbey’s responses.

Risk & Insurance: For starters, what intrigued you about the opportunity to move over to MedRisk?

Danielle Lisenby: There were a couple of different aspects. First, it’s an opportunity to expand my capabilities as a leader in a different environment but still be tied to the industry that I have grown up in.

I believe it will provide an opportunity to look at the claims world through a different lens as our industry continues to evolve and innovate and as technology and services advance.

Second, it was the opportunity to work alongside leaders and team members in an organization that I have the utmost respect for and have known throughout my career, while also being able to assist them on their journey.

These are challenging times — a pandemic, hardening insurance markets, etc. — what priorities are top of mind for you as you move into this new position?

Three key priorities that will be top of mind for me will be: Ensuring we continue to care for and support patients and our employees; continue to excel in and advance our service to our clients; and that as an organization, we continue to evolve and innovate as the market and environments change.

Years ago, you asked our editors about the potential of telemedicine. How important a tool will telemedicine be for MedRisk this year and in coming years, and why?

This year, telemedicine has been an extremely important tool for all of us.

MedRisk launched its tele-rehabilitation program 3 years ago — so while no one could have predicted the access challenges created by the pandemic, the company was well positioned to handle the 863% increase in volume it has seen year-to-date.

The peak surge was in March, April and May — and while those high numbers slowly declined over subsequent months as states opened up, the volume of patients MedRisk is seeing via telerehab is still well above what they were last year at this time.

I believe telehealth is here to stay and will continue to play an important role in health care and in workers’ comp moving forward.

Do you have any concerns about the vastly increased use of telemedicine, things practitioners and workers’ comp execs need to be keeping an eye on?

I have no concerns about the vastly increased use of telemedicine. As noted previously, MedRisk had the foresight to develop an offering to support the evolution of care.

It is important we continue to have that mindset as we see shifts in the market and health care service delivery. The workers’ comp industry and the practitioners serving our patients need to keep an immediate eye on the fact that the pandemic has caused a slowdown of care for what was considered non-essential or non-emergency medical care.

Because of the pandemic and economic situation, it is highly likely that the needs of injured workers will have changed and the costs for their claims will rise. We will most likely face challenges in getting injured workers back on track with their care plans, as well as even simply getting them back to work.

It’s more important, now than ever, that all parties involved work collaboratively to address the pandemic consequences tied to workers’ compensation.

You made history, of a kind, by becoming the first female member of Crawford’s Global Executive team. How did it feel to break that specific glass ceiling?  What factors do you think led to that achievement?

It is interesting that being the first didn’t really set in until I was sitting in a meeting and it hit me that I was the only female in the room. I have always focused on working hard, working collaboratively and working towards strengthening my skills as a leader.

What I believe led to that achievement is not just those elements, but two other very important aspects: I raised my hand, saying it is what I wanted to achieve and stepped out of my comfort zone to get there. And second, I had leaders within the organization who supported and sponsored me along the way.

But once all that transpired, I felt with being the first, it was even more important to lead by example, to pave a path and to pay it forward, so that others could see that the potential exists and that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to.

We face a national reckoning over diversity, including racial and gender equality. How can you make MedRisk a more diverse, inclusive organization?

MedRisk has already made great strides in this area. The senior leadership has diversity and continues to embrace being an even more diverse, inclusive organization.

As an example, in June, they formed an internal “Diversity & Inclusion Call to Action Group.”

Through the generous support of MedRisk employees and the company’s matching contributions, over $23K was raised to support both social reform and education in the community, and the committee is currently working to build an internal collection of resource materials designed to educate and foster productive conversations within the company.

I’m looking forward to my start date in November and working with the leadership team on how we can continue to be deliberate with our actions around D&I while we continue to learn and grow as an organization. I also want to work closely with the committee to further the mission of tackling the issues of cultural diversity for all employees, including ethnicity, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation.

What key adaptations must the workers’ compensation profession make in coming years to be able to remain relevant and deliver quality service?

I believe key adaptations that the workers’ compensation profession needs to make in the coming years are a few things from a few different aspects:

  • Talent development. The Silver Tsunami is happening. We all know the statistics around the Baby Boomers who are retiring from our industry and the statistics around those coming in from early-career generations. We need to work better as an industry to welcome the next generations into our world, or all of us will have a talent crisis on our hands.
  • Open to change. Change is inevitable with how quickly technology changes and advances. We need to systematize and automate administrative and low value processes. We need to put tools and automation in the hands of our service delivery professionals so that they can deliver higher quality of service and focus on the needs of the injured workers while meeting clients’ expectations.
  • Being agile and nimble. We will not only evolve as an industry, but it will also take time and perseverance. It will be important as this transpires to be ready to move and to be light in our movement or action. We will have multiple generations we will be servicing with different needs and expectations. It will be important to be able to adapt to their needs, which will require us to being agile and nimble in our thinking and approach. &

Emma Brenner is a staff writer with Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected].

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