2015 NWCDC

Commitment to Care

The Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award honors exceptional programs that innovate to produce the best results.
By: | November 11, 2015 • 2 min read

The worlds of workers’ comp and claims management grow more complex almost by the day. A workers’ comp program that used to be managed in-house by a handful of people now involves a far broader field of expertise, with a small army of specialty partners, each armed with terabytes of data.

For the past 20 years, Risk & Insurance® has given the Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award to exceptional programs that innovate to produce the best results.

But even the leaders of those top-notch programs of decades past would likely be bewildered trying to navigate the ins and outs of managing today’s workplace illness and injury challenges.

It was interesting to see that in addition to relying on advanced tools and strategies, the people leading top programs are out in the field, forging the kind of personal relationships necessary to drive meaningful progress.

It was interesting to see that in addition to relying on advanced tools and strategies, the people leading top programs are out in the field, forging the kind of personal relationships necessary to drive meaningful progress.

They also have a deep understanding of the fact that it doesn’t matter how you crunch the data, doing what’s right for injured employees will always be what’s right for the company.

A common thread among this year’s Teddy Award candidates was that top workers’ comp professionals don’t shy away from getting in the thick of things. They visit problem locations and engage with clinical personnel to discuss expectations and parameters.

Bringing Them Back

Only a decade ago, the return-to-work programs of many Teddy Award applicants could have been summed up as, “We bring employees back to work as soon as a doctor clears them to return to their jobs.”

In 2015, however, return-to-work is the arena where most Teddy Award applicants and winners shine brightest. Top programs exemplify an absolute commitment to bringing injured employees back to work safely, keeping them at work and eschewing the past trend of using “busywork” for light-duty jobs. They seek out ways that recovering employees can make meaningful and productive contributions to their workplaces.

We also noticed that a number of Teddy Award applicants and winners take a proactive approach to securing funding for these concerns, and ensuring that there aren’t any obstacles preventing employees from getting back to work.

And while there is still little collaboration between workers’ comp and group health at most companies, we saw evidence that some lines can blur, particularly when there is an obvious benefit to employees’ well-being and overall safety.

 

2016 Judges

Ron Ehrhardt, vice president of operational safety, Compass Group, a 2014 Teddy Award winner

Wendell Hughes, environmental, health and safety manager, Honda of South Carolina, a 2014 Teddy Award winner

2014 Risk All Star Patricia Hostine, former U.S. director of disability management at Flex-N-Gate

Mark Noonan, managing principal at Integro Insurance Brokers

Roberto Ceniceros, senior editor of Risk & Insurance® and co-chair of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo.

To read the full version of this story, click here.

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

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