2020 Risk All Star: Jeff Strege

‘Onward and Upward’: How This Senior Director of Risk Management Used His Personal Motto to Protect Sysco Workers

Jeff Strege, senior director of risk management, Sysco

Sysco, the global leader in foodservice, operates more than 320 distribution facilities worldwide and serves more than 650,000 customer locations. In such a large workers’ compensation program, it’s almost inevitable that organizing claims data would present a challenge.

Over the years, Sysco had formed partnerships with multiple vendors that ultimately resulted in a fractured and inefficient approach to technology and data analytics.

Jeff Strege, senior director of risk management, saw untapped potential in the company’s vast stores of claims data.

Integrating this data and utilizing a central platform to manage claims across the organization, he believed, could enable earlier identification of and intervention in potentially complex cases.

“Jeff Strege’s motto is ‘onward and upward.’ He looks at every step as an opportunity to improve or reassess making sure everything is being done to achieve Sysco’s goals,” said Joyce Lumpkin, SVP, CorVel. Strege partnered with CorVel and Aon to implement an integrated, web-based technology platform and got to work pulling in data old and new.

“We made a change in third party administrators in the middle of 2018, which included management of historical claims as well as newly arising claims. So, we had a sizable data set to convert from the former TPA to the new TPA, and then from the new TPA into Sysco’s risk management information system,” Strege said.

“One of the most work-intensive aspects of this was data-mapping. Trying to marry up various data sources can be a challenge, because the data fields don’t always align neatly. I am very proud of my data analytics team. They did a lot of really good work with our various service partners to achieve the optimal mapping that enhances the data integrity and in turn, helps us deliver the best possible result.”

Strege worked with CorVel to develop a claims closure initiative that prioritized long-tail claims as they were migrated to the new system. Within six months, a significant number of those claims were closed. Across new workers’ comp claims, closure rates increased, while average cost per claim declined.

The risk management team also implemented a 24/7 telehealth and nurse triage program, allowing immediate evaluation of injured workers. In many less serious cases, nurses were able to instruct basic first aid on the spot that negated the need to seek further care and avoided claims altogether.

Strege and his team also homed in on opioid prescriptions. Using CorVel’s pharmacy model, the team began generating pharmacy risk scores incorporating opioid data which, similar to predictive modeling, enabled earlier intervention. Average opioid day supply dropped substantially as a result.

“I can’t stress enough that the focus of our strategy for managing workers’ comp claims is squarely on the healing, recovery and return-to-work of our associates. I’ve learned from experience when we focus on the quality of care, they stand the best possible chance of a full recovery and return-to-work, and that’s what the system is designed to accomplish,” Strege said. &

Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, clarity of vision and passion.

See the complete list of 2020 Risk All Stars.

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