2017 NWCDC

Shift Into Advocacy

The 2017 Teddy Award winners share their winning workers' comp strategies.
By: | December 8, 2017 • 2 min read

An undercurrent of mutual distrust between employers and injured workers has long marked the workers’ comp industry. That dynamic is giving way to an environment that fosters trust, drives better outcomes and reduces litigation.

This people-focused approach underpins the four programs honored with the 2017 Teddy Award, sponsored by PMA Companies. Leaders of the winning programs gathered on Dec. 7 at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference in Las Vegas.

Frank Rivera, director, risk management and workers’ comp, Massachusetts Port Authority

One of the most dramatic elements of Valley Health System’s program is an annual active shooter drill that is as effective as it is intense. Its most recent drill, in October, involved two active shooters, a hostage situation and officers firing blanks.

“The smell of gunfire, the sound of gunfire, left an impression on me that I’ll never forget,” said Barbara Schultz, the system’s director of employee health and wellness.

At the Massachusetts Port Authority, employees choose their own treating physicians, even though state law allows employers to direct care.

“By mandating that the first visit was with Dr. So-and-So, it immediately established an adversarial relationship,” said Frank Rivera, Massport’s director of risk management and workers’ comp.

“The smell of gunfire, the sound of gunfire, left an impression on me that I’ll never forget.” — Barbara Shultz, director of employee health and wellness, Valley Health System

Rochester Regional Health decided to tackle its slip and fall problem with a safety shoe program, but initial buy-in was low. The workers’ comp team engaged employees face to face and discovered they simply disliked the shoes, said Monica Manske, the system’s senior manager of workers’ comp and employee safety.

The system’s costly slip and fall injuries fell to zero in 2016.

Delta Air Lines has a formal employee advocacy program that’s focused on getting the best possible treatment. Delta, which expects employees to provide a high level of service to customers, is committed to giving its people the same, said Susan Emerson, general manager, claims management, disability, leave & work comp claims. &

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]