When Faced With Workers’ Comp Chaos, This Risk Manager Restructured the Way Claims Were Handled
As a veteran risk manager, Kathleen Peck was brought in to help MVP Staffing come to grips with serious problems: Workers’ compensation claims were five or six times the normal rate, with far too few workers returning to the job after an injury.
Seeking out the root cause, what she discovered brought to mind the classic Agatha Christie mystery “Murder on the Orient Express,” because everyone did it.
Peck found problems everywhere. Some client companies were placing temporary workers in potentially dangerous situations; some workers seemed more interested in getting hurt and filing claims than in productive employment; claims managers were unable to cope; and underwriters were indifferent.
All this at a staffing company that would place tens of thousands of employees each day.
“We were faced with some predatory employers who did not care about their temporary employees,” said Peck, “and we also faced some predatory employees who would go to work with the intention of getting hurt.
“The previous team here did not have a strong risk management or claims background, and the legacy carrier just sat on their hands and cut checks.”
Peck cleaned house. Of the 17 people in her group when she started, only two remain. Her predecessor had already ended the relationship with the legacy carrier, so Peck had to close cases with the old one and find a new one better aligned with the company’s needs.
She instituted a strict new return-to-work policy based around light duty and professional nursing oversight.
“Kathleen is passionate,” said Pat McSay, a registered nurse and area sales manager for Genex Services, the managed-care provider that Peck brought in. She also has a clear and detailed vision of what it will take to meet her goals.
“Based on her many years in workers’ comp, she knows the tools and knows which ones will work. I had supervisors who said, ‘Well, she is going to need other things …’ Kathleen was polite but firm and clear about what she needed. She was precise. She stresses teamwork and communication, and not only does she listen to feedback, she implements it when it makes sense.”
“We can work with any restriction, we just need the release from the doctor. We want to get into the return-to-work mindset before anyone settles into the disability mindset.” — Kathleen Peck, director of risk management, MVP Staffing
Peck has had great success with the light-duty return-to-work program. “My team assesses each case. If their previous employment placement cannot accommodate them, they go to Genex. We can work with any restriction, we just need the release from the doctor. We want to get into the return-to-work mindset before anyone settles into the disability mindset. Usually we have a light-duty job offer within 48 hours.”
Nonprofits are an excellent fit for light duty, said Peck.
“They are happy to have anyone, and can work with restrictions,” she said. Employees can refuse a nonprofit placement, but a rejection allows MVP to move to close the claim. &