The 2016 Annual Issues Symposium by NCCI was a great experience in a number of ways. There were many memorable moments and important themes were discussed by a great cast of presenters; there was an abundance of soundbites generously dispersed by speakers to appeal to every personality type.
A memorable moment for me was hearing Bill Donnell, President & CEO of NCCI, kick off the conference and challenging attendees to be more vocal and make known the good happenings in Workers’ Compensation – bring more awareness to the things that are working well and fulfilling the goals of the Grand Bargain. Essentially, celebrate every win.
I was impressed and encouraged by the examples of companies that have experienced significant improvements in their Workers’ Compensation outcomes as a result of vigorous focus on Safety/Injury Prevention as well as compassion-driven, patient-centric Workers’ Compensation processes.
Iron Mountain, the nation’s leading data and document management company, improved its cost output in Comp claims from $14M in 2008 to $9M in 2014. The numbers in and of themselves are impressive. However, the metric is more impressive when you realize that the material impact is a combination of prevented injuries and injuries that occurred, but were handled optimally and returning the employee to health much faster than in prior years.
“Our system can, and does, achieve the goals of the Grand Bargain,” Donnell asserted.
A recent write up pointed out that Workers’ Compensation has “lots of caring, dedicated people who want to make a difference” and are, in fact, making a difference. Sharing these success stories will motivate, and hopefully mobilize, other members of the Workers’ Compensation eco-system to strive toward progress and challenge the status quo for the benefit of the people served by the system.
Donnell correctly stated, “We remain a system under the lens of a microscope.” Opponents of Workers’ Compensation don’t have to go far to hear a contradicting point of view about the effectiveness of the system. And while I don’t argue that the timing is right to revamp, and somewhat modernize, the Grand Bargain, I do not believe it is entirely dead or irrelevant.
A good parallel can be drawn here: We spend the majority of our time working/toiling with complex claims that represent a small percentage of the overall claim volume. Similarly, we consume the majority of our time dwelling on the things that are wrong with the system paying very little attention/time to the things that are right (and significantly outnumber the former).
I agree with Bill Donnell: We need to do better at celebrating every win. Every win should represent a person’s health restored.