Ideas Worth Stealing
Engaging employees to help prevent injuries, and to drive down claims costs and lost time was a common theme among the winners of the 2016 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Awards.
Representatives from three of the winning companies shared their strategies on Thursday morning during the “Steal these Ideas!” session at the 25th National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo.
Hampton Roads Transit engaged its employees with a safety perception survey to better identify where to direct their efforts.
“Workers are advocating for themselves,” said Jennifer Massey, corporate director of safety, health and claims management, Harder Mechanical.
“We learned that employees did not feel that they could speak about safety issues,” said Danielle Hill, human resources compliance manager, Hampton Roads Transit.
HRT used the survey results to identify further strategies for improvement, and now conducts town hall meetings to keep the dialogue open.
Harder Mechanical Contractors engages employees in the return-to-work process immediately, clearly communicating the benefits of remaining at work during recovery.
Workers, in turn, talk to their treating physicians and insist that they not be taken off work.
“Workers are advocating for themselves,” said Jennifer Massey, corporate director of safety, health and claims management, Harder Mechanical.
Excela Health markets its safety initiatives aggressively, engaging employees to police themselves and each other.
Laurie English, senior vice president and chief human resource officer, Excela Health, said it’s not uncommon for an employee say to another, “You better not let the safety department see you – you have the wrong shoes on!”
The panel was moderated by Roberto Ceniceros, senior editor at Risk & Insurance® and chairman of NWCDC, and John Santulli, executive vice president of PMA Cos., the sponsor of this year’s Teddy Awards.
Congratulations to all of the winners of the 2016 Teddy Awards.
Improve the Well-Being of Every Life
Excela Health, a health care network operating three hospitals in western Pennsylvania, abides by its mission to improve the health and well-being of every life it touches.
“When we wrote that mission statement about 10 years ago, ‘every life we touched’ was supposed to encompass not only our patients, but our employees and everyone who is here,” said Chief Medical Officer Carol Fox.
Taking extra care of its employees comes with an added bonus — it helped Excela deeply reduce workers’ compensation claims in the process.
Excela’s across-the-board efforts earn the hospital a 2016 Teddy Award. The numbers speak for themselves: Excela lowered workers’ compensation paid claims costs to $124,076 last year from $859,515 in 2008.
The hospital managed injured employees with a creative and robust return-to-work program and added around-the-clock support from an on-call nursing team. Then it bolstered employee wellness programs and attacked the top causes of workplace injury.
Excela was formed in 2004 with the merger of three regional Pennsylvania hospitals: Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant; Latrobe Hospital in Latrobe; and Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg. The combined health system is the largest employer in the region with more than 4,500 employees.
Excela also runs a home health care and hospice company with 206 workers making more than 275 home visits each day. And there’s a physician practice that employs another 900 people in 98 locations.
That’s a lot of opportunity for accidents and yet just 62 employees filed an OSHA recordable claim in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, down from 233 in fiscal year 2008.
Return to Work Program
A big part of Excela’s efforts is its Temporary Transitional Return to Work Program, launched in 2010 to encourage employees to remain productive after a work-related injury or illness.
“We keep them working and keep them engaged and we care about them,” said Laurie English, Excela’s chief human resource officer.
Excela has been able to put about 95 percent of injured workers in this program. “That’s truly where the cost reduction has happened,” English said.
Take for example cardiac nurse Ruth Ann Martin. She snagged her foot on a computer cord while getting up to answer a patient’s call a few years ago. She tumbled and her kneecap — taking the brunt of the fall — shattered.
After four decades of working at the hospital without so much as a scratch, the injury sidelined her for a month. After she fell, Martin was met in the emergency room by Eileen Kantorik, an occupational health coordinator, who opened a worker’s compensation case for her.
“We keep them working and keep them engaged and we care about them.” — Laurie English, chief human resource officer, Excela Health
Kantorik has stayed by Martin’s side ever since. She found Martin transportation back and forth to the hospital once she was cleared to return to work. She arranged assistance for Martin, who initially needed a walker, to her desk once she arrived. Kantorik checked in on Martin throughout her recovery and was accessible by cell phone after-hours.
“It made me feel better,” Martin said. “They walked me through everything. It helped a lot because you have the fear of the unknown and without that support it would have been a lot harder.”
As she recovered, Martin was approved to perform scaled-back jobs at the same rate of pay. She has since fully recovered and returned to her previous nursing job. Excela recently celebrated her 45th anniversary at the hospital.
“Where there is an unsafe working condition we feel we owe it to our employees to get them back to 100 percent as quickly as possible,” English said.
“We found having the employee in their department, with the people around them that they normally socialize with, helped to keep them engaged and back to full duty quicker.”
Nurse on Call Program
A Nurse on Call program is another new way Excela captured big cost savings by directing employees to its Employee Health department immediately after an injury. Certified occupational health coordinators such as Kantorik advise employees with significant injuries how best to navigate the workers’ compensation process.
This approach gets employees the most appropriate and cost-effective treatment. If an employee’s injury happens after business hours, or on a weekend or holiday, a Nurse on Call (NOC) initiates the process.
In the past, since Excela runs hospitals, its injured employees instinctively walked to the emergency department for treatment, adding unnecessary expense to the claim.
Excela changed that behavior and got staff comfortable with working with an employee health coordinator using best workers’ comp practices.
Employee Health gets employees seen by the appropriate medical specialist and then back on the job, at full pay, as quickly as possible.
This helps the employee avoid using unnecessary vacation or sick time off, said Mary Blackburn, supervisor of employee safety.
“People who have been injured at work have come to really appreciate that program because they have somebody that’s watching after them and ensuring that things are happening the way things are supposed to be happening,” Fox said.
Tackling the Top Hazards
Excela didn’t just improve the way they cared for employees after an injury. They also established a team that would spring to action to study what caused the accident and how to prevent it in the future.
“We are looking at keeping injuries from ever happening,” said David Byers, director of support services and safety.
“If we can keep that from happening in the first place, we don’t have the injury and we don’t have any of the costs to go along with it.”
After Ruth Ann Martin, the nurse, tripped on the extension cord and busted her knee, Excela’s safety team tied up every cord at every work station off the floor throughout the entire health network. They even redesigned all conference rooms to eliminate cord clutter.
Of all the risks, Excela’s research initially ranked exposure to blood and body fluids (BBFs) as the No. 1 occupational hazard — that’s needle sticks and other sharp-related injuries which can potentially expose workers to blood borne pathogens such as hepatitis or HIV.
In one case, a phlebotomist was in the middle of the blood draw when a nurse quickly entered the room. The phlebotomist flinched, causing the needle to dislodge and stick her.
When the safety team studied the event, they realized there was no mechanism in place to alert staff when a blood draw is under way.
They set to work to create a broad solution with a program called “Get the Point.” It involves staff training and a hospital-wide flag system on all patient rooms with colored signage indicating the safety hazards within.
What’s on Your Feet?
When digging into other top injuries, Excela discovered employees were getting hurt on their way to and from work. Falls and fractures spiked during inclement weather.
The Safety and Occupational Health Department launched “What’s On Your Feet?” They greeted arriving employees with safety materials and LifeSavers candy at the entrances as a fun way to encourage appropriate footwear. It worked. Entering work became a red carpet moment as employees playfully showed off shoes to safety advocates each morning.
It all falls under their mission to improve the health and well-being of every life Excela touches.
“That’s the Holy Grail,” Fox said. “We want everybody to be at least as good, and hopefully better, when they leave here.” &
Read more about the 2016 Teddy Award winners:
Bringing Focus to Broad Challenges: Target brings home a 2016 Teddy Award for serving as an advocate for its workers, pre- and post-injury, across each of its many operations.
The Road to Success: Accountability and collaboration turned Hampton Roads Transit’s legacy workers’ compensation program into a triumph.
Improve the Well-Being of Every Life: Excela Health changed the way it treated injuries and took a proactive approach to safety, drastically reducing workers’ comp claims and costs.
The Family That’s Safe Together: An unwavering commitment to zero lost time is just one way that Harder Mechanical Contractors protects the lives and livelihoods of its workers.
More coverage of the 2016 Teddy Awards:
Recognizing Excellence: The judges of the 2016 Teddy Awards reflect on what they learned, and on the value of awards programs in the workers’ comp space.
Fit for Duty: 2013 Teddy Winner Miami-Dade County Public Schools is managing comorbid risk factors by getting employees excited about healthy living.
Saving Time and Money: Applying Lean Six Sigma to its workers’ comp processes earned Atlantic Health a Teddy Award Honorable Mention.
Caring for the Caregivers: Adventist Health Central Valley Network is achieving stellar results by targeting its toughest challenges.
Advocating for Injured Workers: By helping employees navigate through the workers’ comp system, Cottage Health decreased lost work days by 80 percent.
A Matter of Trust: St. Luke’s workers’ comp program is built upon relationships and a commitment to care for those who care for patients.
Keeping the Results Flowing: R&I recognizes the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago for a commonsense approach that’s netting continuous improvement.
Hot Hacks That Leave You Cold
Thousands of dollars lost at the blink of an eye, and systems shut down for weeks. It might sound like something out of a movie, but it’s becoming more and more of a reality thanks to modern hackers. As technology evolves and becomes more sophisticated, so do the occurrence of cyber breaches.
“The more we rely on technology, the more everything becomes interconnected,” said Jackie Lee, associate vice president, Cyber Liability at Nationwide. “We are in an age where our car is a giant computer, and we can turn on our air conditioners with our phones. Everyone holds data. It’s everywhere.”
Phishing Out Fraud
According to Lee, phishing is on the rise as one of the most common forms of cyber attacks. What used to be easy to identify as fraudulent has become harder to distinguish. Gone are the days of the emails from the Nigerian prince, which have been replaced with much more sophisticated—and tricky—techniques that could extort millions.
“A typical phishing email is much more legitimate and plausible,” Lee said. “It could be an email appearing to be from human resources at annual benefits enrollment or it could be a seemingly authentic message from the CFO asking to release an invoice.”
According to Lee, the root of phishing is behavior and analytics. “Hackers can pick out so much from a person’s behavior, whether it’s a key word in an engagement survey or certain times when they are logging onto VPN.”
On the flip side, behavior also helps determine the best course of action to prevent phishing.
“When we send an exercise email to test how associates respond to phishing, we monitor who has clicked the first round, then a second round,” she said. “We look at repeat offenders and also determine if there is one exercise that is more susceptible. Once we understand that, we can take the right steps to make sure employees are trained to be more aware and recognize a potentially fraudulent email.”
Lee stressed that phishing can affect employees at all levels.
“When the exercise is sent out, we find that 20 percent of the opens are from employees at the executive level,” she said. “It’s just as important they are taking the right steps to ensure they are practicing what they are preaching.”
Locking Down Ransomware
Another hot hacking ploy is ransomware, a type of property-related cyber attack that prevents or limits users from accessing their system unless a ransom is paid. The average ransom request for a business is around $10,000. According to the FBI, there were 2,400 ransomware complaints in 2015, resulting in total estimated losses of more than $24 million. These threats are expected to increase by 300% this year alone.
“These events are happening, and businesses aren’t reporting them,” Lee said.
In the last five years, government entities saw the largest amount of ransomware attacks. Lee added that another popular target is hospitals.
After a recent cyber attack, a hospital in Los Angeles was without its crucial computer programs until it paid the hackers $17,000 to restore its systems.
Lee said there is beginning to be more industry-wide awareness around ransomware, and many healthcare organizations are starting to buy cyber insurance and are taking steps to safeguard their electronic files.
“A hospital holds an enormous amount of data, but there is so much more at stake than just the computer systems,” Lee said. “All their medical systems are technology-based. To lose those would be catastrophic.”
And though not all situations are life-or-death, Lee does emphasize that any kind of property loss could be crippling. “On a granular scale, you look at everything from your car to your security system. All data storage points could be controlled and compromised at some point.”
The Future of Cyber Liability
According to Lee, the Cyber product, which is still in its infancy, is poised to affect every line of business. She foresees underwriting offering more expertise in crime and becoming more segmented into areas of engineering, property, and automotive to address ongoing growing concerns.”
“Cyber coverage will become more than a one-dimensional product,” she said. “I see a large gap in coverage. Consistency is evolving, and as technology evolves, we are beginning to touch other lines. It’s no longer about if a breach will happen. It’s when.”
About Nationwide’s Cyber Solutions
Nationwide’s cyber liability coverage includes a service-based solution that helps mitigate losses. Whether it’s loss prevention resources, breach response and remediation expertise, or an experienced claim team, Nationwide’s comprehensive package of services will complement and enhance an organization’s cyber risk profile.
Nationwide currently offers up to $15 million in limits for Network Security, Data Privacy, Technology E&O, and First Party Business Interruption.
Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Not all Nationwide affiliated companies are mutual companies, and not all Nationwide members are insured by a mutual company. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review, and approval. Products and discounts not available to all persons in all states. Home Office: One Nationwide Plaza, Columbus, OH. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and other marks displayed on this page are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, unless otherwise disclosed. © 2016 Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Nationwide. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.