Wolf Horejsh was recently named the executive director of the IAIABC, a position she will take over in January with the retirement of Greg Krohm. Wolf Horejsh has been with the association for more than a decade, having started as an intern.
Wolf Horejsh said she looks forward to working with regulators, administrators, and private stakeholders to work through the challenges within the workers' comp system. Topping the list of immediate challenges are medical issues.
"We hear a lot about medical cost containment," Wolf Horejsh said. "From an association perspective, we'd like to shift that conversation not to be focused primarily on cost containment but ensuring the workers' comp community is aligning incentives to ensure high-quality medical care that results in good outcomes."
While a multitude of states have taken various approaches to address rising medical costs, Wolf Horejsh says no state "jumps to mind as having that magical formula that really gets it right" in terms of developing ways to ensure high-quality medical care. "Identifying the best delivery mechanisms for high-quality medical care in workers' comp will be imperative in coming years."
Technology is another area workers' comp stakeholders need to target. Wolf Horejsh says where people used to communicate via regular mail, now it's Twitter and instant messaging, she said. "That will change the way workers' comp business is conducted."
Staying abreast of changing technology and leveraging it are important. But she says along with that should be the preservation of the historical knowledge and experience of the workers' comp system.
"The IAIABC is a prime example. We have people who come together to share information because workers' comp is a complex business; it's been shaped by 100 years of history," she said. "Giving the next generation of leaders an understanding of the complexities and the history that went into shaping it is really important and it's something we should be addressing more prominently."
For the longer term, Wolf Horejsh says the IAIABC will try to foster a dialogue between more workers' comp participants. "The IAIABC was founded by CEOs and commissioners of these newly formed industrial commissions to cross-pollinate ideas," she said. "I hope that will continue to grow, but I also think that engaging the private industry, the employer community with labor groups, with the insurance industry, and with medical providers is critical in improving the future of workers' comp."
Finally, Wolf Horejsh would like to see a renewed emphasis on safety/prevention and disability management, which she says can have a positive impact on injured workers and employers. "A lot of research shows getting injured workers back as soon as possible is in their best interests, but also in the best interests of the employer community," she said. "I think the IAIABC is really going to look and discuss and reengage in those issues to see how regulatory and administrative and outreach policies can work to support safety/prevention and disability management."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 19, 2011
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