During our time at RIMS 2014, we had Workers’ Comp industry stakeholders participate in WorkCompWire’s “4 For 14” series, focused on what to look for this year and in the future! Here’s what Ron Skrocki, Vice President Product Management/Development at GENEX Services had to say:
1. What do you believe will be the most significant development in the Worker’s Comp industry in 2014?
It is hard to name one single development. I think a lot of it comes down to how we will all handle fuller employment as the economy continues to expand. Many of those representing the expanded labor market will be baby boomers who are postponing retirement. We’ll be managing more claims that must incorporate strategies to care for aging workers. Plus, we’ll be seeing more injuries in office and retail settings and fewer in traditional manufacturing settings. We’ll likely be seeing not only more claims, but a lot more push from payers to better manage and control those claims. There is, however, one thread tying all of these factors together: the need for information to predict, manage, benchmark and continuously improve programs. There’s too much happening and too much uncertainty in the market today. Payers will be pushing their vendors and partners to get information from data that will help them make meaningful decisions so they can better manage all the changes occurring in the market.
2. What is the top issue/problem you and your organization are currently grappling with?
We think one of the single most important steps payers can take to improve virtually any claim – at virtually any point in the claims’ cycle – is nurse case management. Nurse intervention improves outcomes, ensures compliance, gets people to work faster and lowers costs. Nurses often develop a special bond with injured workers – one that translates into not only better results, but better overall satisfaction. But we need to work harder to help our clients understand the value of nurse case management and how it affects medical and indemnity spend. That clinical intervention from nursing is so important – and again – we will be working diligently to help our clients better understand that value.
3. Looking out 5 years, beyond obvious trends, what do you think one big change in the Workers’ Comp industry will be?
This is another topic where it’s almost impossible to pinpoint just one change. We will all need to monitor the still to be determined, state by state impact of the Affordable Care Act on workers’ compensation (potential issues include: access to care, general health improvement, cost and claim shifting). Perhaps it is that overall issue of what is happening at state levels that is the big change on the horizon. For example, another area that’s of interest to us is a growing trend in states expanding non-participation and opt-out options, as well as work comp being pulled into the employee benefit. That’s going to significantly change the market and make programs that emphasize, collaboration, integration and data sharing – which is what we think we bring to the table – all the more important. We have considerable experience in non-participating states. We know the challenges and issues; and it does create the need for more education and collaboration. We view that as an opportunity for employers to talk about the value that excellent networks, with providers dedicated to offering the best care possible, can bring to injured workers.
4. What is one thing you’d like to promote?
As noted, meaningful data and analysis is going to be critical for payers in the coming years. Data helps identify the best providers, it helps develop the best treatment guidelines, which lead to better outcomes and it helps payers to identify trends and patterns. But the solution isn’t data alone; that in and of itself isn’t what will help payers. The key is applying that analytic knowledge in a way that helps payers make better decisions so that the process of improving programs can be continuous and always focused on driving improvements and better outcomes.
About Ron Skrocki
Ron Skrocki, Vice President of Product Management and Development, manages the product leaders for the disability management and medical bill review services. Additionally, he directs the developers and analysts associated with customer-facing applications, including secure web tools for customer reporting, case management, and medical bill authorizations.
Prior to joining GENEX in 2004, Skrocki held national level leadership positions in business and product development, sales, and operations. His more than 20 years of industry experience spans the information technology sector specifically related to data management and systems development.
After graduating from Philadelphia University with a bachelor’s degree in business management, he earned a master’s degree in computer science from Villanova University.