During our time at NWCDC 2014, we had Workers’ Comp industry stakeholders participate in WorkCompWire’s “3 For NWCDC” series, focused on this year’s developments and on improving the system! Here’s what Dr. Raz Winiarsky, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Spreemo had to say:
1. Looking back on 2014, what do you believe was the most significant development for the Workers’ Comp industry?
From our perspective in digital healthcare, 2014 was the year that the workers’ compensation industry realized that the traditional way of doing business is no longer working. Although we continue to cut reimbursements to providers, costs continue to rise – and quality is not improving. We’ve encountered the great American healthcare paradox – despite paying more than ever, we’re getting less and less in return. The biggest cost driver used to be lost wages, but now it is medical (think poor patient outcomes, chronic pharmaceutical management) that is driving increased costs. I speak to employers and risk managers across the nation and we’re hearing the same thing again and again – patients, in particular those with back injuries, are not improving. Ultimately, the industry is paying more and more to treat worker’s injuries, yet this treatment has not been terribly effective in getting the workers better. As a result, we’re all looking for a different way, a new way, a better way in which workers health will be restored and overall cost will be reduced.
2. If you could wave your magic wand, and instantly change one thing about 1) Workers’ Comp and 2) your business, what would you change?
The solution to overcoming the aforementioned paradox lies in aligning incentives for payers, providers and stakeholders. The magic wand is a system where everyone is working together for their mutual benefit – patients thrive, and the costs across the board are lowered.
The first step toward this kind of collaboration is an active, honest and respectful discourse. Solutions arise when all the stakeholders can come together in a forum where they feel like their concerns will be heard. If we create a system where stakeholders have greater communication and trust, we can work together to reduce risk, decrease cost and most importantly improve care for injured workers. Fortunately, we think magic isn’t necessary to make this a reality.
3. What is one thing you’d like to promote?
We’d like to promote a realistic optimism that the existing system can be fixed and that patients can do better. The $37 billion the workers comp industry spends on medical care gives it incredible power and responsibility to create change. By focusing its energy on quality of care, open dialogue and aligned incentives, the workers’ comp industry can help lead the way in reshaping American healthcare.
About Dr. Raz Winiarsky
Raz Winiarsky, M.D., is Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Spreemo, a value-driven digital health platform that enables connectivity and collaboration amongst payers and providers in order drive better healthcare.
Dr. Winiarsky is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic surgery. Dr. Winiarsky received his MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and underwent his orthopedic surgical training at University of Pennsylvania. Subsequently, Dr. Winiarsky completed a fellowship in Joint Reconstruction at The Hospital for Special Surgery, one of the most selective fellowship programs in the nation.
Presently, Dr. Winiarsky is an Attending Orthopedic Surgeon at Beth Israel Medical Center in NY and Englewood Hospital in NJ; he is the Director of Orthopedics at Brooklyn Premier Orthopedics, which is the official sponsor of the Brooklyn Nets and one of the largest orthopedic centers in the region; Dr. Winiarsky is also Assistant Clinical Professor of Orthopedics at SUNY Downstate Medical Center; and he is a member of the AmComp Board.