As we close out 2022, workers’ comp professionals have much to reflect on. Fortunately, having managed our way through the most dramatic societal disruption of the last 100 years, our industry has proven its resiliency and readiness for the transformational opportunities before us, despite issues that persist. Whether it’s workforce changes, inflation, supply chains or politics, each new challenge comes with an opportunity to improve outcomes of the people we serve.
And as we continue into 2023, we must prepare for what lies ahead with the wisdom of lessons learned from years past. With that in mind, experts from Enlyte offer some top trends in workers’ comp and predictions on how they will impact our industry in the year ahead.
Adapting to an Evolving Workforce
To manage issues brought on by the Great Resignation, the P&C industry must continue leveraging employees’ talents by automating manual tasks and surfacing the work and the data that workers need most. Claims processing systems equipped with machine learning, decision-support systems and robotic process automation not only improve efficiency for claims organizations, they allow employees to spend time where it makes the most difference. These solutions also make onboarding new claims professionals easier, with modern tools that new generations of employees expect.
As remote work continues to become the norm, ergonomic injuries could potentially represent a larger proportion of workers’ comp claims. For this reason, Employers will need to spend more time evaluating prevention strategies and programs to address home office setup and employee well-being.
In addition to addressing physical concerns, there are significant mental health implications as well. The World Health Organization has reported a 25% increase in the prevalence of depression and anxiety worldwide, largely attributed to employees transitioning to work from home environments. Now that employees have adjusted to a work-from-home lifestyle, 72% report a different outlook on work-life balance, focusing more on their mental well-being.
Given the shift to remote or hybrid work has evolved to a more permanent state, companies need to establish new best practices when it comes to mental and physical well-being initiatives, and the tools and technology that create a new, better employee experience.
Managing Supply Chain and Inflation Effects on Injured Employees’ Recovery
Restoring injured employees to their highest level of functioning depends greatly on the supply chain of materials and services needed to help them recover. This includes a variety of specialty services such as medical supplies, durable medical equipment, home health services, home modifications, transportation, and imaging and diagnostics. Rising costs and shortages related to parts for medical equipment, transportation, shipping and warehousing all continue to influence the availability of these needed services and supplies. The full impact of these concerns is being felt across many areas of the workers’ comp sector, putting an increased focus on the need for a robust claims supply chain.
To combat this, specialty networks can play a huge role in filling gaps in ensuring injured employees receive the equipment and services they need when they need them. Quality networks have the ability to access data sources for DME to recognize and combat shortages and engage with national transportation networks regularly to incentivize drivers by not passing costs along to them. Specialty network programs are also engaging with new provider types to expand existing diagnostic networks, building relationships with hospital groups and outpatient or standalone facilities. They’re also prepared to fill gaps in home health shortages through strong relationships with national providers who share data and work hand in hand with specialty program partners to help with financial and recruitment assistance.
Deciphering What Mid-Term Election Results Mean to Comp
As pundits discuss why the anticipated “red wave” that would’ve given Republicans majorities in both chambers of Congress didn’t happen, workers’ comp lobbyists are tasked with educating freshman state and national legislators on our industry. This will pose both a challenge and opportunity to ensure comp interests are represented on Capitol Hill and throughout the country.
This is especially true in Michigan as Democrats took control of both state chambers for the first time in 40 years. The P&C industries will likely lose long-standing allies at chair positions, which will require lobbyists to forge new relationships and create educational opportunities for the new majority party.
Implementing Personalized Care Approaches to Improve Recovery Times
In recent years, terms such as advocacy, engagement, coaching, and even “whole-person approach” have gained much attention within workers’ compensation — for good reason. Helping an injured employee on the road to recovery can be complicated and a “one-size-fits-all” approach is not effective.
This could result in an increased use of case managers, who are trained to identify and address social determinants of health (SDoH) impacting return to work. Case managers get to know injured employees and their families on an intimate level. They can help ensure clinical programs avoid the pitfalls of only treating the primary diagnosis. In addition, they can look at the whole person and identify those SDoH that might be impeding recovery.
Addressing the Impact of Violence in the Workplace
Violence in the workplace continues to be top of mind for many employers and remains one of the leading causes of occupational injuries. To cope with workplace incidents, employers can utilize critical incident stress management (CISM), a comprehensive, systematic, and multifaceted approach to managing traumatic stress within an organization or a community.
Often referred to as psychological first aid, crisis intervention can be administered by trained professionals with small groups or with individuals. This allows employees to share their thoughts and feelings about an incident while a crisis interventionist watches for signs of stress and discomfort. The CISM professional can then offer to hold one-on-one meetings with any employee who wishes to participate, generally limiting to a small number of sessions, with additional psychological intervention coordinated through the employee assistance program (EAP) or through a health plan and/or community resources.
Having the Right Resources for 2023
These are just a few issues and solutions presented in the Enlytened Trends Report. Set your course for new year success by understanding which trends will most impact you and how you can prepare to handle them in the coming year.
Enlyte (www.enlyte.com) is the parent company of Mitchell, Genex and Coventry, leaders in cost-containment technology, independent medical exams (IME), provider and specialty networks, case management services, pharmacy benefit and disability management. The Enlyte businesses align their joint industry expertise and advanced technology solutions in a combined organization of nearly 6,000 associates committed to simplifying and optimizing property, casualty and disability claims processes and services.
This is a sponsored post from WorkCompWire marketing partner Enlyte.