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CHOICE Awards for Workers Compensation

I’ve been hard pressed to keep up with the blog; seven days in Florida starting at the Florida Workers Comp Institute annual conference followed by a three day audit of a managed care firm is to blame. One of the biggest events at the conference was the third annual CHOICE Awards for excellence in workers compensation.
These awards are presented to physicians who exemplify the highest standard of care and demonstrate thorough understanding of workers comp and return to work while communicating clearly and effectively with all parties in the process.
Physicians are the key to effective workers comp and other medical programs.
They diagnose the condition, assess the patient, develop the treatment plan, write the scripts, schedule the imaging, refer for surgery, deal with managed care’s questions and requests for information, monitor progress, and remove obstacles.
In workers comp, docs also identify limits and restrictions, develop return to work programs, recommend job accomodations, coordinate with employers, assess relatedness, and cajole, badger, encourage, and push injured workers back to work.
Many docs do this despite the request from insurers that they perform these services for a “discount” below their list price or fee schedule.
The unfortunate thing is the CHOICE awards are one of the few efforts by payers to publicly recognize those physicians that outperform their peers. And it is not a few docs getting a black plastic award and handshake from an insurance company exec. Over 200 nominations were received, a rigorous judging process was conducted, and all finalists were invited to the banquet. (disclosure – CHOICE is a client).
The keynote speech was given by University of Miami president and former Secretary of HHS Donna Shalala. The sit down dinner was attended by 400+. The band played for each recipient and for all the guests before and after the awards.
And the award recipients deserved all of it.
What does this mean for you?
If you have yet to figure out that physicians are the most important contributors to the success of managed care programs, get with the program.

One thought on “CHOICE Awards for Workers Compensation”

  1. Physicians who take the time, despite all the hassles, to deliver the highest quality medical care are key to injured workers getting back on the job as soon as possible. John’s Hopkins Professor Edward Bernacki, who also runs the Hopkins workers’ compensation program notes that immediate, high quality medical care is the key reason Hopkins’ costs have declined 40% over the past decade from the rates paid to a commercial carrier.
    Marriott’s VP for Casualty and Claims, Bob Steggert, makes similar findings.
    Unions can team up with management to save money and improve medical care. Moreover, they can work to create a single system of medical care that pays physicians for delivering high quality, immediate medical care, regardless of the place of injury.
    State legislation could remove the roadblocks to the reforms we need.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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