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The good ones

There are plenty of bad actors in the workers’ compensation industry – there are also lots of people – many unrecognized – who do the right thing day in and day out.  Some do so behind the scenes, others are right out there in front.  In my 25+ years in the business I’ve met – and watched – many of these women and men, and come to respect and admire them for their tireless commitment to making the work comp world better.

A few weeks ago I posted about the passing of Anne Searcy, M.D., noting “Her passing reminds us all that there are many people striving every day to do the right thing for the right reasons.”

Dr Searcy and the many people who share her selfless dedication deserve our thanks, our appreciation, and certainly broader recognition for the work they do and the impact they make.  Fortunately there are efforts such as the Comp Laude Awards (thanks to Dave Depaolo and his colleagues at WorkCompCentral) and others that focus on the good folks in comp. These efforts deserve more attention as they remind us (me especially) to not lose track of the good.

Bruce Wood is one of those good people.  Responsible for workers’ comp at the American Insurance Association, Bruce is a behind-the-scenes guy who truly understands and wholeheartedly supports the purpose of workers comp – prevent injuries and take care of the workers who do get hurt on the job.  To say he is dedicated is to damn with faint praise; Bruce is passionate, professional, and effective; he really cares.  In the eight years I’ve had the honor of working with him, I’ve seen the respect industry leaders have for his ability to effect positive change quietly, without drama or fanfare.

Bruce brings together industry professionals with outside experts to share ideas and puzzle out solutions to issues as diverse as opioids and second injury funds, medical treatment innovation and employee classification, black lung disease and “opt-out” options.  Somehow he’s able to get a group of industry execs from very diverse companies to agree on policies that improve the system for injured workers, employers, and taxpayers.

Partially as a result of his yeoman work, AIA has added members, most recently Accident Fund Holdings, Inc.

By enabling the industry to speak with one voice supporting the right thing, Bruce is one of the good ones.  That’s not to say he’s perfect; Bruce’s political leanings are (as my lovely bride would say) diabolically opposite from mine…but I’m working on it!

What does this mean for you?

There’s hope for workers’ comp.

One thought on “The good ones”

  1. Kudo’s to Bruce (not just for his first name). “Opt-Out” caught my eye as I just reviewed the proposed TN Opt-Out option. I share real concerns with other professionals who see the employee getting a raw deal and strong potential for taxpayers (e.g. via Medicare) to end up footing the bill for workers suffering severe injuries. I’ll look for how Bruce Woods views it.

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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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