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Frank Pennachio – one of work comp’s good people

Frank is a highly experienced work comp broker, consultant and educator who is as subtle as a tank.

A vocal and energetic advocate for his employer clients, he is nonetheless far from reluctant to challenge those clients to think creatively, differently, intelligently; to not just accept what carriers, TPAs brokers and vendors report but to dig down to see the real picture.

Because it’s what underlies those relationships that drives results for patients and employers.  The tangled web of financial deals based on percentage-of-savings charges; fee-splitting; vendor “rebates” and other pay-to-play vehicles can and does influence behavior and incentivize parties in ways that may not be in the patients’ or employers’ best interest.

Frank’s persistent and loud, to the point that some groups and on-line entities have banned him from their conversations.  While those groups are entirely within their rights to do so I’d suggest that all of us are far better off hearing from people like Frank than avoiding the conversation.  His intentions, values, and ethics are unquestioned.  His tireless advocacy for clients and stakeholders to do the right thing is unequivocal.

If you don’t like what you’re hearing, perhaps you should ask yourself why you’re uncomfortable with what he has to say.  While Frank’s irreverence and constant vocal challenging of the status quo has made him a pariah in certain work comp circles that is unfortunate indeed – because his message is dead on.

Sometimes the volume and stridency of the message can turn people off.  I get that.  I also get that many of us have been trying for years to highlight the counter-productive relationships that yield little benefit to the real stakeholders.  Sometimes you need to open the window and yell.

What does this mean for you?

The industry not only needs more Frank Pennachios, it also needs to realize that despite what you may think of the methods, the message is absolutely right. 

10 thoughts on “Frank Pennachio – one of work comp’s good people”

    1. Gene – thanks for the comment and compliment. I keep tilting at that windmill, with the expected result.

  1. Perhaps this is stating the obvious but there just isn’t enough money to be made in delivering good results.

    “Cost Containment” in insurance has become the ultimate oxymoron. Aside from the last couple of years where WC medical ‘severity’ has moderated, cost containment has failed to contain costs. The funny thing is that as medical costs continue to rise, we eagerly buy more cost containment services.

    Tilting at windmills will continue until thought and regulatory leaders come up with proposals for taking a different approach..

  2. I have had the pleasure of knowing Frank for over 25 years. He is definitely “as advertised” in your piece. A broker who always has his client’s best interest in mind.

  3. Regarding Les Shute’s point, I commend to you Atul Gawande’s latest in the New Yorker from Jan 23, entitled “The Heroism of Incremental Care”, which could just as easily be titled “Why Don’t We Want to Pay for What Really Delivers Value in Medicine?”.

  4. Thank you for using your “voice” to shed light about how Frank is being treat by some “talking head’s” attempts to restrict him from voicing other points of view. These efforts to restrict Frank from sharing his knowledge and experience reminds me of those people who “shout down” speakers from presenting a view point. As you have said, Frank is correct about what he has stated and those of use who are doing the “blocking and tackling” in the workers’ comp industry valid Frank’s position each day.

  5. We need more voices like Frank’s and yourself, addressing the issues that others won’t speak about. This hits the nail on the head: “The tangled web of financial deals based on percentage-of-savings charges; fee-splitting; vendor “rebates” and other pay-to-play vehicles can and does influence behavior and incentivize parties in ways that may not be in the patients’ or employers’ best interest”…..the struggle is real. It’s ironic when some “cost savings” business models are built upon an increase in utilization, not a decrease.

  6. Joe,

    I could not help but laugh. Frank’s tank-like subtlety has graced our Agency for nearly 15 years and we are thankful for it. I have no doubt that Frank’s impact on this industry will be felt for many years. The industry could use a few more people willing to step into the uncomfortable spotlight to shine the bright light of day on into some unfortunately dark spaces. Kudos to both of you for being great advocates and sharing the truth with the masses.

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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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