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Workers' Compensation

Cost Containment From Soup to Nuts: Rebecca Shafer’s Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%, 2012 Edition

 By Karen C. Yotis, Esq.

When a workers’ compensation maven of Rebecca Shafer’s caliber shares her expertise about implementing cost containment best practices, industry professionals can’t afford to do anything but listen. Likewise, now that Shafer has released the 2012 edition of her guidebook Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%, risk managers, adjusters, vendors, attorneys, agents and brokers, carriers, and employers can’t afford to do anything but click here to purchase the book, and start reading.  

A National Expert’s Shared Secrets

Shafer’s book purports to provide a roadmap that will help organizations cut their workers’ compensation costs by as much as one-half.  This is not mere promotional marketing, but a bold claim that has sharp teeth.  In Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%, Ms. Shafer (a national expert on workers’ compensation cost containment with over 25 years of experience in the industry) outlines a process that brings the user along through each aspect of a workers’ compensation program, to learn, step-by-step, about an array of systematic and operational techniques for reducing workers’ compensation costs. This is NOT an intellectual discussion about workers comp issues and trends, but rather a hands-on practicum written from years of field research with a host of companies.

Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50% is divided into two main components. Part I introduces workers’ compensation cost reduction measures that emphasize before accident “proactive management” as well as “reactive management” that begins from the minute a claim occurs and continues until an employee is brought back to full-time productive duty. Part I rolls out the guidebook’s management program in four phases—Assessment and Recommendations, Design and Development, Training and Implementation, Monitoring and Managing—that  proceed according to a series of well-defined practical steps. In short, Part I explains “how” an organization should approach the process of implement cost cutting changes in its workers’ compensation program. Part II moves the reader out of the pot and into the fire, by explaining in painstaking detail exactly “what” an organization must do in order to reap the anticipated benefits of Shafer’s shared expertise.  

Performance Standards and Communication

From the outset, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50% promotes a standard of excellence by encouraging organizations to adopt program goals geared to bring their workers’ compensation programs beyond industry cost and performance averages and turn them into best-in-class achievers. The book also promotes a team approach that is grounded in constant (and consistent) communication between the various program participants.  As a project team is assembled, procedures are designed, training commences, and live programs are monitored and managed, the book continually emphasizes high (and clearly defined) performance expectations and targeted, multi-level messaging as key components of a successfully managed workers’ compensation program.

Part I – An Action-Oriented “How To” Template

While Part I provides an action-oriented template that describes how to revamp an existing program or get a new program up and running, Part II is where this guidebook goes out into the field and speaks to the individuals who are participating in workers’ compensation programs across the country. For it is within the comprehensive, information-packed chapters in Part II of this book that the devil who fancies himself in charge of the details finally meets his match. Part II analyzes every aspect of workers’ compensation—from the basics of the system itself to claims resolutions and settlements— in an easy-to-understand-and-follow format that describes for each section the various players and their roles in the process, the issues that are at stake and why, specific required procedures and communications, and sample documents, forms and letters that streamline and demystify the entire process.

Part II - Cost Containment from Soup to Nuts

Part II of this guidebook’s 2012 edition also adds a good amount of valuable content. New Chapter 1 provides some previously missing background information about workers’ compensation basics, and outlines the purpose of workers’ compensation, describes the parties that participate in the system and their respective roles and benefits, categorizes injuries and losses, and explains the intricacies of premium calculations and experience modifiers.  New Chapter 2 discusses the fundamentals of cost containment and provides straight forward information about the reasons workers’ compensation costs are high, hidden costs of workers’ compensation, and internal/external obstacles to cost control.

The detailed cost-cutting program measures outlined in Part II of last year’s edition appear in updated form and include chapters that detail the ins and outs of working with adjusters and TPAs, reporting/resolving/settling claims, directing medical care, and return to work; chapters that adopt a direct, no-nonsense approach to cost drivers such as physical rehabilitation and physical therapy, pharmacy benefits, and fraud; and chapters that outline procedures for training and building commitment and describe the roles and responsibilities necessary to support and implement injury management best practices.

Off the Book Shelf and Into the Field

Above all, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50% is a book that is designed to be used, a book that is meant to accompany risk managers in the field as they train supervisors, assist vendors as they seek to enter the workers comp marketplace, provide useful learning about the cost containment niche to attorneys, brokers and adjusters, and function as a text book of sorts in classroom-style training programs. Presented in a wide-margin format with lots of white space, readers are encouraged to take notes and add information in order to make the book “their own.”

Accomplishing more with less is no longer a business goal—it's a business necessity, especially when your business is workers' compensation. Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50% allows organizations to meet these demands by giving them a keen-edged cost-cutting tool that helps them quickly understand the dynamics of workers' compensation cost containment and implement those lessons to cut their costs . . . in half.

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