During our time at NWCDC 2014, we had Workers’ Comp industry stakeholders participate in WorkCompWire’s “3 For NWCDC” series, focused on this year’s developments and on improving the system! Here’s what Bruce Meymand, COO of Nova Medical Centers had to say:
1. Looking back on 2014, what do you believe was the most significant development for the Workers’ Comp industry?
The most significant development is the overall consolidation of larger stakeholders in workers compensation and in some cases shifting the core focus to other healthcare sectors. From bill review companies and networks to occupational medical companies, the industry’s predominant players are losing market share as smaller more nimble and tech savvy operations are filling that space. As an occupational medicine company, we see our competitors being acquired by large hospital systems or managed care insurers to make the transition to urgent and primary care due to health care reform.
2. If you could wave your magic wand, and instantly change one thing about 1) Workers’ Comp and 2) your business, what would you change?
I believe there is an opportunity to improve the efficiency of cost containment and claim closure without employing per diem rate structures by specialty networks. This approach doesn’t fully account for practice management cost and we feel a change may recruit more support from the medical community.
3. What is one thing you’d like to promote?
Nova Medical Centers approach to occupational medicine focuses on total care management. Treating a workers compensation claim is infinitely more complex due to the fact there are multiple stakeholders as compared to group health where urgent care and family practice is more appropriate. As an example, an employer’s sensitivities to OSHA recordability may employ a different approach to treatment and coordination with specialists while maintaining more aggressive return to work goals. This is not traditionally found in an urgent care setting due to the fact the patient is the customer not the employer or payor.
About Bruce Meymand:
Bruce Meymand is the Chief Operating Officer for Nova Medical Centers. Mr. Meymand has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare with a record of success in strategic planning, enterprise sales, and team administration and leadership. Mr. Meymand has been a leader at Nova since 1999. His key roles also include the oversight of government and regulatory affairs, company-wide sales force, strategic network/payor contracting, software development and implementation, facility development and management and ongoing business advancement.
For as long as work existed, the health of workers has been a primary goal of employers throughout the world.
It has always been known that healthy workers are the most productive, and firms have focused on optimizing their employment conditions to maximize the health of their workers and to lower their exposure to any liability as a result of health damages that may have occurred on site. The dawn of the modern era has made working conditions a primary concern for employees, as regulations have imposed high fines for companies that neglect these legal rulings. For workers, this has been beneficial, as a focus on healthcare and industrial medicine has increased the overall working conditions and individual health throughout all industries.
Benefits of Industrial Medicine
Industrial medicine evolved as a branch-off from the Industrial Revolution, as the impact of employee health became a significant influence of the bottom line of corporations. Low employee health became a drain on business expenses, as it would cause significant employee turnover and absenteeism. This, combined with the increased regulatory pressures by governments to ensure the safety of their workers, motivated employers to improve conditions. The spread of insurance liability for companies also influenced working conditions, as employers who could maintain low levels of injury among their employees would have significantly lower costs.
As such, industrial medicine is a branch of clinical medicine that is primarily focused on occupational health. This branch specializes in ensuring high standards of safety and health for employees through the use of preventative medicine and management of already existing diseases. Furthermore, properly maintained work environments have demonstrated that if employees are healthy, they are much less likely to injure themselves and other employees, as well as prevent errors on the job that could cost the company. Essentially, the work of industrial medicine is to ensure that the working environment does not damage the health of the individual and to ensure that all employees work at the maximum capacity possible under their health.
Role in Policy Making
Industrial medicine continues to be highly influential in regulation and law creation involving the workforce, as the specialized knowledge of this branch ensures that any government action does not undermine employee health. In the long run, it is in the best interest of all parties involved to maintain a healthy work environment, as the links between working conditions and health care premiums become intertwined. Employers that are able to ensure the health of their workers will face less drain on their health insurance plans in comparison to other companies, which serves as a competitive advantage in a cutthroat marketplace.
Ultimately, industrial medicine has proven vastly beneficial to workers, as it has increased working conditions and individual health throughout major industries in the United States and other developing countries. By following industry regulations that seek to improve safety and health standards, industries are able to save money and lower employment turnover. This benefits employers, as lower turnover allows employers to retain higher skilled employees without the need for retraining staff. Industrial medicine has improved business productivity and has reformed business protocols in such a way as to maximize employee health. By benefiting both parties, employees have garnered great advantages through the advent of industrial medicine.
The idea of having an area of healthcare devoted specifically to treating occupational needs is a relatively recent one.
In the past, the Northeastern United States often lacked proper ventilation, featured overcrowded floors with employees working in close proximity to dangerous machines, and a general lack of regard for workplace safety on the part of management. Today both state and federal agencies enforce industrial medicine for all companies operating in the United States, and many companies have chosen to invest heavily in preventative medicine for their employees.
As with environmental protection and prescription drug safety there is a federal mechanism in the United States specifically tasked with overseeing occupation health, safety and industrial medicine. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) operates as primarily a research entity which produces data and policy recommendations for improved health and safety in the workplace. A second government entity known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) serves as a direct partner with NIOSH and is responsible for providing enforcement of established regulations. Both NIOSH and OSHA were created out of a sweeping piece of legislation passed in 1970 called the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It marked the first major federal bill to address national health and safety concerns and ushered in a new era of accountability in the workplace.
Workplace Health Services
One of the emerging features in occupational medicine is the utilization of health and wellness services by companies, both small and large, across the United States. Typically these services can include screenings, nutritional counseling, consultations with a nurse or physician, group exercise goals, incentive programs, in addition to other services. There is a significant amount of research to support the use of these strategies related to an associated drop in insurance claims and missed work days due to illness or injury.
There are a number of occupational wellness companies that have emerged in recent years to offer preventative medical services to employees. These companies serve to ensure the overall health and safety of employees, especially those who work in labor intensive industries. Investing in industrial medicine not only benefits employees, but it benefits the employer as many insurance companies will accommodate their customers who prove that they have a comprehensive occupational medicine program in place for its employees.
Investing in preventative medication is also beneficial to the company as it will ensure productivity in the workplace. Companies that provide preventative services will be safeguarded against illnesses that can often spread throughout employees and impact the rate at which work is completed.