Mark Kraemer's Articles

Test Your Knowledge on Worker's Compensation Insurance Coverage

Posted on 9/4/2017 3:15 AM . By Mark Kraemer


Are you falling victim to worker's compensation insurance myths? Test your knowledge, separating fact from fiction with this quick quiz…

Myth or Fact?

1. Large Discount Networks Offer Better Cost Control.
Myth. Penetration and discount rates will eventually plateau as a cost control measure. Amount and types of service are often what drive inflation. Instead, a customer-specific, multi-tiered, multi-layered approach is integral to identifying cost drivers - and incorporate specific solutions tailored for each employer’s medical cost issues.

2. An Employer’s Role Ends When the Claim is Paid.
Myth. Your most important role is in the healing process, monitoring the ability for return to work. Return to work supports employee recovery physically and psychologically, reducing the indirect costs of lost days, as well as claims and premiums.

3. Complex Claims will Improve, Given a Little Time.
Myth. The treatment needs and demands of the injured worker will not improve over time. The longer injured workers remain away, the greater the likelihood they will NEVER return to work. Additionally, medical costs for worker's compensation insurance ALWAYS increase over time. The best time to handle complex claims is NOW.

4. Workcomp Costs are ‘Out of Control’.
Myth. The real cause of workcomp costs is lack of control. When companies don’t take control post-injury, employees do, resulting in longer claims, with time away disproportionate to the length of their disability. Those with tight post-injury procedures and follow-up, however, better navigate pitfalls and obstacles on the path to their return to work.

When it comes to worker's compensation insurance laws and rules, make sure you get the facts. Find the information you need fast with the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor today.

 




Do You Need Absentee Management for Your Firm?

Posted on 8/30/2017 3:26 AM . By Mark Kraemer


As workers’ comp claims continue to decline in frequency and jobs continue to become safer, you may want to consider looking to other avenues for savings. With employee leave, disability management, and wellness absences continuing to rise in prevalence, and legislation increasingly complex, absence management offers an array of opportunities in controlling costs and preventing headaches.

For these reasons, workers’ comp management providers are supplying their clients with a new benefit: Employee management tips and systems for better management of employee absences.

How Can Your WorkComp Management Program Help You Handle Absenteeism?
Workers’ comp claims management professionals can help businesses manage non-occupational absences by tapping into skills and resources necessary to manage illness and injury-related absences, as both essentially involve the same things:

• Claims processing.

• Reducing incident rates.

• Coordinating services.

• Navigating the complexities of return-to-work and associated absences.

• Costs associated with absenteeism.

• Compliance with pertinent laws.

Are You Skirting Absence Management Disaster?
With the strong correlation between health behaviors and claims costs, and the link between employee absence and lost revenue, it pays to have a plan for managing absences of all kinds - from both the injury management and health and wellness perspectives.

From FMLA and ADA to jury duty and blood donor leave, federal and state mandates continue to grow increasingly complex. Ever-changing rules elevate your risk of violation without expert outside assistance and employee management tips. Fortunately, claims management firms are in the perfect position to provide them.

Looking for a few outside-the-box employee management tips to control your rapidly-changing labor landscape? Minnesota Comp Advisor has the total health of your company covered. Discover more about our amazingly flexible skills and solutions today.




Free Webinar Wednesday August 30, 2017: Big Changes in Iowa Work Comp

Posted on 8/28/2017 4:01 AM . By Mark Kraemer

Come join us online Wednesday for a FREE webinar on the changes to Iowa's work comp law. Register online today for this informative seminar at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/334858849739406595

In this seminar you will learn...

Work comp attorney Abigail Wenninghoff addresses how big changes to Iowa work comp law will significantly impact employers operating in the state.

DATE: Wednesday, August 30, 2017

TIME: 2:00pm - 3:00pm CST

WHERE: Go To Webinar

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: 

CFO's, HR, Risk Managers - Anyone Who Feels the Pain of Workers’ Comp

 

NO COST TO ATTEND: Open to All Minnesota Employers

CE Credits Available!


What Issues Should You Be Watching for Worker's Comp Insurance in 2017?

Posted on 8/28/2017 3:34 AM . By Mark Kraemer


2017 is well underway. What’s in the works for worker's comp insurance this year?

Keep an Eye Out for These Changing Worker's Comp Insurance Issues

The New Administration
Former President Obama was headed toward federal reforms including minimum state benefit standards. President Trump, however, is a vocal opponent of federal regulations, leaving this issue on hold.

Healthcare Reform
Healthcare reform has the potential to affect benefit requirements, quality of care, the calculation of premiums, and claims filings — if and when anything passes. Stay tuned...

OSHA
More recently, OSHA had shifted resources from education to enforcement.
With a successor yet to be named by the Trump Administration a new direction is expected, but like healthcare reform the path remains unclear.

ADA/FMLA
The broadening of regulations and enforcement increased under the Obama Administration are expected to relax, with the federal government less likely to expand the boundaries of existing ADA/FMLA laws.

Workcomp Rates & Premiums
More driven by changes in market competition than changes in exposures, the previous hyper-competitive marketplace is expected to slow as new entrants respond to long-tail losses hitting the books.

Long-Tail Exposures
Long-tail exposures, premiums collected today for tomorrow’s losses, will require close scrutiny in the coming years. What could inflate your costs? Raised life expectancies, costlier new drugs and treatments, medical science advancement in prosthetics, and more.

Opioids
In 2017, there’s expected to be continued emphasis on alternatives to opioids for acute and chronic pain, with expanding coverage.

Are you staying aware of the worker's comp insurance issues that could significantly impact your bottom line? Minnesota Comp Advisor has you covered. Contact us to learn about new ways you can save today.


Watch the Video: Too Hot to Handle: Help Your Employees Avoid Heat Stress

Posted on 8/23/2017 3:48 AM . By Mark Kraemer


Did you miss our latest, FREE, employee health management worker’s comp seminar: “Too Hot to Handle: Help Your Employees Avoid Heat Stress?” Luckily, it’s not too late to cool things down on your jobsite!

FREE Safety Resources for All Employers
Download the video recording of this informative employee health management presentation, boosting safety on-site as the summer heats up. Packed with useful information, this seminar is designed to help you and your employees better understand the dangers of working in hot environments, and ways to improve safety. Prefer print, or want to pass it on in your own safety seminar? A PowerPoint and PDF version are also available.

Many Employees Are Exposed to Heat-Related Risks
Thousands become sick year after year, and sadly, some die as a result of the complications of heat exposure. Are your workers at-risk?

• Workers exposed to direct sun and other forms of radiant heat, as well as those in high temperature, high humidity environments are directly at risk.

• Employees in contact with hot objects, and those requiring stifling protective gear or safety equipment can easily suffer heat stress.

• Jobs requiring physical exertion, and individuals working in areas with limited breeze or ventilation are also at-risk.

• Younger workers suffer a higher risk of heat stress, as do others with a low tolerance for heat, as well as individuals with health conditions that put them at increased risk of heat stress.

Take Advantage of this FREE Employee Health Management Seminar Today!
Boost the health and safety of your employees with the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor, putting this preventable risk on ice on your worksite. For more information, contact us today.

 


The Path to Better Catastrophic Claims Management - Part Two

Posted on 8/21/2017 1:40 AM . By Mark Kraemer


Catastrophic injuries are complex, costly, life-altering events for injured workers and their families. In this next installment, we’ll continue looking into the path to improved catastrophic workman’s comp claim outcomes.

Other Considerations for Catastrophic Claims:

Comorbidity Complications
Comorbidities such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, poor circulation, obesity, and age greatly complicate injuries and recovery. By identifying these factors and monitoring corresponding issues, a catastrophic claims team can better circumnavigate pitfalls.

Ask the Worker
The worker knows best which treatments/equipment are working/lacking. Today’s technology allows for this information to be directly compared with physician notes, case management reports, and claims data to provide a broader picture and better outcome.

Include the Family
The catastrophic claims team should also meet with the family to discuss care progress and pitfalls, as well as clarify care and recovery expectations.

Understand Home Care May be Unavoidable
Most suffering catastrophic injuries will never return to work. Worse, some may not gain full independence. In these situations, options of 24-hour home care, nursing care, and family care must be carefully considered based on dynamics and injuries, to ensure quality of life.

Consider Environment/Modifications
Environment can significantly impact post-discharge plans. Payers may have to cover the additional costs of home modification/relocation necessary to meet care needs.

Don’t Overlook the Importance of Ongoing Monitoring
Regardless of the point in the path of the injured worker’s journey, regular file reviews are essential to identifying red flags. This safeguards compliance, and ensures the continuation of proper, quality care.

Helping workers avoid catastrophic workman’s comp claims is job #1. If the unimaginable occurs, know that Minnesota Comp Advisor is here to help. Learn how today.


The Path to Better Catastrophic Claims Management - Part One

Posted on 8/16/2017 3:21 AM . By Mark Kraemer


Catastrophic workman's comp claims, those involving debilitating, permanent disabilities, are prickly to manage. With care often fragmented among multiple providers, a long-term view of the medical needs of the injured is often overlooked, thwarting potential for optimal recovery, independence, and quality of life. Left unmanaged, these cases can deteriorate, and costs skyrocket.

What’s the Best Path to Managing Catastrophic Claims?

Understand the Scope of Problems
Complex and costly, catastrophic injuries such as brain injury, vision loss, para/quadriplegia, amputations, and severe burns account for 1% of claims, but 20-30% of workcomp medical spending. Resuming normal life activities, including returning-to-work, are likely impossible.

Look to Industry Experts
Enlisting the help of a catastrophic claims team to organize/coordinate medical services, ensures a proactive, collaborative approach between all providers, focusing on the well-being of the injured worker, while simultaneously working to control workman's comp claims costs.

Stay on Top of Events
From prompt reporting before the injured is discharged to rehab, to when the time comes for wheelchairs and other equipment to be selected for the home, timely reporting of events to the catastrophic claims teams ensures services and products recommended will meet the long-term needs of injured workers. (Think: Wheelchairs that will fit through doorways, and seating compatible with bathing facilities.)

Keep the ‘Big Picture’ in Mind
Compile a holistic assessment of the claim with the help of your team, looking to injury type, comorbidities, family situations, home environment, and worker frame-of-mind to understand how these might affect claims outcome.

A catastrophic workman's comp claim is profoundly life altering for workers and families. Learn how to better help employees in the next Minnesota Comp Advisor installment.


Creeping Work Comp Claims - Identify and Manage Them Part Two

Posted on 8/14/2017 2:56 AM . By Mark Kraemer

Continued from August 9th.

Managing Creeping Claims
Work comp
claims piling up? In part one of this series, you learned how to identify the common characteristics of creeping claims. Now we’ll take an in-depth look at methods to head them off at-the-pass.

Unnecessary Disability
Return-to-work programs play an essential role in controlling creeping claims. Simple to implement, these modified-duty programs offer tremendous savings, but are often glossed-over citing ‘the economy’ and unions. Unless ‘whole or no person’ rules apply, these make more financial sense than paying for disability and replacement workers.

Inappropriate Treatment
Appropriate care safeguards treatment outcomes. TPAs, carriers, and employers must remain on top of treatment utilizing case management, utilization review, and independent medical exams to protect patients.

Co-morbidities
As part of case management, identify these issues early on. They cannot be prevented, however the potential
impact may be minimized with proper care.

Psycho-Social Issues
If red flags of psycho-social issues are present,
stepping-up communication with injured workers can have a significant positive impact, thwarting litigation based on mistrust/fear. Showing you care early on – and recommending counseling – can go a long way to preventing significant issues later on.

Opioids
More people die in the U.S. from prescription drug overdoses than car accidents. Long-term usage for pain is often not proven, and can lead to health complications. To thwart the increased medical costs, and likelihood of disability and poor outcomes associated with higher levels of opioid usage, protect your workers by turning to pharmacy benefits management and other drug monitoring programs to ensure their safe and proper use.

Cost of work comp claims creeping up on you? MinnesotaCompAdvisor is here to help. Learn how today.


Creeping Work Comp Claims - Identify and Manage Them Part One

Posted on 8/9/2017 2:53 AM . By Mark Kraemer

How do seemingly ‘average’ work comp claims balloon into long-term medical treatment and disability cases? Dubbed ‘creeping catastrophic’ or ‘developmental’ claims, these aren’t serious injuries, brain/spinal cord issues or death claims. These claims start out as run-of-the-mill issues: Back, knee or shoulder injuries… Which following a series of events, accumulate to the tune of hundreds-of-thousands of work comp dollars.

How to Spot Creeping Claims
Developmental work comp claims share common characteristics, with timely attention the key factor in thwarting their
adverse effects. Common factors include:

Unnecessary Disability
There's a strong correlation between claim duration and the chance of
returning to work. Are you keeping up with injured workers? Those disabled longer than 6 months have a 50/50 chance of returning. Those out longer than a year – less than 10%

Inappropriate Treatment
Incorrect diagnosis and inappropriate treatments prolong recovery and skyrocket costs. A number of factors drive this issue: Misdiagnosis, financial incentives to over-treatment, higher reimbursement rates compared to Medicare/group health, lack of deductibles for care, and the quest for settlements.

Psycho-Social Issues
While you cannot control the motivation of injured workers, you can look for these red flags for difficult cases:

  • Disabled spouse

  • Young children in the home

  • Drug/alcohol dependence

  • High school education (or less)

  • Low wages

  • Discipline problems

  • Psychosocial issues (depression)

  • Co-morbidities
    Claims with co-morbidities - obesity, hypertension, diabetes – cost twice those of comparable claims.

  • Opioids
    Studies show disability duration of those on opioids 50% higher than comparable claims.

Now you know how to ferret out creeping work comp claims, learn how to manage them. Stay-tuned for more from your friends at Minnesota Comp Advisor in part two of this series.


Why Put an Injury Prevention Program to Work at Your Facility

Posted on 8/7/2017 2:51 AM . By Mark Kraemer

Thirty-four states in the U.S. and many countries worldwide encourage or require injury prevention programs in the workplace. As a proactive approach to finding and fixing workplace hazards before employees are hurt, these programs offer an amazing return on investment.

Still Waiting to Put Injury Prevention Programs to Work for You?
You’re missing out on more than a minor insurance break. These programs:

Build a strong safety ‘foundation’
OSHA’s cooperative programs help all levels of an organization collectively identify and control hazards to achieve a better, safer work environment that's in compliance with existing regulations. This helps ensure the financial security of the business, and likewise job security for employees.

Transform workplace culture
An environment where employees feel safe and valued is one with improved productivity, reduced turnover, and increased employee satisfaction.

Dramatically decrease job site injuries, illnesses, and fatalities
This reduces your
experience mod, and through it premiums and the many indirect costs of workplace injury, including the loss of skilled labor, productivity and workplace morale, as well as associated legal and insurance costs and snafus.

But How Much Do Injury Prevention Programs Help, Really?
Based on program reviews in the states with injury prevention program requirements,
OSHA estimates the implementation of these programs has reduced injuries 15-35% for employers who don't already have such programs in place. At a mere 15% effectiveness level, this translates to $9 billion in savings per year in workcomp costs – and a whopping $23 billion per year at 35% effectiveness.

Workers comp savings looking shabby? Minnesota Comp Advisor has the help you need to achieve better results. Learn how safety can pay today.