We live in a complex world. A world where things change quickly.
When we first planned this issue of RxInformer, our goal was to focus on major challenges facing workers’ comp, challenges we identified in an industry survey we conducted in collaboration with Risk & Insurance.® We thought addressing these matters would hit subjects at the top of everyone’s list.
But that was before COVID-19. This pandemic has challenged our families, our businesses, and our communities. No one has gone unaffected by this pandemic, and I extend my thoughts to everyone, with a special place reserved for our healthcare providers and essential services workers who are on the frontlines of this crisis.
While there is certainly more work ahead of us, I am both humbled and proud of what we as human beings are capable of in times of crisis. I am proud of the work we have done at Healthesystems to continue to help injured workers during this trying time, and I am proud of my colleagues in the workers’ comp industry for stepping up to maintain care for the patients we collectively serve.
It’s been amazing to see the swift response from regulators. If you read this issue’s edition of State of the States, you will find a brief recap of the regulatory action taken in workers’ comp across the country in response to COVID-19, including the embrace of telehealth, virtual hearings, expanded coverage for healthcare workers and first responders, and more. This mass mobilization astonishes me, for it shows just what we can do when we come together.
This pandemic and all its impacts will change the way businesses operate in the future. While I sincerely hope things return to normal soon, it seems that after this is over, there will be a new normal, one full of new complexities that will continue to evolve and work their way into workers’ comp. But perhaps our new normal will also be full of great new innovation.
I am confident that it will. Our collective work has shown we can rise to the challenge. Look no further than the opioid epidemic for an example of changing tides. While the societal challenge of synthetic opioids remain, over the last few years the CDC has reported significant decreases in opioid overdose deaths, prescribing, and MME.
Opioid utilization is decreasing, while the utilization of other pain medications is going up. This issue of RxInformer illustrates this fact as we cover the clinical concerns associated with these other therapies in Growing Pains: The Shift from Opioids to Other Pain Therapies.
Our industry has long strived to fight the opioid epidemic, and as we continue to make progress, we must now consider the pros and cons of alternative treatments. This is yet another example of how quickly things change. And because we live in a world of evolving complexities, we must always be looking forward.
And what other changes face workers’ comp? Our industry survey showed just how concerned stakeholders are with comorbidities and poor worker health. In the article Live Better, Heal Better: Employee Wellness in Workers’ Comp, you will see this topic is more important than ever, as wellness factors like comorbidities, fatigue, and mental health make patients vulnerable to various complications, and so it is important we invest in employees.
When stakeholders showed concern over the wide range of factors that complexify claims, be they regulatory changes, population trends, shifts in prescribing, failure to catch early warnings signs, and more, we created an article to address complex claims titled A New Routine: The Growth of Complex Claims and How to Manage Them.
I would like to leave you with this:
Together, we will overcome the challenges ahead, and learn from them, striving for a better future, one that prepares for complexities with bold and innovative solutions. Already we have seen what is possible by the amazing work done by individuals all across the nation, ushering in powerful changes, changes that not only help us now, but which create new opportunities to do even greater things in the future.
Daryl Corr is Chief Executive Officer at Healthesystems. Mr. Corr has long been a technology innovator developing new ways in which to improve the delivery and quality of medical services. His focus on innovation has helped improve performance across the industry by automating various manual functions and improving transaction efficiency. His efforts to make disparate processes and systems work together helped transform the organizations he managed. Under Mr. Corr’s leadership, Healthesystems has grown into one of the largest workers’ compensation pharmacy and ancillary medical benefits management providers in the market.
With new information coming out daily surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Healthesystems has created a developments page to track news impacting workers’ comp.
Visit www.healthesystems.com/COVID-19 for clinical, industry, and regulatory updates.