2012 - #1 for Women!

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mary Schmit, Vocational Consultant with TRIUNE Health Group, recently wrapped up work with an Injured Worker (IW) who had an Illinois W/C claim.  The IW was a 26-year-old recent immigrant who had been a professional soccer player in Europe.  After arriving in the US, the IW worked for several months in maintenance at a condominium complex.  He then obtained a CDL B license and went to work driving a garbage truck.  He was a member of the Teamsters Union.  The IW’s file was referred for job placement a year post a complicated left (dominant arm) shoulder injury that left the IW with restrictions prohibiting a RTW with the employer of record. 

Mary completed her assessment and had instructed the IW in appropriate Job Seeking Skills.  The IW was advised to network with friends, family, old employers, etc. about being back in the search for a job.  At the second meeting with the IW, the IW noted that he had returned to the condominium complex where he had worked previously and as he was suggested to do by Mary, and had been hired back as a doorman making $12.00 per hour. 

This file was open for approximately 6 weeks and the approximate cost on this file was just over $2000.00.

Sometimes, just directing people to do common-sense types of things results in a successful outcome.  If you need a common-sense approach to job placement or any vocational service, please contact Mary Schmit or TRIUNE Health Group to make a referral. 
800/633-0884.

Jill Dizack RN, CCM, a TRIUNE Health Group Nurse Case Manager with over twelve years of experience in Workers' Compensation, was requested to assist on a file with a claimant with a right shoulder injury. At the time of the referral, the claimant had already been scheduled for surgery. The Adjuster however, in meeting with Jill, verbalized concerns regarding pre-existing conditions.

Upon receipt and review of the claimant's medical records, Jill concurred with the Adjuster's concern regarding causation. Her first step was to obtain the treating surgeon's opinion regarding causation and his medical rationale for that opinion.  He documented his opinion that the injury was the result of an "acute on chronic" rotator cuff tear, and that the claimant's work likely caused completion of the tear.

Still questioning causation though, Jill noted that the claimant participated in several hobbies such as ATV riding, rifle target shooting multiple times a month, and working on automotive projects. As an experienced Nurse Case Manager, she also realized that the purported mode of injury was not consistent with the nature of the injury itself.

With the Adjuster's consent, Jill contacted a physician specializing in shoulder injuries for a Record Review. The physician's opinion was that Workers' Compensation benefits ought to be denied because he was able to confirm, after review of an MRI, that no acute joint effusions were actually present. In his opinion, the absence of an acute joint effusion proved that the tears were pre-existent to the date of injury.

The claim was denied and Jill closed her file. The entire process had been completed in less than two months! Thanks to Jill's diligence, expertise, and attention to details, the cost savings were significant as the pre-surgery physician visits, surgery itself, and the post-op physician and physical therapy visits were avoided.  

Thanks Jill for another job well done!

TRIUNE Health Group and Jill would welcome the opportunity to handle a case for you.

Why not let TRIUNE handle your next case from start to finish. We pride ourselves in providing the Good Beginnings and Resulting Endings that defines this industry.
 

Feel free to contact Jill Dizack at: 
1-800-633-0884
Monday, May 14, 2012
Bill Newman recently completed work on a case with an Injured Worker (IW) who presented with quite limited options post a serious left arm injury.  The IW was a 52-year-old union carpet installer.  He had worked in this capacity for 25 years.  He had a GED, but no additional education or training.  At the time of referral for placement, he had been "off work" for 4 years.  The IW was restricted to 10 pounds of lifting and had a "no driving" restriction as well. 

Bill actually placed the IW twice.  Initially the IW obtained a job as a parking lot attendant, but developed elbow pain, which was related back to the work injury.  He was taken back off work for an extended period for additional treatment and then when he reached MMI again, his file was re-opened.  Bill eventually placed the IW in a full-time host/cashier position for a large restaurant chain.  It was anticipated that this case would end up as an "Odd Lot Perm Total".  Total Vocational Rehabilitation costs were approximately $12,000.

Even with an economy that remains troubled, a poor labor market and significant and limiting restrictions, there are opportunities and with assistance from Professionals like Bill, the ability to find options and RTW.

To make a referral to Bill Newman or the Vocational Department at TRIUNE Health Group please call 800/633-0884.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Harry Kraemer, former CEO of the Deerfield-based, multibillion-dollar company, Baxter Healthcare, made a decision that resulted in the loss of $189 million – and his investors and employees loved him for it. 

In the summer of 2001, patients in Spain began to die, allegedly in conjunction with their use of dialysis filters produced by a factory recently acquired by Baxter. As the reports began to come in, some 51 deaths in six countries were suspected to be linked with the filters. Further research showed that the filters were indeed faulty.

Faced with the facts, there was only one option for Kraemer: to “do the right thing.” The company may have lost less money by trying to pass the blame, cover up the situation, or quietly pull the faulty filters from the shelves.  

Instead, Kraemer issued a public apology, closed the entire factory responsible for producing the filters, gave large sums of money to the families of victims, and suggested a 40% cut to his personal yearly bonus. He publicly admitted to the mistake and accepted responsibility on behalf of his company.

In response, the CEO was flooded with grateful phone calls and notes from many of the company’s 48,000 employees. Although Baxter’s stock dipped slightly after the news of the mistake, it quickly recovered as investors saw the company deal effectively with the problem.

Now, after completing 22 years at Baxter, Kraemer spends his time teaching others about values-based leadership. As a professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, consultant, speaker, and author, he emphasizes the need for leaders with integrity, who will “do the right thing.”

In his recent book, “From Values to Action,” he encourages others to develop this type of leadership by growing in “true self-confidence,” based on self-acceptance of both strengths and weaknesses.

Accepting and admitting our weaknesses as well as our strengths often requires great virtue. Many of us would like to be people of integrity, but we struggle to own up to our faults, mistakes, and wrongs. We would rather pass the blame or cover it up.

It is much more tempting to behave like the executives in “The Insider,” a movie depicting the struggles of Jeffrey Wigand, who was harassed and threatened for trying to expose the harmful practices of the tobacco company he worked for. We too find it easier to vilify those who point out our wrongs.

On a theoretical level, practicing integrity should be easier for us. After all, we are not operating on the level of leading 48,000 people. We do not have to worry about investors losing trust because of our bad decisions. Our mistakes are generally not spectacular enough to make media headlines; they’re usually not even interesting enough for Facebook or Twitter. Yet, even with less at stake, we still find it very difficult to admit our wrongs.

In this sense, the practice of integrity requires true virtue. It challenges us to go against the grain and make a decision that is uncomfortable for our pride and vanity. We would much rather depict ourselves always in a favorable light. But choosing the short-term discomfort of an apology will result in more positive long-term feelings. Accepting responsibility for a mistake will often win us more admiration in the long run.

This may be easier to understand from a different perspective. For example, we know that no human being is perfect, and that our family members, loved ones, and best friends make mistakes, some of which will hurt us. Yet, when someone wrongs us, it is always easier to accept when that person apologizes, whereas if the instigator tries to deny a mistake, it only creates more negative feelings. Thus, integrity is integral in sustaining positive relations with others.

Integrity gives us an edge in both our personal and professional lives. And in an increasingly competitive economy, Kraemer argues, those who operate with such values will be more sought after, because they are the ones that deliver outstanding and lasting results.

Action items:

1.  Do you owe anyone an apology? Take the step to admit your mistake and try to repair the relationship. 

2.  Take a few moments to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Decide to peacefully accept yourself for who you are, neither denying your flaws nor despairing over them.
Genevieve Pollock
M.S. Clinical Psychology

Monday, May 7, 2012
No. 1: Triune Health Group Ltd.

The founders of Triune Health Group, husband-and-wife team Christopher and Mary Anne Yep, had plenty of experience with the work-life challenges faced by so many employees today. The couple raised eight children and simultaneously built their business, starting from the basement of their home some 22 years ago.

Juggling a fledgling business and a big family had a profound effect on how the couple manage their employees today, says Ms. Yep, vice president and chief personnel officer at the Oak Brook-based company, which provides medical services to people with work-related injuries. In fact, before forming their own company, the couple left another corporation that provided a similar service, hoping to create a more family-friendly business with a focus on the individual needs and goals of each employee.

“Having experienced ourselves the pull between work and family balance, we realized that our choices were constantly being compromised,” Ms. Yep, 59, says.

> Read the entire special report: Best Places to Work for Women

One of the first things they wrote in forming the company's principles? “Our corporation exists for the benefit of our people, not the other way around,” she says.

In Crain's survey, Triune employees said it's not the company's written policies or benefits that stand out—in fact, some even expressed a desire for more than three weeks' vacation. But workers seemed to value the flexible approach that management takes with each employee's needs. For years, the company has posted a 95 percent employee retention rate. Most employees work out of their homes and are given flex-time, part-time and telecommuting options.

Management also encourages employees to bring family problems to them for consideration of what might help, such as time off or more flexibility in juggling assignments. Among the many examples cited by employees include: A woman who contracted bacterial encephalitis was paid her full annual salary of about $70,000 during her yearlong recovery; a nurse suffering from cancer had her $70,000 annual salary quietly covered the entire time she was out sick—about six months—until she passed away.

“They are just so thoughtful when it comes to family. Whether it's a baby has been sick, a teenager has hit a rough patch, or whatever it is, they just always go above and beyond,” says Dolores Kelly. 56, a nurse and a case manager. “Chris just believes that if he takes care of the individuals, the company will prosper, and we have.”

Tracy Brooks, a support staff employee in the Rockford office of Triune, had to go to several doctor's appointments for her son after he faced a health crisis last year. She says Triune's owners allowed her all the time she needed, with few questions asked. “It's just such a nice work environment,” Ms. Brooks, 52, says. “If we do get stressed or have a problem or challenge, they always want to know about it and help us with anything that's interfering with our ability to do our job.”

When surveyed on “one best thing” about their company, employees responded with comments such as: “the integrity of the owners” and “their complete dedication to the overall health and wellness of their employees.”
Who else was in the list?  Check it out here!
Saturday, May 5, 2012
It was another Claims Management session at RIMS 2012 last week in Philadelphia, and the three presenters were reviewing their top ten ways you can screw up your claim. The session, aptly titled “The Top Ten Things an Employer Can Do to Mess Up a Workers’ Compensation Claim”, featured Attorney Doug Feldman of Lindner & Marsack, S.C., Allison Hanson, of TRIUNE Health Group, and Nora Vrakas of Construction Resources Management, Inc.

The three pegged the following as the Top Ten ways to foul things up:

1. Leaving the employee out of the internal investigation and reporting process!
 Read more here!
We occasionally receive Job Placement referrals that we know are destined not to go well for a multitude of reasons.  Such is the case on a file recently handled by Bill Newman (Vocational Consultant) and Al Weir (Job Placement Specialist) in the Rockford, Illinois area.

The Injured Worker (IW) was a 60-year-old female who had been off work for 3 years at the time of referral.  She had been employed as a teacher's aide for a social service agency and had sustained injuries to her left shoulder, cervical area, and low back and right hip.  Her FCE limited her to light work with limited lifting above waist level.  The IW was extremely overweight (affected her appearance) and had limited computer skills (reduced her marketability) despite having a BS in social work.  Recommendations were made for basic computer training, but the carrier initially rejected this.  When the IW had training she did very well, but additional training was not approved and her computer skills remained rudimentary and not competitive for clerical positions.

Job goals were initially in the areas of personnel, social service, inside sales, customer service and general office and were later expanded to include retail sales and fast food.  This was despite local employer research noting a requirement for 50-pound lifting abilities for retail positions.

Issues to highlight which occurred during the year this file was open are:

  • IW had 4 additional surgeries
  • File placed "on-hold" 3 times for a month each time while benefit issues occurred
  • IW had significant depression and had previously attempted suicide
  • IW was openly hostile toward the carrier and indirectly to TRIUNE Health Group.
  • IW was manipulative, marginally cooperative and desirous of the "perfect job".

The IW was offered employment as a case manager roughly 4-5 months into the placement effort, but declined the job out of concern that she would violate her restrictions.  She also interviewed multiple times with her arm in a sling or a cast.  Ultimately, the IW was referred for a position as a homemaker/companion and Al was able to confirm that she had sabotaged the opportunity by demanding an unreasonable wage (in excess of $10,000 more than her pre-injury wage) and misrepresenting the physical requirements of the job (the requirements were within her restrictions).  The case settled a week later after the carrier and petitioners attorney were advised of the interview outcome.

This was not an ideal case, but despite numerous obstacles and roadblocks, appropriate reemployment options were presented to the IW and she ultimately made the decision to forgo the opportunity to be re-employed.

We would welcome the opportunity to work hard for you as well.

To refer a file we can be reached at 800-633-0884.
Bill Newman recently completed work on a case with an Injured Worker (IW) who presented with quite limited options post a serious left arm injury.  The IW was a 52-year-old union carpet installer.  He had worked in this capacity for 25 years.  He had a GED, but no additional education or training.  At the time of referral for placement, he had been “off work” for 4 years.  The IW was restricted to 10 pounds of lifting and had a “no driving” restriction as well.

Bill actually placed the IW twice.  Initially the IW obtained a job as a parking lot attendant, but developed elbow pain, which was related back to the work injury.  He was taken back off work for an extended period for additional treatment and then when he reached MMI again, his file was re-opened.  Bill eventually placed the IW in a full-time host/cashier position for a large restaurant chain.  It was anticipated that this case would end up as an “Odd Lot Perm Total”.  Total Vocational Rehabilitation costs were approximately $12,000.

Even with an economy that remains troubled, a poor labor market and significant and limiting restrictions, there are opportunities and with assistance from Professionals like Bill, the ability to find options and RTW.

To make a referral to Bill Newman or the Vocational Department at TRIUNE Health Group please call 800/633-0884 or visit our Web site at TRIUNEHG.com.  We would welcome the opportunity to be of service to you.