Magazine article Risk Management

RIMS Southeastern Regional Education Conference Celebrates I

Magazine article Risk Management

RIMS Southeastern Regional Education Conference Celebrates I

Article excerpt

Celebrating the past and preparing for the future were the themes of the 25th Annual RIMS Southeastern Regional Education Conference, held October 5 through 7 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. he conference was sponsored by the Carolinas, Palmetto, Piedmont and Western Carolina chapters and hosted by the Piedmont chapter.

The education sessions examined the many unexpected changes that the past 25 years have brought to the risk management environment. In a luncheon speech, William J. Kelly, senior vice president at J.P. Morgan in New York and first vice president of RIMS, discussed RIMS' involvement in government affairs. "Because not all of our members are affected in the same way by proposed legislation, it is often not appropriate for RIMS to oppose or support entire bills. Rather, we identify those aspects of proposed legislation that would adversely affect all our members and attempt to educate legislators," he said.

Mr. Kelly explained the impact of the health care proposal on workers' compensation. "Under the President's proposal the employer would have no role in choosing the injured employee's health care provider, thereby derailing all managed care initiatives." He also discussed the inefficiencies created by a split federal and state system. "According to the proposal, the health plan operating under federal guidelines will manage the medical component of workers' compensation, while the employer will have to set its disability policy according to state rules." As a result, he explained that "the health plan has no financial stake in designing and recommending medical treatments that focus on achieving rapid recovery and return to work."

Mr. Kelly discussed RIMS' position on the OSHA reforms proposed by Senator Ted Kennedy. "Although RIMS may often not take a position on an overall piece of legislation, this bill is an exception that can be opposed in its entirety," he stated. "This law seems to say that the way to achieve a healthy and safe workplace is to punish employers."

Mr. Kelly explained that the bill would take previous OSHA misdemeanors and make them felonies. The Kennedy bill also mandates that all employers should have written health and safety programs, which creates "a requirement that may subject all employees to the same rigid standards whether or not necessary or appropriate in a particular workplace." It also dictates that all employers with more than 11 employees must have joint employee management safety and health committees. Mr. Kelly questioned whether these one-size-fits-all requirements are appropriate for all employees at all work sites.

The opening general session examined the rise of managed care over the past two decades. "Today, there is some confusion about what managed care actually is," said Janice C. Hackett, managing director of Health Care Concepts, a division of Willis Corroon in Nashville, Tennessee. "The underlying issue is cost: how to deliver the best medical care at the best price," she said. Ms. Hackett noted that the per capita cost of health care in the United States is $3,092, about double that of comparable industrialized nations. "The cost of health insurance is what has brought about the health care reform movement."

Today, there are many variants within managed care, from discounted services to fixed care costs. "While today over half of people still get their benefits from traditional indemnity plans, in the future the pattern will be reversed, with more employees utilizing various managed care platforms," said Ms. Hackett.

Employers have taken surprising actions in the health care field, said Ms. Hackett. "Who would have thought 10 years ago that certain manufacturing companies would have gotten involved in managed care by setting up their own clinics?" In the future, more employer alliances will contract directly with health care organizations, she added.

Managed care may not be the cure for some health care problems, but it is one of today's best overall health care solutions, according to Marc D. …

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