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Summer Journal

Volume 27, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

Controlling costs and improving clinical outcomes for injured workers are among the top priorities for workers' compensation payors. As the cost of medical care continues to rise and as the proportion of medical expense in the overall claim increases, a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) is often looked upon to interject; lending insight and assistance to control pharmacy utilization and cost.


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Today's workers' compensation claims environment requires a PBM to provide pharmacologic expertise, a robust network and service excellence while melding together the characteristics of analyst, clinician, processor, service representative, problem solver, educator, mentor, advocate, investigator, researcher and partner into one solution.

For even the most experienced this can be quite a challenge. Progressive Medical, however, is one PBM rising to the occasion.




Visit the offices of progressive, safety-minded construction companies these days and you'll see each and every employee -- management level and otherwise -- stretching, bending and reaching before starting the workday.

    In an industry where strains and sprains are by far the most frequent and costly injuries -- followed by falls, which are less common but more severe in terms of the damage -- more and more construction professionals have adopted a "stretch and flex" regimen to minimize on-the-job hazards.

    To protect their bottom lines, they need to. In some regions of the country, New York City in particular, some insurance carriers have found the workers' compensation market for construction so troubling they have withdrawn from it altogether. Contractors have taken on more retentions and are much more vigilant about safety as a result.



    IT is at the heart of most business today. Whether it’s in marketing systems and CRM, design software applications, production line automation or finance and accounting, if the information technology being used breaks down, so do business operations. Conversely, when service from the IT department is defined in terms of the business objectives of the organisation, business continuity can be positively reinforced. ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) and ITSM (IT Service Management) both take business goals as the starting point for defining and implementing levels of IT service. How then do ITIL and ITSM compare and what are their roles in helping to improve business continuity?



    Early in the summer, I noticed quite a few social media intern positions on some of the online job boards. Although I could see how it would make sense to some companies to get their feet wet in social media without spending much money, it gave me shivers to think that a solid business with good community standing might turn over its public media strategy to a kid whose only social media expertise was tweeting and Facebooking with friends.

    And apparently I’m not alone in my fears. I’ve read several articles that warn SMBs to not hire interns to take on social media—or at least not to hire them to be the sole voice of your company’s social media campaign.

    Although the younger crowd is quite familiar with the ins and outs of most social media platforms, it’s mostly what they aren’t yet familiar with that counts the most—your company’s relationship with its customers. I’m not saying that young men and women of college age have no understanding of business or marketing. What I am saying is that it often takes months or even years for a new employee to learn the real inner workings of a business and its marketing needs. Interns sign on for only a few months. By the time he or she begins to get into the groove, it’s time to move on.



    Only 8 to 10 percent of organizations have actually spent any money or time building Big Data applications or systems, according to a recent article in Datanami. But does that mean we’re all being conned about the growth of Big Data?

    Probably not. Even though that 8 to 10 percent figure was consistent when Datanami looked at surveys by Gartner, The Data Warehouse Institute (TDWI) and data integration vendor Talend, that particular statistic offers only a small view of the Big Data picture.

    As the article goes on to explain, there are other reasons to believe Big Data is still a major issue for organizations. In fact, the same Gartner study also found 64 percent of respondents either are investing or have plans to invest in Big Data technology this year. Other surveys show similar results.



    October, as you may know, is Cyber Security Awareness Month. The event is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, which means that Cyber Security Awareness Month is affected by the government shutdown.

    Luckily, the event has taken off since its inception and other organizations are instituting cyber security awareness programs. That’s the great news. The not-so-great news is the shortage of “cyber warriors” to stand on the front lines of cyber security.

    I’ve written about this security professional shortage before, of course. Even as more universities are stepping up cyber security education programs, there is still a lack of good, trained security professionals in the private sector – and even fewer in the public sector. As SourcingFocus.com put it:



    Last week, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced that his office is in the process of developing guidelines for insurance companies to request approval to write primary flood insurance in the state. This announcement came just one day after Rebecca Matthews, McCarty’s deputy chief of staff, told the Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR) was in talks with various insurance companies regarding writing primary flood coverage in the state. These developments are in response to continuing concerns about escalating flood insurance rates due to the Bigger-Waters Act of 2012.

    The Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 extended the National Flood Insurance Program by several years while also putting in place several reforms meant to make the program more solvent. One of those reforms was a phasing in of actuarial flood insurance rates over time. For many the increased premium will be significant, if not severe. In Florida, the biggest hit will be to homes built prior to 1974 in high risk flood zones. At last week’s hearing it was reported that some of those homes could see rates rise from $500 to $16,000. Current owners of those properties will continue to receive subsidized rates, but those subsidies will discontinue once the property is sold thus hindering the Florida real estate market.



    BURLINGTON, Wash.  To support the flood relief efforts in Boulder, Colo., Restoration Sciences Academy (RSA) will donate 5% of fees from hands-on restorative drying courses held during October in Burlington, Wash., and Nashville, Tenn. In addition, RSA and Dri-Eaz Products have donated equipment valued at over $20,000 to be used by Boulder Flood Relief to assist uninsured homeowners in the stricken region.

    Flooding is rare in the area, and many property owners did not carry flood insurance. “The worst hit in this crisis are those who do not have adequate insurance coverage,” said Brandon Burton, Technical Director of Legend Brands. “We hope RSA’s cash donations and the equipment will make it easier to get everyone back into their homes.”

    The donated equipment filled four pallets and weighed more than 2000 lbs. Reddaway Trucking, of Tulatin, Ore. (888-420-8960) is shipping the donation to Boulder Flood Relief at no charge.

    The fundraising effort is being led by SteamMaster Restoration and Cleaning in Eagle, Colo. According to Raj Manickam, CEO of SteamMaster, “The property damage is horrendous. The restoration and cleaning industry has stepped up,” said Manickam. “We responded promptly. You can’t drive down a street in the impacted area without seeing a restoration or cleaning company vehicle.”

    Individuals wishing to contribute directly to the flood relief effort are urged to contact Boulder Flood Relief at 720-943-4482, or email boulderfloodrelief@gmail.com. Current needs and relief activities are listed at the organization’s website at boulderfloodrelief.org.

    The Colorado Office of Emergency Management reported that more than 17,500 homes have been damaged or destroyed by the floods. Boulder County and surrounding areas received about 20 inches of rain in four days. In many areas, that exceeds the total amount of rainfall for an entire year.

    • VESTA®/Sentinel® 4 system installed in new, state-of-the-art Public Safety Complex in Florida state capital
    • VESTA/Sentinel 4 system enables new era of technological capability for first responder agencies in Florida

    TEMECULA, Calif. Cassidian Communications, an EADS North America company, today announces the successful implementation of its next generation emergency call taking system, VESTA®/Sentinel® 4, in Leon County, Fla. The system will support the mission-critical communications needs of four first responder organizations under the county’s new consolidated dispatch agency (CDA), helping keep the people in Leon County connected when it matters most.

    Home to the state capital of Tallahassee, Leon County has approximately 284,000 residents, plus a growing population from two universities and a community college. Leon County has relied on Cassidian Communications’ 9-1-1 call taking solutions since 2005 to field the approximately 230,000 emergency and administrative calls received each year.

    When county and city officials made the decision to consolidate their dispatch resources in 2010, it was determined that new communications technology would be needed to effectively support the four agencies coming together under one roof—Tallahassee Police and Fire Departments, Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Leon County Emergency Medical Services. Therefore, the county sought a solution that would be easy to use, yet deliver the power and functionality necessary for quick response, as well as provide a path for Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) by accommodating future, IP-based capabilities like text-to-911.

    “Moving to a new facility, while upholding the same level of service our residents are accustomed to, required a solution with little to no learning curve,” said Edith Taylor, Leon County’s 9-1-1 coordinator. “VESTA/Sentinel 4 providesjust that. Because of its ability to supply the same look and feel of our existing system, our call takers were instantly comfortable. We also have many new features, like the Activity View application which provides an exceptional level of monitoring and threshold-based alerting. Our supervisors are delighted with this functionality.”

    Leon County CDA’s VESTA/Sentinel 4 system supports a total of 40 call-taking positions, divided between its main center—the new, 100,000-square-foot Public Safety Complex—and a backup facility, as well as other public safety answering points, including Florida State

    University, Florida A&M University, the Capitol Police offices and the county’s mobile unit. This is made possible through the solution’s geo-diverse design, which also provides maximum redundancy to ensure the back-up system is fully operational, should the primary become unavailable.

    “I cannot say enough about how smooth the implementation was,” said Taylor. “The level of communication between our personnel, Cassidian Communications, AK Associates and CenturyLink was impeccable. It allowedme to breathe easily during this transition and I can continue to do so with the sense of security that comes with having this truly redundant system.”

    Cassidian Communications partners with best-in-class companies, like CenturyLink, to deliver an unrivaled level of service. Todd Jones, public safety major account manager with CenturyLink, said, “The success of the Leon County implementation is ultimately due to the partnership CenturyLink has with Leon County, AK Associates and Cassidian Communications, as well as the dedication of each individual, whether directly or indirectly involved with the project.”

    The purchase of Leon County’s next generation emergency call taking system was funded through a Florida E911 grant. The state’s E911 Board offers three grant programs to assist counties with the funding of such systems, enabling PSAPs to secure the technology they need to keep their residents as safe as possible.

    Leon County CDA also will use Cassidian Communications’ Aurora® MIS (Management Information System) at multiple locations. The ORION Vela® advanced mapping solution will be used in the backup facility along with ORION DataSync map updating solution, which synchronizes the ORION Vela and Aurora applications. In addition, Cassidian Communications will provide complete system security management, a comprehensive bundle of virus protection and patch management, through its Managed Services offering.

    About Cassidian Communications (www.CassidianCommunications.com)

    Cassidian Communications, an EADS North America company, is a global leader and trusted source for mission-critical communications technologies, including NG9-1-1 call taking systems, emergency notification solutions and services, and P25 land mobile radio networks and LTE. For over four decades, Cassidian Communications has upheld its promise to keep people connected when it matters most, consistently designing solutions with an open mind and creating smarter, more effective ways to ensure communities are safe. For Cassidian Communications, CRITICAL MATTERS. The company is headquartered in Temecula, Calif., with facilities located in Richardson, Texas, Franklin, Tenn. and Gatineau, Quebec.

    About EADS North America (www.eadsnorthamerica.com)

    EADS North America is the U.S.-based operation of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense, and related services. EADS contributes more than $14 billion to the U.S. economy annually and supports over 225,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers. EADS North America, headquartered in Herndon, Va., offers a broad array of advanced solutions to meet U.S. military and commercial requirements, including fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, homeland security systems, public safety communications, defense electronics and avionics, and threat detection systems.

    NEW DELHI — India breathed a sigh of relief Sunday as assessment teams fanned out across the eastern part of the country in the wake of the biggest storm in 14 years and found extensive property damage but relatively little loss of life.

    The state news service, Press Trust of India, reported that 23 people died as a result of Cyclone Phailin, most from falling trees or flying debris.

    Many had predicted a far higher death toll from the storm in this country of 1.2 billion people, where crisis management, regulation, planning and execution are often inadequate and thousands lose their lives each year to natural disasters, building collapses, train accidents and poor crowd control.