Ensuring a Smart Restart for Your Business: 7 Health and Safety Program Actions to Take Now

April 29, 2020 JJ Schmidt

As the U.S. begins to emerge from quarantine, companies are preparing to restart mission-critical operations they were forced to put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. No doubt, business leaders are wisely turning to their employee health and safety programs as their rudder. As you develop your own reopening strategy, here are some health and safety-related actions you can take to ensure a smooth transition back to work.

  1. Account for suspended surgeries
    While the nationwide lockdown was in place, most hospitals and providers put non-essential surgeries and medical treatments on hold. This was done out of an abundance of caution for both COVID-19 patients who were receiving treatment as well as front-line medical professionals. As states begin to lift restrictions allowing businesses to go back into production, it is a likely that we will see a surge in elective surgeries. To help in operations planning and resource allocation, now is an ideal time to work with your claims administrator to begin compiling a list of elective surgeries that were put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.
  2. Expect more health and medical appointment scheduling
    In the same way that surgeries will see pent-up demand, we can expect to see a rush to schedule health and medical appointments ─ annual wellness exams, physical therapy, diagnostic tests, and specialty consultations. Your claims administrator may also be able to help coordinate these and assist you in securing the earliest available appointments by working with their PPO networks to identify providers who can accommodate employees with priority needs.
  3. Take advantage of nurse case management resources
    Some employees may have been released for return to work when their state's shutdown occurred. It is important to check in with these employees as soon as possible to prepare for their return. For other employees, such as those who may have been out on a work-related injury leave, this is a good time to engage your nurse case management team in assessing these employees' current conditions, both from a physical and mental wellness perspective.
  4. Prepare for pre-certification and utilization review demand
    Pre-authorizations and certifications have increased due to the backlog of procedures not taking place during the quarantine. Coordinating with your utilization review service provider or third-party administrator will help you manage the influx of expected requests.
  5. Focus on your internal communication strategy
    In many workplaces and worksites, associates and team members have been away for several weeks, if not months. Prior to returning, it's a good idea to communicate and prepare them for the new normal. Communicate any new safety standards and practices you are implementing, as well as changes to work policies or guidelines, such as absence or illness reporting.
  6. Identify and implement new safety practices
    As we have seen in many businesses over the past few weeks, organizations are thinking about ways to make their workplace environments safer. Do you have a policy on masks? Are there other types of personal protective equipment that needs to be used?  Like grocery stores and high-traffic retail organizations, many offices, reception areas and other work areas could benefit from social distancing tools such as floor markers or plexiglass barriers.
  7. Prepare for the 2020-2021 flu season now
    While it's hard to fathom, now is the time to start thinking about the 2020-2021 influenza season. Some of the new safety precautions that businesses have put in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will help them manage the flu season as well. Start educating your employees now about the benefits of getting a flu shot and everyday habits to prevent the spread of germs and viruses.

Conduent is a leading service provider for the workers compensation industry, helping businesses and claims administrators drive process efficiencies, cost savings and effective return to work outcomes. To find out how Conduent can help you, email us at www.conduent.com/medclaims-solutions or call 1-844-ONE-CNDT.

About the Author

JJ Schmidt is a managed care and insurance claims expert focused on strategy, process and information technology. He has over 20 years of experience in the property and casualty (P&C) and workers compensation insurance sector.

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