Recently, we had the pleasure of talking to one of our board members ─ Joan Vincenz, managing director for operations risk at United Airlines ─ about how she came to know WCRI. At United, Joan has enterprise-wide responsibilities for emergency response, business continuity planning, workers’ compensation, and on-site clinics that serve United’s 85,000 employees. As one blogger wrote, “Joan’s career is pretty diverse, with experience as a flight attendant, in marketing, working on safety. She’s a stickler for details, for customer service, for metrics, for doing things the right way and living up to your commitments.”

1) How did you first learn about WCRI?

Peers from other companies/employers first mentioned WCRI to me when I came into my current role 10 years ago. I think the first article I read was about whether it was preferable for the company to choose a physician for an employee’s workers’ compensation treatment or if it was better for the employee to choose. It was an intriguing analysis to me since the results showed that difference is minimal as long as the employee’s choice is a physician that has treated that person routinely in the past. That type of research was valuable as our team looked to find approaches that helped our employees and that the employees embraced.

2) What value do you derive from being a member of WCRI?

I learned from my first day in workers’ compensation that there is no “silver bullet” to improving a program. For a company that has employees in just about every state in the United States, being able to compare the drivers of medical and indemnity costs and benefits across jurisdictions helps us tailor our approach by state. WCRI’s research also helps us work with our government affairs department to influence different states based on programs that are working well elsewhere.

3) What is your favorite WCRI study/research area?

The CompScope™ Benchmarks studies rank at the top of my favorites, because all our major locations are covered by this research. Our team analyzes the WCRI reported trends with what we are experiencing in our program. If we see a divergence, then we know that something in our program is operating differently. But I also enjoy seeing the “one off” research studies and appreciate the range – from litigation research to physical therapy frequency to prescription impact on claims. I always learn something.

4) Can you describe a moment when WCRI’s research was really helpful?

WCRI was at the forefront of gathering data on opioids, and I believe their research helped the whole country redo formularies. The biggest beneficiaries are injured employees who won’t become dependent on opioids going forward because of the changes providers, states, and companies have made in this area.


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