Recently, we had the pleasure of talking to one of our members ─ Libby Christman, VP, Risk Management & Safety for Retail Business Services, an Ahold Delhaize USA company ─ about how she came to know WCRI.
Libby leads a department that is responsible for reducing risk, for claims management, and for ensuring a safe workplace and shopping environment for associates and customers of Ahold Delhaize USA's great local brands including: Food Lion, Giant Food, GIANT/MARTIN'S, Hannaford and Stop & Shop, and Peapod.
1) How did you first learn about WCRI?
I was invited to attend an upcoming meeting of the WCRI Pennsylvania Advisory Committee. At the time, I was working for a regional, Pennsylvania-based grocer, GIANT/MARTIN’S. In addition to the benefits that membership provides, I loved the benchmarking reports, which allowed me to compare the states I was overseeing across a range of workers’ compensation metrics.
2) What value do you derive from being a member of WCRI?
There is a significant benefit to WCRI membership. After joining WCRI, my job expanded and the number of states I am responsible for increased. As a result, the benchmarking reports became even more important as I was looking to compare workers’ compensation costs and trends in a number of states to best support Ahold Delhaize USA’s local brands.
At the same time, I became more engaged with Retail Business Services’ self-administered claims group, so other WCRI studies started to intrigue me, such as the Institute’s research on return to work ─ an area where we are always looking to be proactive and create meaningful work for injured associates. The increasing costs of litigation is another issue we want to better understand and address. WCRI’s research allows us the opportunity to see how states are addressing these issues, which is extremely helpful.
Since we are self-insured and self-administered, the cost of prescription drugs is also an area of focus for us—especially the utilization of opioids. Through WCRI research, we learned that we are not the only company dealing with this issue. We also learned strategies for addressing it, such as the use of formularies and getting our adjusters involved to approve refills so we can better serve injured associates.
3) What is your favorite WCRI study/research area?
I am a data junky. I truly love looking at the studies. I like to problem solve. Sometimes when you are facing a problem, you think your company may be isolated. However, I know I am not alone thanks to WCRI’s research, which gives me rich comparisons of how others are dealing with the same challenges we are.
In addition to the prescription drug research I mentioned, the research on medical benchmarks by state, as well as medical outcomes, has been eye-opening. Medical costs are a significant part of our workers’ compensation costs. Understanding the differences in costs by state and how policy may impact those costs is important for the brands of Ahold Delhaize USA.
Comorbidities is another area of research that WCRI has published studies on that is very important to us, since it helps us improve the treatment and communication associates receive after an injury―leading to better outcomes.
4) Can you describe a moment when WCRI’s research was really helpful?
At a recent breakfast hosted by WCRI at the National Workers Compensation Conference, I learned that some states had much higher rates of prescribing opioids. The learning enabled me to go back, connect with the team, and ask questions to understand how this trend is manifesting for us. It was a lightbulb that I had the ability to have an impact on a problem that is having an impact across the country. In addition, since we support local grocery brands that operate pharmacies, I have shared the research with the brands’ pharmacy teams.
Interested in becoming a member of WCRI? Click here to learn about the benefits of membership, and then use the form below to contact us with your interest or any questions you have.