Joseph Paduda, a 20 year veteran in the workers’ comp industry, took some time to speak with us and share his knowledge about what’s been going on in the industry.Joe founded Health Strategy Associates, a consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation. They work to help insurers, employers and health care providers understand what is driving medical costs and advance their care programs. Joe also writes Managed Care Matters, an informed and respected blog written for those in the industry.
Joe described workers’ comp as a variable industry, where it is hard to control everything that goes on.
“Workers’ comp is this tiny raft in the sea of healthcare and we just bob along and wait to see where the wind blows us,” he said.
One thing that has spiraled out of control is the opioid abuse problem that is sweeping the industry. Joe says that it is a looming disaster for many insurance companies, though they haven’t seemed to recognize just how big of a problem they have on their hands. When they do figure it out it could already be too late; Joe says that a lot of them could go bankrupt since they have not accounted for the sheer volume of people who will need treatment.
Another thing that payers have yet to pick up on is how much, and how soon, the implementation of the ACA will affect workers’ comp. Overall he thinks it is a positive thing but it’s going to be difficult to convince the payers of that. He says a lot of people in the business focus on its’ burdens and ignore the positive contributions they might be able to make.he sheer volume of people who will need treatment.
“It’s a difficult environment, but you get paid to do that,” he said, “They don’t see the opportunities.”
Mr. Paduda is excited about those who drive their employers to specific providers, as UPS and other companies have started to do. He says payers can gain more control, see lower costs and end up with higher savings. It is a positive step in the industry that he wishes more companies would embrace.
Joe will be featured several times at the upcoming National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference (NWCDC). One topic he will discuss is physician dispensing, an area he has researched, spoken about and lobbied against extensively. He is also part of a roundtable discussion between several workers’ comp bloggers, and will moderate a panel on research in workers’ comp. If you are attending be sure to check him out and continue to read his posts on Managed Care Matters.