New Claims System Nets City of Knoxville $3 Million in Savings
Client:City of Knoxville
- Improve safety and health of 1,700 employees
- Manage rising costs from work-related injuries
- CSC’s RISKMASTER Accelerator software for risk management and claims processing
- Lowered annual workers’ compensation costs by $3 million
- Improved return-to-work program
- Distributed key reports to city departments
City of Knoxville Confronts Workforce Safety, Welfare
The City of Knoxville, Tennessee – charged with serving the safety and welfare of its 180,000 residents – needed to better control its rising costs for work-related injuries while working to improve the health and safety of the 1,700 people whose jobs it is to deliver those services.
It was a daunting task, especially with labor-intensive operations such as fire, police, public works, engineering and fleet management that involved an average of 250 workers’ compensation claims and 200 to 400 general liability claims a year. It was even more daunting to manage those claims on an outdated risk management and claims processing system.
Since moving to CSC’s RISKMASTER Accelerator risk management and claims software, the city’s emphasis on safety and return to work — using timely, actionable information and reports to department managers and senior city staff — has helped reduce workers’ compensation costs by 60 percent.
Software Helping People
In addition to helping the City of Knoxville control costs, the management team found they could use the software to support in-house service providers, such as its physical therapists, ergonomic specialists and dietitians who use the software to identify trends among the city’s aging workforce.
“They all have access to RISKMASTER Accelerator,” said Ginger Huskey, the city’s risk coordinator. “They can pull their own reports and see what needs to be addressed.”
An example: “The exercise specialist can go out and observe how employees, such as police officers, get in and out of their cars and help them do things in a way to prevent knee injuries,” Huskey said. The software also has proved a boon to the onsite case manager who handles major claims. A recent case involved a police officer who suffered a serious gunshot wound to the leg.
“Our case manager worked with him closely and because the software is Web-based, she could even go to the doctor with him and input the information there and answer any questions for the officer or the doctor without having to make a phone call,” Huskey said. “That’s just one instance. It all adds up.”
Building Healthy Relationships
“Studies have shown that people who get back on the job have a faster recovery; they just heal faster,” Huskey said. “We can help that process along by tracking and structuring programs that fit the person, and that helps us have a healthy workforce.”
The software also has helped build healthier relationships with department managers. “They used to not really trust risk management, thinking that maybe we were out to get them,” Huskey said. “Now that we’ve proven that’s not the way it is, the communications have opened. We get the information we need from them to help everyone involved work smarter.”
The tangible results include a reduction in workers’ compensation costs from more than $5 million a year to now a little less than $2 million.
RISKMASTER Accelerator is used in concert with CSC’s Business Intelligence tools to provide detailed reports on a wide range of claims.
“We track all of our incidents now, whether it’s two employees running into each other in their vehicles or an employee falling down an embankment, and we can easily group them by accident, by department, however we can best see where the weaknesses are,” Huskey said. “Then the safety inspector has this information to meet with the right people in each department to suggest what can be done better.”
The software also automatically creates reports for OSHA-reportable incidents as the claims are created ─ instead of the staff having to compile an OSHA report at the end of the year. It also integrates with third-party tools including MDGuidelines, which supports the city’s return-to-work program.
“By inputting the diagnosis code and the person’s age, the region where they’re employed, the job description, the rating, whether they are very strenuous or light duty, it determines the average time an employee should be off work or on restricted duty,” Huskey said. “And we have metrics on whether our employees are returning to work sooner than the norm or later.”
The work done by Knoxville’s risk managers has not gone unnoticed. The city’s risk and benefits manager, Gary Eastes, received the National PRIMA Risk Manager of the Year Award in 2011 and the city itself received the Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award in 2012.
Huskey credited the city’s relationship with CSC as a key to its success.
“CSC has always been very supportive of us. The software manages all of this information, and being able to put it together into a report is very beneficial. It’s just a great package,” Huskey said. “A lot of places sell you a product and then you never hear from. That’s just not the way it is here.”