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Paduda: It's Not That Hard, People

By Joe Paduda

Monday, March 8, 2021 | 0

Over the last few years, I’ve been involved in multiple engagements with workers' comp payers where their “vendors” just weren’t performing.

Joe Paduda

Joe Paduda

Responsiveness was poor. Problem solving was more client-blaming than taking responsibility. “Proactive” was a word used in stewardship reports and entirely absent from actual account service.

Platitudes. Excuses.

Sure, every service entity has problems. I’ve dropped the ball more than once myself. And there’s no question that a client’s performance may be part of the problem and/or expectations may be unrealistic.

That’s not what I’m seeing. Rather, consistently poor performance seems to be OK with the execs at some service providers. My sense is there are two general problems.

First, some service companies focus on what’s important to them, not to the customer. Increasing revenue, raising prices, selling other services, pulling back on commitments/turnaround times, adding fees for services that were previously part of the package — all are seemingly more important than just making the customer happy.

I recall a site visit to a client’s then-vendor where a senior exec proudly pointed to a wall of accolades for employees. The exec voiced delight at the many notes lauding employee performance. I looked closely. Every one referenced an employee adding services, billing more, creating revenue. None referenced a delighted customer, a happy patient, an employer with a solved problem.

"Success" equals more vendor money.

Second, execs — and their subordinates — are not listening to customers. And if they do, all they are listening for is an opportunity to sell more stuff. The execs are not asking how the client is doing, what it's focusing on, what problems the client is facing, where the client is heading, and what the vendor can do better and how it can improve.

Many vendor execs aren’t seeking to understand what makes the individual they are working with successful, how they are measured, what is important to them.

Most recently this may be driven by COVID’s impact on claims volumes and the trickle-down reduction in medical services producing fewer visits, fewer medical services, fewer bills, less need for utilization review, case management and everything else.

But this was happening long before COVID hit.

What does this mean for you?

Understand and solve your customers’ biggest problems, and do it without adding to their workload.

Or fail. 

Joseph Paduda is co-owner of CompPharma, a consulting firm focused on improving pharmacy programs in workers’ compensation. This column is republished with his permission from his Managed Care Matters blog.


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