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No brag, just fact: Blow your own horn
Take credit where it's due
You may have sent an injured employee to a specialist early on, so that he avoided additional days away from work. Or maybe you arranged for an employee on short-term disability to work remotely so she could still be productive, resulting in a two-week savings under short-term disability benefits.
If so, "blow your own horn!" says Judy A. Garrett, health services manager at Syngenta Crop Protection in Greensboro, NC. "You need to let management know if you're doing something that saves the company money."
As a rule, occupational health professionals "tend to be caregivers and not advertise all we are doing," she says. "If you are not in management's face to say, 'This is what we accomplished,' they are never going to know it."
If ten employees of the 200 you screen have high blood pressure, says Garrett, compute the potential cost savings to the company. "If you are not doing that kind of reporting back to management, then they don't see you as someone that's helping the company," she warns.
Have expenditures on workers' compensation decreased significantly? Safety may take credit for this when in fact it was due to case management done by occupational health, she says.
When doing health screenings or wellness promotion, cost savings can be demonstrated from the early identification of chronic diseases, adds Garrett.
"You can't afford to wait for somebody else to point that out. That may never happen," she says. "Leadership aren't medical persons, and they wouldn't necessarily think in those terms."
Use aggregate data
When an employee didn't pass a hazardous materials physical because of high blood pressure, he was given medication to control the problem, which could have prevented a stroke or cardiac disease, says Susan L. Zarzycki, RN, COHN, CM, an occupational health manager at Finch Paper LLC in Glens Falls, NY.
"People don't know they have high blood pressure until you tell them. And if you feel okay, you probably won't get checked," she says.
Zarzycki will soon have access to aggregate data from a newly implemented electronic medical system, which will let her see how many employees were seen in a month and how many got blood pressure checks. Other aggregate data is already provided by the company's insurance carrier.
"Get an average cost of a stroke from your insurance carrier," advises Zarzycki. "You can say, 'In seeing all these employees for blood pressure screenings, we may have saved this amount by preventing a catastrophic event,'" she says.
For more information on taking credit for cost savings, contact:
Judy A. Garrett, Health Services Manager, Syngenta Crop Protection, Greensboro, NC. Phone: (336) 632-6499. Fax: (336) 632-7062. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org