Is All Quiet on The Workers' Comp Front? (aka, Can We Get Back to Normal Now?)
I was speaking to a friend the other day about general topics within the workers' compensation industry. This person, who I find highly informed about comp activities across the nation, made a simple yet highly relevant statement. Their exact words elude me, but it was in essence that things just seem to be really quiet now in the industry. It was a sentiment I could easily identify with.
I've struggled to put my finger on it, but in the onslaught of COVID information and controversy, it does feel that many of our usual activities and challenges have been pushed aside and are not currently an active concern. As a blogger for the industry, I've personally experienced a significant reduction in published posts since the pandemic began. Initially, it seemed that the general disruption to travel and workflow was to blame, but gradually the realization came that there was less motivation to write about certain topics. Simply speaking, it has become much more difficult in recent months to find topics that are interesting enough to opine on.
The big issues are still there. Benefit adequacy. Opioids. Medical efficacy. Medical Marijuana. Pharmacy spends. Litigation and legal conflict. Return to work. Disability avoidance. Gig Economy. Regulatory complexity. Fraud (on both sides of the aisle). It is just not as much is being said about them right now. And with the comment made by my friend, the realization struck me that I am likely not the only one who feels that way.
The industry has seen a drop in claims overall during the pandemic, and that can contribute to a reduction in related activities. Certainly, for me, the lack of travel and personal interaction has had a lot to do with the “drift towards nothingness.” Sure, we are attending virtual conferences and the like, but it is not the same. Many of the ideas for this blog have historically come from my travels, where conference sessions and personal discussions trigger ideas to be jotted down and eventually written about. Absent that, it seems easier to lose focus on important issues and ideas; especially when a single themed pandemic is dominating every conscious thought across the nation.
So, is all quiet on the workers' comp front? Or have we just been distracted enough to be complacent on topics that still deserve our undivided attention? And if that is the case, when and how do we get back to normal?
Or perhaps I am wrong. It may just be me. Maybe I have just been off my game the last few months, and active dialogue and discussion on these topics are still at the forefront. I have, after all, been enduring the home remodel from hell this year. And the pandemic certainly distracted us with our own webinar production services keeping us extra busy.
Whatever the reason, I sense the industry longs for normalcy, even the somewhat dysfunctional normalcy that guided our day prior to COVID. Here's hoping we see that sooner rather than later.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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