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PMA Hospital Think Tank 2018: Insights into Healthcare Worker Safety & Risk Management

Cari Burhenne, Regional Claims Service Manager  |  May 22, 2018

PMA Companies recently hosted its sixth annual Mid-Atlantic Hospital Think Tank in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Over 50 risk management professionals and associates representing leading hospitals and health systems gathered to exchange ideas and best practices.

A key discussion revolved around the urgent need to improve the safety of healthcare facilities for healthcare workers. According to BLS, the leading industry in terms of the number of workplace injuries and illnesses is healthcare. The issue will continue to grow, as healthcare is one of the largest industries in the US—and growing rapidly. The Think Tank provided an excellent forum to discuss hot topics and emerging trends in workers’ compensation risk management. The discussions were robust and with the following issues garnering much attention.

Safe patient handling

Healthcare workers experience a high rate of musculoskeletal injuries, with patient handling being a leading cause of injury. A key theme that emerged is the need for a greater focus on the safety of healthcare workers when developing strategies for safe patient handling. An interactive discussion took place around best practices to help ensure the consistent use of equipment as well as enforcing accountability for using the equipment properly.

Occupational exposures

Another hot topic impacting healthcare workers is multiple chemical sensitivities, that is, an adverse physical reaction to low levels of common chemicals. New solutions and strategies to help workers with these sensitivities were discussed, including personal air purifiers and systems for employees to immediately address these exposures to avoid their reactions escalating.

Hot topics in healthcare risk management

An additional panel led a discussion around slips, trips and falls in healthcare settings. Conversations revolved around employee compliance with prevention programs and the employers’ scope of liability concerning parking lots and other areas.

Thank you to all participants for an outstanding day! Your exchange of ideas, insights and best practices made this year’s Think Tank a success. We will keep the conversation going.

PMA specializes in workers’ compensation and is a healthcare risk management expert. We are proud of the achievements of our healthcare clients, including recipients of the Theodore Roosevelt Award for excellence in workers’ compensation, RWJBarnabas Health, Rochester Regional Health, Valley Health, Excela Health, and Atlantic Health.

 

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About the Author

Cari Burhenne, ARM, CPCU, is a Regional Claims Service Manager for PMA Companies. Ms. Burhenne is responsible for creating and implementing value added account management programs for clients. She has 25 years’ workers' compensation experience, including in-depth expertise in claims management and service delivery for large, complex employers. Among the clients she currently works with are two Teddy Award winners. A graduate of The College of New Jersey, Ms. Burhenne has Associate in Risk Management (ARM) and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designations.