Editor’s Note: It has been an extraordinarily hectic few weeks here at WorkersCompensation.com, and Bob has found it difficult to maintain this blog while dealing with the COVID related demands on his business. In the interim, we have decided to offer a few past posts that are near and dear to his heart. He expects to resume normal blogging activities shortly. This article was originally published on October 9, 2013, and was a humorous continuation of what has become one of Bob’s overriding missions; to rebrand the workers’ compensation industry, changing the overall focus for both those in the industry as well as those needing it’s services. It should be noted, he still has that twenty dollars.

An Open Offer to State Regulators Regarding Workers’ Recovery

Bob and CashSome people might call it a bribe. I prefer to call it “incentivization”, even though spell check insists that isn’t a real word. At any rate, it is an important cause, and I am willing to put it all on the line. I am willing to pay my entire life savings, about $20, to make it happen.

I’ve made no secret that I advocate a significant shift in the way workers’ compensation works. We have become mired in process and short term views, and in so doing have lost sight of the end game. We are spending much more, and getting less for the effort. Employers and workers are being hurt by this. I believe that the industry needs to shift focus from process to return; from compensation to recovery. And that would start by renaming the entire industry.

Workers’ Compensation needs to be called Workers’ Recovery. While much more needs to be done, this is a critical first step. After all, words mean things – even if spell check disagrees by indicating I am a blithering idiot.

Obviously the regulators are the key in this process. They often have their legislature’s ear. Often, but not always. I am no fool, and realize that this is not guaranteed. I am sure some regulators would love to have their legislature’s ear, or any other body part for that matter. And a rubber mallet or vice-grip. While getting things done would be much easier if they had a different body part and the appropriate “tools of influence”, we will, for our purposes, have to settle for the ear and hope for the best.

Therefore, I am offering, to the first regulator that can shepherd this industry name change through their legislature, the princely sum of $20.

Yep, that’s right, 20 clean, crisp, unmarked $1 bills, placed in a plain envelope and taped to the bottom of their mailbox, just for being the first to successfully rename their division and related industry “Workers’ Recovery”.

I got this idea at a recent committee meeting of the IAIABC, where we were discussing return to work issues. I mentioned to the group that if I were “King for a Day”, I would rename the entire industry “Workers’ Recovery”, as I felt “compensation” today puts the wrong emphasis on the process. A woman from one jurisdiction, who clearly does not understand the concept of temporary autonomous rule, promptly informed me thusly that they were statutorily bound to operate under the name workers’ compensation, and therefore would continue to use workers’ compensation, and I could do nothing about it, and that is all there is to it, and I was a blithering idiot (ok, she didn’t actually say I was an idiot, but there was the same vibe I get from my spell check). It was a verbal pantsing if I’ve ever experienced one.

But she was right. I will not be King for a Day. I am a blithering idiot. And the laws need to change. We need the regulators of the various state agencies to pick up this issue and lead the charge in their respective jurisdictions. This will require statutory changes, and we need to fire up the legislative sausage grinder to get this going. The regulators can define the issue and show us the way. It goes without saying, of course, the first one through will be twenty dollars richer for the effort. They will have happily earned my entire retirement nest egg.

They will also need to agree to let my wife and me spend our golden years in their back bedroom, but we can work those details out later.

So how about it Mr./Ms. Commissioner/Director/CEO? Let’s do this thing. Which one of you will be first in the nation to put our industry on the path to recovery by naming it Workers’ Recovery? Which one of you will lead?

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