Tag Archives: FutureComp Consulting

Dear Reader

By now, many of you may be wondering why I have not been doing much writing of late. The reason for my absence from the blogosphere is that one month ago, I was offered and accepted a position with a software company here in South Florida, that works in the Insurance industry. I waited this long to tell you because I wanted certain family members to know first.

Many years ago, before moving to Florida from New York, I worked for a small, retail insurance brokerage firm on New York’s Long Island that handled what is called a “wrap-up” insurance program for a very large public agency in the metropolitan area, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

I administered the claims reported to our office by contractors and subcontractors working on construction and non-construction contracts with the Port Authority. My new employer sells software that manages the administration portion of construction wrap-up programs, also known as Owner Controlled Insurance Programs (OCIP) or Contractor Controlled Insurance Programs (CCIP).

For the past month, and for the foreseeable future, I am in training, as their system is very complex, and the administration side of the business is new to me. Eventually, I will be going out on business trips to train clients, but that is a few months from now.

Many of you probably did not know that while I was writing my blog, I was unemployed. I kept my personal situation quiet because at the same time, I was looking for work, and hoping that my idea for medical travel and workers’ comp would lead me into another direction.

Reasons that has to do with issues I have raised in the past, from the medical travel industry and the workers’ compensation industry, have frustrated my efforts to get this blog noticed. I have also been trying to get FutureComp Consulting up and running, as well as providing me with an income.

Since the death of my father, and the placement of my mother into a nursing home for her dementia, I have been living hand to mouth, with eventual homelessness staring me in the face, as well as mounting debt my father assured me would be taken care of. While I am very grateful and appreciative of all the attention my blog has gotten from around the world these past four years, not being able to make a dime from this activity has forced me to make this decision.

Therefore, I have decided to end my blog, shut down FutureComp Consulting, and focus on the job at hand.

But before I do, I want to address both industries on where you are failing your markets, your customers, and what the recent US election means for both industries moving forward.

First, the medical tourism industry. Many of the people I have met are good people, but there are a few rotten apples in the barrel, and we know who they are. They are a pair of lawyers based here in Florida who proport to represent the industry to the world, but only represent themselves and their cronies.

Their sham conferences and certifications are part of the reason this industry has a black eye. They are nothing more than a means to make money for the organizers and not to influence decision making that will improve and expand the industry.

The industry’s focus on the boutique medical treatments, legitimate or not, plastic and reconstructive surgery, breast surgery, dentistry, and so on, which only a few well-off people can afford to access, is one reason why medical travel for the middle and working classes is overlooked.

I am rather disappointed that with so many viewers around the world these past four years, none of you ever reached out to me offering assistance for my idea, to have me come visit your countries (all expenses paid, naturally), etc. To quote a friend of ours, “WHAT AM I, CHOPPED LIVER?”

I have laid out my criticisms in previous posts, so you are welcome to read them before the site is shut down permanently.

Next, the workers’ compensation industry, that I have given much of my life and effort in, has from nearly the beginning, ignored me, insulted me, and dismissed me because I did not have an executive title after my name.

Why did I get this treatment? Because there are too many stakeholders, too many dinosaurs, and too many wise guys who think they know everything, and no one like me could ever have a better idea, so why listen to him, Mr. R. Wilson, the workers’ comp blogosphere’s answer to Rush Limbaugh. Attack anyone and any idea you don’t agree with or like, all the while telling your readers you don’t know the person you viciously attacked and never apologized to, or gave the time of day to.

Also, the industry is just too conservative to grasp the changes that the global economy is having on all industries, and that is because the laws, rules, and statutes that govern workers’ comp are nearly one hundred years old, and were written for a horse and buggy world, not a world of instant communication and supersonic and even suborbital flight, that Richard Branson and the US Air Force are experimenting with that will cut travel time around the world, bringing us closer together.

Third, they have lost sight of who the industry serves. It does not serve the employers, the lawyers, the physicians, the rehab centers, the pain management centers, the bill reviewers and the pharmacy benefit managers, et al. It is supposed to serve the man or woman who gets hurt on the job, and is not a burden to be disposed of ASAP.

Here too, I have listed my objections to the ways of the industry, and while there are many people trying to correct these problems, there are many others who are taking advantage of this broken system for their own personal gain, or ideological biases. Opt-out is one example of this. David DePaolo, who was tragically lost, and Joe Paduda are two of the good guys.

The workers’ comp system needs to be opened to new ideas, from new people, and if you don’t want federal intervention, you better get organized now nationwide to lobby every state legislature to change the laws and regs to open it up. Otherwise, as some have suggested, workers’ comp will disappear.

Finally, what does last week’s disastrous US election mean for medical travel and for workers’ comp. The incoming, neo-fascist administration of a reality TV show host, whose top advisor is an avid racist and anti-Semite, will no doubt go after NAFTA, CAFTA, and the TTP, and his promise to build a wall on the Mexican border, to register Muslims, and his appeal to xenophobic nationalism, will mean that it will be harder to get regular Americans to travel abroad for medical care, which will certainly slow the growth of the industry and may even increase domestic medical travel, but if that man guts the ACA, many people will lose what health care coverage they recently obtained under the plan.

As far as workers’ comp is concerned, that all depends on what happens with the ACA. If it is repealed and replaced with nothing, look for case shifting back to health care from work comp.

While I was deciding to write this article, I thought I might ask for your opinion on whether I should end writing and shut down the blog. This will give you a chance to read past posts, and to be fair to you, my loyal readers. Let me know your thoughts.

If not, it has been a real pleasure, even if it has not been financially rewarding, or has helped in my career.

Thank you and goodbye.

SPOTLIGHT Interview on Medical Travel Today.com

The following interview was published this morning on Medical Travel Today.com. They have published several of my articles in the past, as well as a prior interview in 2013.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): It’s been awhile since Medical Travel Today has checked in with you. Remind our readers of your position in the medical travel industry, as well as what you have been involved with since we last chatted in 2013.

Richard Krasner (RK): I am the blogger-in-chief of the Transforming Workers’ Comp blog, as well as the CEO and principal consultant of FutureComp Consulting – an as yet not official company dedicated to bringing the medical travel industry into the workers’ comp industry.

Since 2013, I have continued my blogging, and in November 2014, I spoke at the 5th Mexico Health & Wellness Travel Show in Reynosa, Mexico. I was invited to speak again at the 6th Mexico Health & Wellness Travel Show in December, in Puerto Vallarta.

MTT: Can you give the readers some background on FutureComp Consulting and its goals?

RK: I came up with the name of the company because I truly believed that the future of workers’ compensation in the U.S. has to be more globally focused, especially since the workforce in the U.S. is increasingly Latino and Asian, as has been reported by those who follow the demographic makeup of the U.S. population as a whole.

The goal of FutureComp Consulting is to transform the workers’ compensation industry by freeing employers and injured workers from the high cost of surgery for work-related injuries common to workers’ compensation claims, such as back, hip, knee, shoulder, and carpal tunnel.

MTT: Do you work directly with the patient, employer and/or both?

RK: As FutureComp Consulting is at the very early stage as a startup company, there are no patients or employers that I am working with, however, there is one health plan that has expressed an interest to expand what their members’ employees are already doing in northern Mexico with regard to general healthcare, and not workers’ comp.

My vision for the company would involve employers and insurance companies seeking to lower the cost of surgeries for work-related injuries, with the injured workers agreeing to go out of the country when the option is presented to them. They would not be under any obligation or pressure to go abroad for medical care, and should they decline to do so, they would be free to get treated here in the U.S., as if the option was never offered. I think that with the large and growing Hispanic workforce in the U.S., that if presented correctly, they would choose to go to their home country, or similar country for surgery. This would help them overcome any language or cultural barriers, and assure their friends and relatives in that country that they are getting the best care possible, in the best facility their country has to offer. For non-Latino workers, it would be a chance to see another region of the world, and to learn about other cultures. Naturally, in both cases, spouses and even children, would be allowed to travel with them to make the worker feel more comfortable with going abroad.

MTT: Will FutureComp Consulting help connect medical travel patients to specific locations?

RK: I would like to see injured workers travel to Latin America and the Caribbean, because the travel time from the U.S. mainland would be less than four hours, and less of a strain on their injury and recovery from surgery.

MTT:Medical travel provides patients with the opportunity for high-quality, cost-effective healthcare, so in 2015, why do you think there is still pushback?

RK: For one, I think because of media reports about the negative outcomes and serious injuries that have occurred, even a few deaths, here and there. Second, I think too many Americans are under the impression that medical care in other countries outside of North America and Western Europe is so-called “third-world medicine,” and therefore not as good as medical care at home. Third, the concept of “American exceptionalism,” of which I have written about in the past, is too strong in the mindset of most Americans, especially those who have never traveled abroad or to those regions where medical travel is currently offered. I have written about the issue of “third-world medicine” as well, and one domestic critic of mine insists that I want to send patients to Bangladesh or some other country that does not have first-world medical care, as they would define it. I don’t want to disparage Bangladesh or any other country, but that is the perception, and that is why there is pushback, at least in terms of what I am trying to do.

The workers’ comp industry is too conservative, and too stuck in their ways to look outside the box and outside the border of the U.S. to find solutions to the problems plaguing workers’ comp. In other words, they have not caught on that the world, healthcare and workers’ comp are all globalizing.

MTT: Where do you see the future of healthcare headed, domestic and international?

RK: As far as workers’ comp is concerned, I think that the future of medical care is uncertain, because there are forces both internal and external that are challenging the original intent of the system. International medical travel for workers’ comp is years away in much the same way that sub-orbital, commercial flights between one and four hours travel time is — something that may happen by mid-century.

However, domestic medical travel in workers’ comp is occurring due to differences in medical and surgery costs from state to state.

With regard to general healthcare, the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has not yet been felt as either hurting or helping medical travel, because the timeframe is too short at this point. Not enough information about the impact of the law has been developed, although there are some conflicting opinions about aspects of the law, which I have recently written about in regard to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

I am not sure if the ACA is driving some people to look abroad, but those who are now covered, and who were not covered before, are more likely than not to stay home, unless it gets too expensive or they lose it because opposition politicians get their way.

MTT: At this point, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

RK: Yes, there is. The end of October 2015 will mark three years since I began writing my blog, and one of the biggest disappointments I have encountered has been the number of individuals and organizations that are not behaving in an ethical or professional manner. This has been brought to my attention by several individuals I have had contact with over the past three years. I believe that it is time for this behavior to stop. We must treat each other ethically and professionally. Standards should be established for how to conduct business with each other, between our partners, and with the patients themselves, as well as for how to practice medicine, and relate to foreign patients in terms of learning to speak their language, and providing meals at the proper time and in accordance with their cultural norms, etc. We must also develop organizations to bring the industry together under common laws and procedures for handling problems.

Lastly, I think there is far too much emphasis on conferences and congresses, and not enough on actually going out into the market and getting the business, instead of bringing providers and facilitators together. Also, the industry must, as I said in Reynosa, go after the workers’ comp market; it will not come to you. You must go beyond cosmetic and plastic/reconstructive surgery, dentistry, spas, wellness programs, etc., and market your services for the masses, and not just the rich and affluent. Healthcare should know no class distinctions.

I have been unable to get traction from both the workers’ comp industry and the medical travel industry, but I am willing to partner with anyone who sees what I am trying to do, and wants to be a part of it. I hope this interview will allow me to do so.

The entire interview can be seen here.