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When Good Disability Case Managers Leave

It is often a difficult time for an organization when their valued disability case managers leave.  Many leave organizations for better opportunities and working conditions, and when they leave, they often take their knowledge of your experience and processes with them.  It is not uncommon to see disability claims and cost experience increase during the periods of change as the organization attempts to find its footing again – which in some cases means the entire re-development of processes and procedures.

When examining the correlation between high disability claims experience and case manager turn over, we are often left to wonder, which is driving which:  are case managers leaving because the organization lacks inherent supports? Or is it that when good case managers leave, the lack of inherent supports results in higher experience?  Regardless of the driver, the outcome for the organization is the same:  lack of fundamental internal structures to manage workplace disability cases causes disruption and results in substantially higher costs and fosters a culture that is inconsistent with good disability management practices.

The twenty-first century solution to this dilemma is not so new: relevant policies with good internal structures – and effective systems.  To ensure consistency and continuity of an effective program, a good system is essential.  The better systems will provide a reliable framework to support the organization’s disability management processes, avoid the development of shadow caseloads and prevent gaps in management – the latter two being the death-nail for case managers.

Organizations cannot assume that every case manager will remain with them indefinitely.  Likewise, they cannot afford to assume that the next case manager will have the same initiative and skill for developing internal structures and systems which will continue to be effective.  Instead of relying on case managers to develop, maintain and enhance your systems, seriously consider having the system that offers structure, support and resilience and rely on the case manager to do what they can do best – manage.