I was reading an article today about the scarcity of IV fluids due to the natural disasters we have encountered this past year. Apparently one of the major suppliers of IV fluids manufactures these items in Puerto Rico and due to the recent hurricanes, the ability to manufacture these fluids has been greatly affected. One hospital in the article stated they only have a two-day supply available.

How does this apply to workers’ compensation? Other than if one of your injured worker is undergoing surgery and requires IV fluids, and your provider may have difficulty in locating resources? I believe there is another application. It got me thinking of the way vendor panels are selected in our lines of business.

Often when I approach a new insurance or TPA company to determine their interest in adding our company to their vendor panel, they will tell me we already have the vendor we like to use. While I always appreciate the opportunity as much as the next gal, to be the exclusive vendor to provide managed care services for an insurance company or TPA, I always wonder if that is the best approach for that company.

Having redundancy already built into a vendor panel I think is helpful in two ways. First if something untoward would happen and a company for whatever reason is unable to fulfill their requirements for your company, you have another company or two trained and able to fill in that void until another option is determined. Secondly, if the companies who are providing a service to you know they are one of several providing the service, they will unlikely become complacent in providing those services. I am also a big believer in Pilot Programs. I think a Pilot Program helps you to get to know a company and how responsive they are going to be, their level of professionalism, etc.

While I understand that if you took every call and meeting about vendor panel admission you would be doing this year-round, I do believe that getting to know some new options could freshen up and improve your whole program. I know when we sit down with new potential vendors to provide the services we need, it opens us up to new options and alternatives. I am hopeful that the next time I call you to set up a time to introduce CompAlliance to your company, we can take the time to learn more about your needs for managed care services and how best we can assist you in some way to meet those needs.

Happy New Year!