Author Archives: Helen Knight

Joseph McCullough Joins MedRisk

King of Prussia, Pa. (November 10, 2015) — MedRisk, a leading managed care company specializing in physical rehabilitation and diagnostic imaging in workers’ compensation, has named Joseph McCullough Executive Vice President of Customer Solutions.

He will be responsible for the development of new customer-focused solutions that improve the quality of healthcare, reduce medical costs and deliver operational efficiencies.

“MedRisk’s commitment to delivering effective solutions in a constantly changing landscape requires talent, leadership and an in-depth understanding of the workers’ comp community,” said MedRisk CEO Shelley Boyce.  “Joe’s experience in building successful workers’ comp specialty programs makes him a strong addition to our management team.”

McCullough has more than 10 years’ experience leading healthcare companies, most recently as president of OneCall Transportation + Language.  He also served as senior vice president of Optimal Care, the MSC division of Transportation and Language. In addition, McCullough is the former CEO of ZoneCareUSA and Select MRI prior to their acquisitions.

“I’ve admired MedRisk’s industry innovations for years and am excited about being part of this dynamic, customer-centric company,” said McCullough.

About MedRisk
MedRisk is the leader in physical rehabilitation and diagnostic imaging solutions for the workers’ compensation industry. Founded in 1994 and based in King of Prussia, Pa., MedRisk is accredited under URAC for utilization management and has successfully completed a SSAE 16 Type II examination. MedRisk’s programs deliver savings and operational efficiencies that are significantly greater than traditional programs. Customers include insurance carriers, self-insured employers, third-party administrators, state funds, and case management companies. To make a referral or obtain more information, visit or call 800-225-9675.


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Media Contacts: 
Helen Patterson, APR, King Knight Communications, 813-690-4787;
Rommy Blum, MedRisk, Inc., 800-225-9675 ext. 1150;



PRIUM’s Mark Pew to Speak at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo

Pew and Walmart share its opioid management success story; then he discusses trends in urine drug screening with CWCI’s Alex Swedlow

Las Vegas, Nevada (November 3, 2015) – PRIUM’s Senior Vice President Mark Pew will participate in two sessions at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo.  The conference will be held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, November 11 through 13. 

Pew and Walmart’s Director of Workers’ Compensation Janice Van Allen will share how the retailer used lessons it learned from reducing opioid misuse in legacy claims to develop a data-driven methodology for preventing drug misuse on new claims.  The interactive session, which starts at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 11, will provide prescription drug mitigation strategies, metrics for measuring success, and foundational principles to consider when creating an early intervention program.

“PRIUM helped Walmart create a program to address dangerous drug regimens that changed people’s lives,” Pew said.  “Beyond reducing the use of dangerous drugs and creating preventative measures for future treatment, they established a workplace culture of transparency that is to be envied.”

On November 12, at 2 p.m., Pew and California Workers’ Compensation Institute President Alex Swedlow will discuss trends in urine drug screening. Swedlow will review the latest CWCI research on the practice of urine drug screening. Pew will share best practices for urine drug management, its place in a full strategy for ensuring proper medication use, and how testing can help provide better care.

To read more about these presentations, please go to

PRIUM will also exhibit at Booth 239 at the conference. 


An Ameritox solutions provider, PRIUM sets the industry standard for workers' compensation medical interventions through its ability to secure higher agreement rates and ensure compliance with modified treatment plans. The hallmark of the medical intervention company's success is a collaborative physician engagement process encompassing evidence-based medicine, clinical oversight, and jurisdictional guidelines to ensure optimal financial and clinical outcomes. PRIUM eliminates unnecessary treatment through a comprehensive approach that includes complex medical interventions, utilization reviews, and independent medical exams.  Based in Duluth, Ga., PRIUM can be reached at or 888-588-4964.




Twitter: @PRIUM1 and @RxProfessor



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Contact:  Helen Patterson, 813-690-4787,



Building trust

Only 19% of Americans say they trust the federal government, according to Pew Research. The report says that the highest trust levels occured during the Cold War and just after 9/11. (Nothing like an enemy to unite us behind Uncle Sam.)

So what is trust?'s first two definitions are: on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence and 2. confident expectation of something; hope.  

The federal government has many disparate agencies with different agendas and communicators, making any trust-building effort extremely difficult. Government representatives say different things…let the refugees in, vet them better, we can't adequately vet Syrian refugees. Who do you believe – the FBI or the executive branch? 

This is an organization that can't protect its own employees' data from computer hackers.  It's hard to instill "reliance on the ability" in this environment.  

Fortunately, your company is not as big and unwieldy as the government.  You can secure your public's trust through sound public relations: saying what you're going to do–and doing it–and then communicating what you've done. Whether it's delivering high-quality health care to an injured worker promptly, shipping a sweater on time or making sure the meat you're serving is free of e. coli, you demonstrate integrity. Words are important, but they aren't enough.  Action is what counts.

Here are some suggestions for building trust in your organization.

  • Identify the organization's mission
  • Clearly communicate the mission and your plans for executing it.
  • Make sure your actions (and products and services) support the mission.
  • Align all communications around your core message
  • Do things the way you promised you would
  • Say you're sorry when things go wrong,  take responsibility, explain what you'll do to fix problems, then give the outcomes when the problem has been corrected
  • Let your audience know the good things you're doing

You should continually review your products and services and how they're delivered against your core business ideals. I've known smart companies to jettison tangential product lines that took their focus off their core businesses. ​It takes time and consistency to build trust, and just one "isolated incident" can damage it if is not handled correctly.  Acknowledge and correct problems quickly. Don't over-promise and under-deliver. 

Actions speak louder than words; do the right thing the first time so you don't endanger the public's trust or have to spend a lot of resources cleaning up your mistakes.




Proper pronunciation make you look smarter

I've noticed some people with excellent vocabularies regularly mispronounce certain words.  I attribute this to them having read the words, but not hearing them used much.  

I'll always remember my friend Jeanne Dillard correcting our high school algebra teacher's pronunciation of some word (which I've forgotten.) Mr. Bates always said the word wrong. Jeanne has a great ear and a love for words (and a master's in linguistics and she is a successful novelist).  So she gently said, "Mr. Bates, I believe the word is pronounced "xxxx."  He turned red and sputtered, "Well either pro-nown-ciation is correct."  

The correct pronunciation makes you look smarter – at minimum people don't have to stop listening to you to mentally correct the sound.  (And they do–especially those linguists among us.)

So, here is a great post on mispronounced words.  Some of them surprised me – incluing niche – I've been "nitching" that one.


Saying You’re Sorry – Part 2

I know some companies are trained by their legal departments to never say they've sorry….even when they blow up oil rigs, kill people,and mutate generations of sea life. (Heh, those workers who died on the oil rig want their lives back, too, Tony Hayward…and their families would like to have them back, too.)

If your company does something egregious, say you're sorry like you mean it.  

Contact the families of the dead and injured and apologize — in person — You, Mr. or Ms. CEO or the Highest Level Person Your Organization has.

Dana Perino, one of President George W. Bush’s press secretary's, tells a great story in her in her new memoir about his visiting injured soldiers in hospitals.  Some of these service people would never recover. Others would wish they hadn't.  Usually, their families were so happy that the President was there, that they were polite and pleasant.

But, one mother just went off on him, chewing him up one wall and down the other, while her comatose and dying boy lay there.

Later that afternoon, President Bush was solemnly staring out the window of Air Force One when he turned to her and said, “That mama sure was mad me.” A tear rolled down his cheek.  But he took it. He took her unfiltered grief and bitter anger.  And he should have taken it.  As should every president, every military commander, every police chief, and even every building contractor who sends some mother's child into harm's way. He made a tough decision and that mother's son paid the price.

If you’re the CEO of a drug company and your product kills people or an airliner and your plane crashes–even through no real fault of your company, "hear" the grief and anger of the people your company destroyed.  To quote President Clinton, "Feel their pain." At least try to imagine it because you are a parent whose child has died, you will never know the devastation they feel. But you can say you're sorry. 

No, your apology doesn't go far toward healing their broken hearts, but it does say the organization cares. 

Then, try to fix the cause. And, don't just throw money at it.  (More on this in a future post.)

One definition of public relations is “good behavior, well communicated.” You need the good behavior first. So find out what went wrong (and  do not to take 10 years to figure this out), take steps to fix problems, make appropriate reparations, and make real changes before you start bragging about all the good you're doing. But, start with a heartfelt, "I'm Sorry."

PRIUM’s Mark Pew Discusses Rx Drug War in Work Comp at CLM Medical Legal Summit

Pew participates in panel discussion on the prescription drug war, a medical, legal and claims perspective on the national pain killer crackdown. 

CHICAGO (June 4, 2015) — PRIUM’s Senior Vice President Mark Pew participated in a panel discussion, “The Prescription Drug War: A Medical/Legal/Claims Perspective on the National Painkiller Crackdown” at the 2015 CLM Medical Legal Summit on June 3. Jessica Smythe with ISO Claims Partners and Jeremey Cayton of Liberty Mutual joined Pew on the panel.

Pew focused on the supply and demand of prescription drugs in workers’ compensation. Among other things, he reviewed the impact of Food and Drug Administration’s rescheduling of hydrocodone products in October 2014.  The U.S. uses 99 percent of all the world’s hydrocodone, and 16.2 percent of the total work comp drug spend comes from hydrocodone-combination products, such as Norco, according to Helios’ 2013 Drug Trends Report.

“Since America’s overuse of prescription pain drugs is no longer a secret, there are many initiatives intended to dampen both supply and demand,” Pew said.  He highlighted the ones that can have the strongest impact on workers’ compensation by influencing prescribing behavior.  

The Medical Legal Summit addressed a wide range of medical legal topics to educate and assist claims professionals and attorneys in the complexities of managing claims and litigation involving these topics. PRIUM is also a sponsor of the summit.

An Ameritox solutions provider, PRIUM sets the industry standard for workers' compensation medical interventions through its ability to secure higher agreement rates and ensure compliance with modified treatment plans. The hallmark of the medical intervention company's success is a collaborative physician engagement process encompassing evidence-based medicine, clinical oversight, and jurisdictional guidelines to ensure optimal financial and clinical outcomes. PRIUM eliminates unnecessary treatment through a comprehensive approach that includes complex medical interventions, utilization reviews, and independent medical exams.  Based in Duluth, Ga., PRIUM can be reached at or 888-588-4964. 

Mark Pew – Twitter: @RxProfessor

About the CLM
The Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) promotes and furthers the highest standards of claims and litigation management and brings together the thought leaders in both industries. CLM’s Members and Fellows include risk and litigation managers, insurance and claims professionals, corporate counsel, outside counsel and third party vendors. The CLM sponsors educational programs, provides resources and fosters communication among all in the industry. To learn more about the CLM, please visit 

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Helen Knight, King Knight Communications, 813-690-4787,
Susan Wisbey, The Claims and Litigation Alliance,