How Including All Care Stakeholders Improves Workman's Comp Outcomes with Dr. Clarence Lee, M.D., M.B.A., CMLEEJR Companies, LLC
: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast, where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host Saul Marquez
Saul Marquez: [00:00:19] Outcomes Rocket listeners, welcome back once again to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we chat with today's most interesting and inspiring health care leaders. I really want to thank you for tuning in again and I invite you to good outcomes rocket dot com slash reviews where you could take a look at our Apple podcast and leave a rating in review. I love hearing from you all. And so take your time take a minute leave us a note about what you thought about the show today and I always will promise to make sure that you have any ideas, we'll make sure to implement them that's what outcomes improvements all about it's about listening and doing your best to make sure you deliver to your customer, which is the patient. And so without further ado I want to introduce an outstanding guest today. His name is Dr. Clarence Lee Jr. Dr. Clarence Lee Jr. is a physician consultant. He is the founder and CEO of CMLeeJunior companies. He is also an author of a book called persists how to beat things that make us quit. An amazing gentleman that does also practice in health care. And so what I want to do right now is open up the mike to Dr. Lee and have him fill in any of the gaps in the intro. Dr. Lee welcome to the podcast.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:01:32] Thank you. Thank you for having me on. Yeah that's great great kind of overview of some of the things I've been able to do do some work in the personal development space and that's where the book kind of came from. And I just enjoy working with employers trying to help them get their workers comp costs down.
Saul Marquez: [00:01:48] And it's a critical initiative. Dr. Lee to bring those costs down because they can often be one of the largest line items aside from labor for employers. And so I think it's really interesting that you focus there.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:02:00] Yeah unbelievable line item depending on the structure of the organization. Yes I'm just straight pay cash for everything and just deal with a third party to handle their claims. But just what I've found is sometimes with the employer there's a disconnect with how the case is being managed and so you know I bring my experience as occupational medicine physician just trying to help the employer work with employee engagement and health and wellness as well as if there is a claim you know how do you compress that claim get the employee. Taken care of with proper care and in back to work as soon as possible.
Saul Marquez: [00:02:35] Man that's so cool and so Dr. Lee tell us something what got you into medicine to begin with. What's the genesis of it all for you.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:02:42] Yes my mom's a nurse so she introduced me into medicine very very early on. I'll try to keep this short story brief but one night so much she started off nursing. She was working the night shift and I don't know how exactly she negotiated this but one night I was at work with her single mom and I was going to do a good job to me work with her. And I had the opportunity to see what it was like she worked in the NICU to the neonatal intensive care unit so she worked in there took care of the really really small babies. So what made me make the decision. I saw a physician come in saw neonatologist come in one night and something hadn't been done for the baby. And this doctor was very very upset. So one in my life I had seen anger used in a positive way I had never seen anger used to do good. So this comes in and she's upset with something that didn't happen. And you could just see the passion in her eyes of how passionate she was about doing right by this patient. And so I just when she came in it's like hey this will get done this can be done this can get done. Oh let's just make sure we take care of this and focus on why we're here. But it gave me a perfect example how you can be very passionate about something and you can do good with it. And so that's the reason I said hey you know that looks like something I want to do. I can fight for a good cause and make some positive change in health care. So that was kind of the the main kind of catalyst that made me decide I think I was the physician.
Saul Marquez: [00:04:14] And that's so cool you're in this department. Nick you where you know things are so frail and gentle the patients the kids are there and you have this woman that walks in and just shows that you could use anger constructively and all of a sudden you're just the next thing you know years later you're doing some pretty amazing things. Dr. Lee and I love it you know. Appreciate you sharing that story.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:04:36] Yes absolutely. I think everybody has you know has a low catalyst but for me. You know that was the catalyst. And so I try to take that with me as I practice and as I consult with just understanding that hey the patient is let's not forget about the patient. I know I know there's numbers. No there's no know there's work schedules but at the end of the day that the patient is the number one thing. So I just try to practice with that with that kind of example in mind for sure.
Saul Marquez: [00:05:04] And so Dr. Lee you know you work with workman's comp and these segments. What do you think a hot topic that should be on every medical leaders agenda today should be and how are you and the organizations you work with approaching it?.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:05:18] I'd probably say at the top of my list from my advantage point is employee health and wellness. So I think in the market space there's a lot of chatter about how much are you getting pay what your compensation package what your benefits package things like that but what kind of gets missed a lot of times is the health and wellness promotional piece that a employer can do for their employee. And so we all kind of know in general if something's going on with the employee and they engage Miss not their profitability is going to be hit almost immediately productivity and profitability. Those are both things that are going to suffer and at the end of the day your customer as well. So if if your employee is not engaged that trickle down effect it happens on a lot of different levels so I think at the at the top of my list would be the health and wellness for employee.
Saul Marquez: [00:06:12] Such a key topic there you know and especially with the amount of health care deductibles being shouldered by employees. Yes what it is a company to do with this dynamic and incomes the idea of of oh, healthcare consumerism now. The actual employer has to start thinking about where they spend their healthcare dollars. What are your thoughts on that yet.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:06:33] Yes and you know depending on the state structure and you know your employer you're going to be paying it you know somewhere the poor are going to be paying about half of what that benefits package is for the employee. And I know at least in my experience a lot of the employees they don't know all the benefits that come with a lot of the programs that they pick or the the plans that they pick. And so you know I think from an engagement standpoint obviously education will be a piece of it but just letting the employee really understand what they're paid for and what they get with that and what comes along with it from a health and wellness standpoint because it's you know honestly medicine and medical insurance it is very reactionary right. All right. Something happening at all. What do I do. What do I do now or what's my plan now. But I think on the health and wellness piece focus and more on prevention obviously and then education on hey this is what your benefits are. You know I think those are huge huge ways like low hanging fruit on how you can decrease healthcare costs.
Saul Marquez: [00:07:40] That's interesting that you've always obviously been down this road many times and give us an example of how you and your organization have improved outcomes by focusing on this particular area.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:07:54] So I'd probably say it's very very very simple. Just getting all the stakeholders at the table and having a conversation. So just give me a example work with an employer. And depending on the company's structure you know they may have a national medical director or a consultant that they're working with that kind of communicates with the treating physician on how to manage the case and so many times you've got there's a bunch of players right. So you've got the insurance company you've got maybe a nurse case manager you might have a medical consultant then you've got the treating physician right then you've got the employee and you've got the employer. So many times people are operating in silos and when I say many I'm talking almost 90 percent of the time everybody's working and nobody at the table talking together. And so I just think a big piece of it is getting people in understanding what everybody's role is in having everybody on the same page about what we're going to do for the case. But yeah very very simple. And I found that when say your data adjuster is working an insurance company you've got a Trudel physician that wants to get something approved with everybody operating in silo you know it might be months or weeks before something gets approved and it's the right thing for the patient. What I found when you open those doors communication and get everybody at the table I can get things done very very fast for the patient when I've got a buy in from all the stakeholders. It makes sense.
Saul Marquez: [00:09:22] It does make sense. And so putting these these stakeholders together and just in a way that's going to help them make decisions quickly to help the patient in the end improve outcomes. You know Dr. Lee that's part of the reason why why I started outcomes rocket is because coming from med device for over 10 years I saw that a lot of people aren't talking to each other. There's a lot of silos in healthcare in general and you know you said 90 percent. I mean that's the truth. Right. And so you were dealing with numbers this high. It's imperative that folks like yourself Dr. Lee take the first steps in creating it. How do we make this siloed structure the methods that you have in a place how do we scale this Dr. Lee. How do we make this available across the board.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:10:04] That's a that's a big big question. But I would probably say that in the beginning stages is education and I know we all have our computer based learning and we've all got our thing. We've got to do our modules on and learn about. But I think in many cases people don't know what everybody else is doing. I think that the big problem though it might be a few people that understand the connection. But most folks don't know how many players that actually are there. And so I just think you know education on the overall process would be helpful. And it's funny because I was eating at a California Risk Assessment Conference a few months ago in my in my breakout session I was talking to a lot of risk managers and safety officers organizations and I said well how many of you guys have an actual education system where you educate the employee on the process of the worker's comp claim like what's going to happen. You're going to get a nurse case manager you're going to have a treating physician. This now works when you get things authorized. This is how charism will be rendered. And 75 percent had no no no education in place at all. It's like oh yeah we give them the packet. We say hey read this 4000 paid manual here.
Saul Marquez: [00:11:29] Oh you know what happens to the package.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:11:31] Yeah yeah. We'll check in with you in a couple months and see how you doing. Well that's going to lead to bad outcomes because the patient doesn't understand that and they think you're not on their team and you're not you're not trying to take care of them. And again with customer satisfaction so with employers employees not satisfied then that leads to litigation at least the longer cases right. But if you if you educate on the front end hey this is the system this is how it works. These are the stakeholders. This is who they have taken with you regularly the case gets compressed significantly and costs go down big time. So you know I would just say education if from a worker's injury you know employee injury perspective if you're an employer what is your system on educating that patient. Greeno for me about educating the patient on what's the process in the clinic.
Saul Marquez: [00:12:17] That's a great great call out there Dr. Lee and yeah you know it's as simple as understanding getting out of the trench and understanding that bird's eye view of what your treatments looking like so they know how to manage it. That's awesome. I know it's simple but not a lot of people are doing it. Let's let's get this attention to the bird's eye view and educate the patient. The patient wants to be involve outcomes listeners the patient is a person and you know we want to make sure that he has a patient I want to know exactly where do I need to go if something is stuck. So I think this is really really awesome that just tidbits that you've shared. Dr. Lee thank you for sharing that.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:12:52] Absolutely yes. And we want to get you know you want to get the patient taken care of as quickly as possible so I can avoid hurdles. That's what I want to do. But I can tell you the majority of people when they're dealing either with their insurance just in general just not understanding the process and feeling like the machine isn't working for them. And so I think you know here we do have a responsibility as an organization you have or possibly as organization to do your due diligence and make sure you are handling your finances appropriately. So I get that. And that's the line item piece. But there's also the patient side. Right. And so sometimes there's a conflict between the two on the care in say the line item how much something is going to cost and I just think as you open those doors of communication and the other piece I would say also is the treating physician needs to be rolled into this. So that's another thing that treating Doug. So does he get considering those conversations as well. But yeah it's we've got we've got a lot of work to do. But you know I'm dedicated to helping folks and sharing the knowledge that I have to help both speed speed care up and get cost down.
Saul Marquez: [00:14:06] Dr. Lee, that's so cool. And so give us an example of a time when you had a setback in this space and what you learned about it.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:14:14] Let me see. You know I saw that question before I was like Which one. There's been so many. You're learning every day. But yeah I would probably say it would be along the lines of what I'm preaching about communication. You know I had a case where a patient had had a fracture we needed to move quickly on it had reached out to the employer and tried to get to claim you know sped up and get the adjuster on board. But the adjuster. And so I punnet so I'll tell you that the the mistake that I had is that I punted it to who was handling the claim at the employer and long story short. It ended up taking weeks for the patient to get what they needed because we couldn't get the authorizations through. And so what I learned from that is the exact thing that I'm preaching now and I learned from it was all of the stakeholders were not in the conversation. And so it wasn't enough for me to just do who who was managing the claim with the employer needed to pull in the insurance company also needed to pull land the claims adjuster and a nurse case manager because there's a lot of stop gates along the way. So you know it was yeah just me kind of thinking stuff was going to happen without without me like buyers are there everybody good every value included and the patient ended up suffering at the end of the day. So that was the huge huge huge mistake on my part going on as a this is something I can learn from. Get the stakeholders at the table upfront. Wow
Saul Marquez: [00:15:47] And so this is sort of what became the start to your platform right. I mean you basically felt the pain and you saw it happen and now I guess just said hey never again I'm not going to let this happen.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:16:00] Yeah. It's you know this is personal. You know personal philosophy that I have it's like hey I believe everything happens for a reason and hey I need to learn the lesson even this is something that I need to learn the lesson from this and then try to do everything I can to make sure this doesn't happen again. So that's how I kind of started doing more consulting with employers. And hey let's make sure that this doesn't repeat with yours or hey what's your system like in place you know what was the system that you do have in place and say something did happen really quickly and you needed something to go quickly. How would you handle it.
Saul Marquez: [00:16:32] And you handled it really well. Dr. Lee and listeners this is the reason why there's questions here. The reason why we ask this to all of our guests is that in your biggest challenges and your biggest setbacks if you look at it with the right perspective you're going to find your biggest opportunities and. And Dr. Lee obviously did that and what he's done is now created a ripple effect of positive change in the healthcare system. What can you take a look at now. You know if you're going through something right now what can you do to change the perspective and see the challenge that you have in hands as an opportunity. What comes out of there is up to you but it could be pretty amazing. Dr. Lee give us an example of one of your proudest leadership moments in medicine today.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:17:14] Now switch gears slightly but from a leadership perspective I believe that everybody that you're working with it is important for you to know their goals and aspirations outside of their current role. So I say that because in the organizational structure where I work in the clinic it's like hey I've got medical assistance I've got back office I've got chiropractor I've got physical therapists I've got nurses I've got all these folks. But for me I always want to be interested and show my interest in what independent of their role what dreams and aspiration does that person have. And so the story I'll tell is having the way that I currently work with and been working with for two years. And when we first met kind of go through this hey what are you into. What are your dreams what are your what are your aspirations. What do you want to do with you. What are you going to do with your life. I to start that right. Oh my God they're just about to go. Were you. You know the question the most story short you kind of voiced her interest that she was interested in becoming a nurse at the time. And you know that was her dream. So every day just kind of asking Hey what's your plan what are you going to do and you have enrolled in school and how are you going to do this. And just kind of talking and about two year timeframe she is in her last year good very start her nursing program and she was full time. She is now doing part time in a finish up her nursing degree. Less than a year. So that's the type of stuff that really liked me from a leadership perspective if you're leading people they need to understand that you care about them not just their role not just the organizations benefit from having them there but show that you are genuinely interested in them being successful in life. And as a person and you got to know their dreams and aspirations to do that. So when she or she came in and said hey I'm going to go part time I want to finish my degree I'm less than a year out but just wear my heart up with joy that I was able to just continue to encourage her and give her that confidence that she can do that she can figure this out.
Saul Marquez: [00:19:28] That's so awesome. Yeah that's and that's a good reminder Dr. Lee you know we work with people and are not just robots in a factory and it's just it's so important to line up to other people's needs wants and desires and dreams.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:19:41] Because once you have once you have their body and once they know that you're interested in them and not just their role or their profit line that they're associated with they're more engaged in the workplace that they're more engaged in the workplace because they know that you have now aligned yourself with their goals as well. Not not is it just the employers goals. If that fence you're now aligned with their personal goals and that's that's the ultimate level of engagement there.
Saul Marquez: [00:20:08] Powerful yeah I totally totally agree. Dr. Lee getting close to the end here. Let's pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine today. It's the 101 course or the ABC of Dr. Lee. And so we're going to write out the syllabus here. I've got four lightning round questions for you we'll answer those quickly and then we'll finish up the syllabus with the book that you recommend to the listeners are you ready.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:20:33] Yup, ready.
Saul Marquez: [00:20:34] Awesome. What's the biggest and best way to improve healthcare outcomes.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:20:39] I would say man I was already for. I would say I would say education. Yeah I would say education.
Saul Marquez: [00:20:44] What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:20:46] Not communicating operate in silos. What are they. Well we've been talking about it.
Saul Marquez: [00:20:52] How do you stay relevant as an organization.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:20:54] Despite constant change say no cutting edge always looking for the next thing in anticipating or expecting it. Instead of optimizing what's working right now always be looking toward what's up becoming.
Saul Marquez: [00:21:07] What is one area of focus that should drive all else in your organization.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:21:11] I say employee engagement you know how engaged are they how aligned are the organization's goals with that person's individual goals.
Saul Marquez: [00:21:19] And finally Dr. Lee what is your all time favorite book that you'd recommend to the listeners on the syllabus.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:21:26] That will be a tough one. But I'd probably say of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I think it's a brilliant brilliant book and an excellent framework for activeness.
Saul Marquez: [00:21:37] Outstanding. Listeners, you don't have to write any of this down go to outcomesrocket.health/drlee. That's Dr. Lee. And you'll be able to find all the show notes that we've discussed as well as the syllabus that was just created for you and your success as well as links to the book as well as the links to all the things that Dr. Lee is up to visit that outcomesrocket.com/drlee. You'll be able to find that there. Dr. Lee, before we conclude I'd just like to ask you to share one closing thought to the listeners and then the best place where they could get a hold of you.
Saul Marquez: [00:22:14] So I always kind of endless and personal development stuff but I would just say hey if you have a vision get a vision for your life or your organization just to keep pushing out there and continue to optimize and do not give up too early and the best place to connect with me is you can just visit me on the web my Web site. It's clarenceleejr.com.
Saul Marquez: [00:22:37] Fantastic Dr. Lee. Thank you so much and listeners. Be sure to persist like Dr. Lee talks about and beat those things that make us quit. And Dr. Lee again just want to extend a big warm thank you to you and on behalf of the listeners and myself for being on the show today.
Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:22:53] Thanks for having me on. I had a great time.
: [00:22:59] Thanks for listening to the outcomes rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.health for the show notes,, resources inspiration and so much more.
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