Skip to main content

Disability 360: Top Trends, Tools & Tactics (Part 3/3)

Posted by Marc Avaria and Travis Kelly on January 23, 2019

This is the third part of our three-part blog on disability management. In this blog, we have developed a checklist of features you should look for in an effective disability prevention and management strategy.

Active Case Management – A fully-integrated, multi-disciplinary approach allows for timely access to a network of disability management and health care professionals who can seamlessly guide claimants through their treatment and recovery - every step of the way.

True Team Effort – This collaborative approach ensures efficient and expedient case management, compared to a siloed approach in which practitioners work independently of each other, resulting in insufficient or even delayed treatment for the claimant.

At Medavie Blue Cross, we have an in-house team of over 130 professionals to handle all aspects of case management – from a full assessment of a claimant’s level of function to a thorough analysis of workplace programs and accommodations. Team members include occupational therapists, kinesiologists, social workers, RNs, medical advisors and pharmacists among others. Each plays a vital role in achieving our shared goal of helping claimants return to health and return to work.

3 Cs - The keys to our team’s success are the three Cs: collaboration, coordination and communication. Teamwork does not truly work unless everyone is on the same page, working toward the same goal.

Communication – Communication is critical in getting a claimant back to work quickly and safely. We deliver consistent, ongoing case management status updates to employers and employees through our structured best-in-class communication practices. Our commitment is to provide employers with biweekly phone updates on all short-term claims and monthly calls for long term claims.

Partnerships – When it comes to disability management, employers can’t do it alone – at least not effectively. That’s why partnering is so important. As an example, we work closely with the Medaca Health Group, one of Canada's leading psychiatry-based early intervention services for workplace mental health. The result? Medavie Blue Cross has seen a 28% increase in the number of mental health claimants returning to work before the end of the short term disability period.

We recently launched a pilot project in collaboration with Medaca, to give eligible plan members on an approved mental health related disability claim easier access to expert care. The project delivers an industry-leading online form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) that allows eligible disability claimants diagnosed with anxiety or depression to receive face-to-face therapy from an accredited professional from their phone or computer. The CBT treatment will be integrated with the psychiatric treatment service Medaca has offered Medavie since 2012.


The impacts of a disability prevention and management strategy that is driven by current and emerging trends, employs tried-and-true tactics and adopts the latest tools in the industry include:

  • Fewer benefit claims
  • Sustainable plan for the future
  • Shorter absences from work
  • Lower drug, counselling spend
  • Cost savings you can reinvest
  • Healthier and happier workforce
  • Increased productivity
  • Healthier bottom line

Editor’s Note: This blog is based on a webinar titled “Disability 360: Surveying the Disability Management Landscape", presented as part of our series of learn-and-earn CE credit opportunities. To sign up for future webinars, email [email protected]