Employee Benefits

We All Need Reminders

Travis Dent
Travis Dent
Sr. Vice President, Employee Benefits

I sat down at my computer recently fully prepared to write about a recent experience I had in a client meeting. I was going to pontificate on how things are complicated and how we’ve got to pay particularly close attention with all that is currently happening in the pharmacy segment within healthcare. While arguably relevant, it seems somewhat trivial after a conversation I just had with a long-time colleague and close friend.

As I limbered up like Rachmaninov about to impart a concerto of wisdom (okay, maybe like Larry the Cable Guy on a kazoo), she stopped in asking that I sign a birthday card for one of our shared clients. I asked about her weekend, and she told me she’d gone home to have a meeting of sorts with her family. As is the case with many of us, her parents are aging and she finds herself in the unique position of coordinating their care, along with her siblings.

This particular family discussion, orchestrated by her, was to deal with a diagnosis that one of her parents recently received. As we talked about where her next decisions would lead, I was struck by something that is worth ”blogging” about.

You see, I’ve legitimately been in hundreds of meetings with this person as we’ve shared several mutual clients over the years. We’ve debated budget numbers, reviewed annual reports, and built many strategies to impact the health, cost, and culture of our shared customers. In each of those meetings, we were talking about hundreds, if not thousands, of employees at a time and our tenor surrounded population health. This “meeting” was different, and there was a face, a name, and a family associated with it. Not once was there a mention of lowest cost, nor a reference of network steerage. No, this particular conversation focused on how she was feeling, how her parents were doing, and what next steps they had decided on as a family.

While the conversation drifted to solutions like Cariloop and various employee assistance program (EAP) resources, the thing that really hit me was the reminder of the “human” business we’re in. Yes, healthcare is expensive and it’s absurdly complicated. It takes a team of experts (shameless Holmes Murphy plug…come on, it’s a company blog) to navigate and a team of compliance experts to help you “stay in your lane, bro.” However, what we can often lose sight of is the people we’re helping and what they’re going through. While we have countless resources and some of the best communicators in the industry, we need to stand back and remember — at the least it’s a disruption to your regular life, but more pointedly, it’s a person with a diagnosis.

The timing of the season lends itself to finalizing budgets, confirming renewals, and putting the complicated into 15 words or less on a slide. All important and certainly we’re at the ready as we bound into the fall and open enrollment season for many. That said, while I’ve always viewed our jobs as consultants to make the complex simple, after connecting with my friend I might now say it differently — we need to make the complex simply human.

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