Managing growth in professional case management

Rebuilding lives is part of everyday life for Keith Bushnell and his team. Yet Bushnell, who took over at the helm of HCML in 2010, has more ambitious plans for professional rehabilitation case management to transform UK healthcare by accelerating recovery.

HCML has for years delivered independent medical needs assessments and subsequent case management services for insurers and solicitors acting for injured clients in employer, public liability or road traffic accident cases, returning clients to their pre-injury state quickly and cost effectively, always working to the ethos of early intervention.

Bushnell, who has steered HCML from loss to profit and virtually quadrupled its turnover, taking it to nearly £17m since he became CEO at the Croydon based company, says that while much of its growth has come from the company’s ambitious expansion and recruitment policies, it also reflects a new spirit of understanding in the claims market about the power of case management.

“We re-invented our catastrophic proposition in 2016, appointing eminent specialist case managers, then saw our work in multi-track case management explode to the extent we are now taking on about 70 new cases each month, making us a market leader here.”

He says HCML has also built a strong presence in absence management by creating a new service it calls ‘occupational rehabilitation’ to stem the unacceptable £25-billion cost to the nation of absenteeism and says he is determined to improve the UK’s sickness absence rate.

‘When instructed by solicitors and insurers HCML has always treated physical injuries in the context of client’s psychological and social needs, and now more employers see the link between absent staff becoming depressed or anxious about returning to work.

‘Employers needed a more practical alternative to the traditional occupational health approach.  They needed a solution to the ‘what happens next’ question and saw that our action-plan approach was giving them measurably faster, better return to work outcomes, and helping them to manage their pay and benefits spend.’

Bushnell, who has established a record of increasing revenues and expanding market share throughout his forty year career, says that growth from HCML’s traditional insurer and solicitor market shows the market is embracing the early intervention ethic enshrined in the Rehab Code, and that, he says, inspires him to seek new markets.

‘Most of the companies referring injured clients to us know that getting people on the right clinical pathway to recovery at the earliest possible stage gets better outcomes, with exceptional proof of value results showing the power of every pound spent on rehabilitation.

‘We have proven that the Rehab Code can work in the real world and unite both insurers and solicitors to the common goal of exceptional outcomes for patients.

‘By navigating fragmented health care systems for the patients in our care, and by finding and constantly reviewing the best care options for each individual, we are restoring them to independence, work or study faster than they could otherwise expect.’

‘There are striking parallels between these results and the need for clinical commissioning groups to maximise primary healthcare services and patient-recorded outcomes, especially in areas like musculoskeletal injury and mental health.

‘Professional case management could help cut the crippling ticking time bomb of NHS funding of long-term conditions with an ageing population.  With our team of senior medical professionals experienced in NHS service design, delivery and innovation, we intend to be at the forefront of that role.

‘We can do what the NHS is not geared up to do, where care is still offered in silos and in a static way. We can bring a project management approach to co-ordinate and accelerate recovery, to get the essential sequences of care lined up in parallel and with the support of frequent interventions necessary to keep recovery on track.’