ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - May 2001


Behind the Teams: We've provided you with the tools and resources that will help you in your fight to keep team efforts alive, to build a greater sense of community and unity in your organization.
Click here to check it out!

  In This Issue...

A Purpose And A Place
Do Upper Managers Earn Their Keep?
Pageturners: Effective Training Strategies
Proof Positive
Brief Cases

 One From Column B —
My Kingdom for a Team

Peter Block explores the durability of teams and why they remain fascinating after all these years.

  Behind the Teams:

Just What the Doctor Ordered
In Support of Teams
Cynthia Minor and Mike Levenhagen

Highlights of Winning Teams
Views For A Change
Pam Walsh's Unofficial Quality Tips

Return to NFC Index

  Special Feature: Behind the Teams


Highlights of Winning Teams

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Claims the Gold

“Happy employees equal happy customers” is a phrase that you may be tired of hearing. As practical and common sense as it may sound, many companies have much to learn about really making their employees happy first and recognizing the impact their satisfaction has on other departments, the company overall, customers, and of course, the bottom line.

  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) is a company other organizations can benchmark for the importance of employee satisfaction. BCBSF’s State Account Operations Team has worked hard to acknowledge the value of participation and teamwork. The team’s efforts to improve claims processing and exceed contractual performance standards of the State of Florida’s Employee PPO plan were rewarded when they received the highest honor in AQP’s Team Competition.

Who Holds the Stakes?
“We’re in a unique situation because our goals were set for us. We have a contract with the state of Florida to administer their claims in a certain way,” says Jackie McCurdy, the team’s facilitator. “So our goals were mandated and we had to come up with a way to meet them. As a team, we identified our front-line employees as key stakeholders. They were one of the primary groups affected by the project and we valued their input.”

  It was important for the team to receive stakeholder input very early on. “This effort provided an opportunity to showcase how front-line employees have a direct impact on our work. This enabled them to see the results of their efforts,” says data quality manager, Donna Stanley. “Not only does that give you excellent information to begin working with, it also helps later with buy-in and approval of the project,” adds McCurdy. “I learned that stakeholder involvement is critical to the success of the project and that you need to be able to identify each person’s strengths, capitalize on those strengths and let each person contribute.” Kelley Hall, operations director, reiterates, “When you involve multiple people, you start to gain buy-in for your process and that’s hard to stop.”

What Employees Want
The biggest concerns identified by employees were insufficient tools and resources to perform their functions, lack of sufficient automation in the claims processing system and insufficient training for newer employees. Specifically the employees needed clear, consistent reference materials. “In our old environment everyone had manuals on their desk. Some had updates and some didn’t,” states McCurdy. “ They wanted up-to-date reference materials and they wanted more training opportunities. We received all kinds of ideas from the employees and we were able to incorporate some of their ideas into the final solutions.” The team evaluated all of the recommendations and determined those that had the greatest potential to impact their project.

  The team received little resistance from their leadership teams. BCBSF supported their efforts and generously supports teams throughout the corporation. “You don’t do anything alone,” McCurdy emphasizes. “The corporate philosophy is that through teams you should be able to accomplish any given project or goal.”

Teamwork Works
Their dedicated teamwork paid off resulting in a 32.5 percent increase in claims processing productivity, an administrative cost savings of $384,000, a 19 percent reduction in average operating cost per claim and a total savings of $4.9 million.

  Producing these results, along with participating in the AQP competition has made a significant impact on the team members and the entire organization. “I have learned the power of teamwork when you have a group of individuals who are able to pull together and reach a common goal,” says John Moore, team member and support manager. The team advises other teams that may be struggling with achieving results and lasting change to emulate other successful teams and seek guidance from experienced mentors.

  Teamwork makes a difference in work and that’s the bottom line. “I have learned that extraordinary results can be achieved when you have a dedicated group of people working together,” says Lisa Mathews, team member and operations manager. McCurdy adds, “I have certainly developed a greater appreciation for the work our entire staff does on a daily basis. The State Account Operations staff is responsible for ensuring our success in the eyes of the customers everyday, and that’s a tremendous task!”

Gold Winner: State Account Operations Claims Quality & Productivity Improvement Team, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Jacksonville

Members: Lisa Mathews, Richard Beeman, Kelley Hall, Jackie McCurdy, Keith Monday, John Moore, Donna Stanley, Shawn Starr

Project: Ensure the appropriate tools, processes and procedures were implemented to exceed the claims processing standards

Bottom line: A 32.5% increase in productivity and a 19% decrease in cost per claim.

Silver winners

Bronze winners


May 2001Homepage



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