Terry says they found that about 50 percent of their employees didn’t have doctors. Where were they going? Urgent cares. And that was causing increased loss ratios. Now, for a number of people, this is their doctor and some even bring their family.
What’s resulted from this is that their losses started going down. Terry says it’s not because people weren’t going to the doctor, but they were finding that people were starting to take care of themselves by addressing the issues of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, smoking and nutrition.
“At most transit properties, you have people who have erratic schedules. And, they’re not eating well and usually grabbing some fast food and bringing it to the rest of the family,” says Terry.
They also did a “smart bomb approach,” identifying and working with individuals who were high-risk users, the highest contributors to the loss ratio. Working with them with the doctor and practitioners they helped focus those individuals from some of the complications that were occurring, such as getting uncoordinated treatments from multiple doctors or splitting pills or skipping doses. Terry says, “That was a very interesting approach, but it was a tactical effort to get into some of the high flyers.”
With the changes in place, a couple years ago when going out to bid they started seeing a reduction in renewals and they started seeing competition. And when going out to bid this year, they had nearly a 14 percent reduction in healthcare. “We switched carriers, we have more competition, it played out exactly the way we hoped in addressing the issue of first getting a healthier workforce and driving down the cost for our company,” Terry says. “This year we project being close to $700,000 in savings.”
Efficiencies in Labor
Over the past couple years a lot has been done to reduce the overtime and absenteeism. Previously absenteeism was about 17 percent to now 6 percent. Overtime in transportation was 20 percent, now at about 8 percent and vehicle maintenance overtime was at 20 percent, and now down to around 10 percent.
Over the week there was so much overtime availability, some would call in sick one day to pick up over time later in the week.
“We looked at the staffing model of some of the bigger properties on how they staff,” Trevor Ocock, vice president & chief operating officer, explains. They determined the appropriate number of FTE they needed and pushed hard and fast to hire quickly and then not have as much overtime availability. And it really required employees to come to work, he says. “It was a tough road.”
It was a little different when it came to maintenance because the staffing levels weren’t the issue. There are multiple shops within the vehicle maintenance department and one was the rebuild shop where they would rebuild their own components. “We did an analysis about five years ago that showed everything we were rebuilding. We wanted to see the equivalent of buying new components under warranty.
“We saw that holistically for the whole shop, it was better to discontinue rebuilding used parts and it was better to buy new parts with warranties.”
Ocock says they reached out to an area college to help train those from that shop some of the other skills, such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrician and body work and those employees were transferred to the other shops.
With recertification, better scheduling and a voucher system, IndyGo was able to provide more efficient access for paratransit. Terry says they do functional and cognitive assessments to recertify individuals so people who are truly in need of the service are qualified for that.
“We found that maybe a third or more of the individuals were certified because they couldn’t access fixed-route because of sidewalks not being there or being in disrepair or lack of safe crossings,” he says. By working closely with the city department they put a major focus on areas needing street and sidewalk improvements.