Developing a Win-Win Proposition

When the opportunity arises for a true win-win public policy outcome, someone needs to do the heavy lifting—conduct the research, refine the message, and present the case—that brings all the stakeholders together. WR Communications fills that role better than anyone.

Case Study Background

If a worker is injured on the job and requires surgery, it's in everyone's best interest that he or she recover and return to work as soon as possible. According to medical studies, smoking can slow that recovery because cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide which reduces the flow of oxygen within the body.

Historically, Colorado's Division of Workers' Compensation offered very narrow coverage for smoking cessation medication for injured workers, limiting it to patients with spinal fusion surgeries. But medical evidence was growing that smoking cessation could enhance recovery from additional types of surgeries and procedures.

Seizing the Issue

The Workers Compensation Council (WCC) is a Colorado organization representing the business community on workers' compensation issues. It supports policies that help injured workers return to the jobsite. Working with the WCC, WR Communications recognized an opportunity to press the Division to update its medical treatment guidelines to include broader smoking cessation coverage for injured workers prior to and following surgery.

Building the Case

WR Communications researched the medical literature about the relationship between smoking and surgical recovery as well as studies regarding the net economic benefit of smoking cessation services. WR Communications then worked with WCC to develop messages and tools that made the credible case that the state and businesses would save money—and injured workers would greatly benefit´┐Żif the Division were to expand smoking cessation medication coverage.

WCC presented this information in late 2010 and the Division agreed to incorporate smoking cessation coverage as a complementary treatment in conjunction with additional surgical procedures.

Read the Denver Business Journal Article.