Industry Spotlight: 20 Questions with Joe Paduda, Principal at Health Strategy Associates

Claimwire Interview by Steve Schmutz

avatar Steve Schmutz

04/28/14  Interviews  0 comment(s) 

Industry Spotlight: 20 Questions with Joe Paduda, Principal at Health Strategy Associates
I've known of Joe Paduda for... wow, for a long time. I remember hearing him speak years ago at one of the National Workers' Comp conferences. I also follow his blog, which is one of the best blogs in the WC industry.  
I enjoyed getting to know Joe better through this interview. We had a great conversation on the phone the other day - I learned a lot about him and about our industry. 
The fact that Joe and I have different political views could make for some great conversation - I would enjoy spending an evening discussing things like Obamacare, Term Limits, National Debt, and other "hot" political topics with him. Joe is intelligent, well-spoken, and an experienced business leader. I was also very impressed with the way he gave so much credit for his success to other people - he's a class act.
I hope I have the chance to get to know him even better in the future.
Here's my interview with Joe Paduda, Principal at Health Strategy Associates, LLC:
#1 Claimwire: “Where did you go to school and what did you study?”
Syracuse University undergrad; BA in Anthropology; American University MS in Health Management
#2 Claimwire: “Can you share something about you that most people wouldn't know?”
I’d much rather spend the winter up north in the snow than in a warmer clime
#3 Claimwire: “What are some of your hobbies?”
Competitive rowing, cycling, mountain biking, xc skiing, boating, history
#4 Claimwire: “What people have influenced your life, and in what ways?”
My father as one who always expected effort and perseverance; my wife as the most positive and cheerful person on the planet, my teammates as examples of what can be accomplished through drive and dedication.  Bob Laszewski was a huge help in helping me get started in my consulting career.
#5 Claimwire: “What historical figures do you look up to and why?”
Joseph Welch. Welch was the attorney who stood up to Joe McCarthy during the army McCarthy hearings after McCarthy accused one of Welch's aides of being a communist.
He said "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness...Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyer's Guild... Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator; you've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
#6 Claimwire: “Give us a brief recap of your career.”
Started as an HMO data analyst, moved in to managed care, sold health insurance for Liberty Mutual, then managed care product development at Liberty and Travelers.  Marketing and sales responsibilities at Conservco/MetraComp, and an independent work comp managed care consultant since 1996.
#7 Claimwire: “What factors motivated you the most to start Health Strategy Associates?”
A growing understanding that I wasn’t cut out to work in a corporate environment, desire to carve my own path and willingness to take risk.  That and a big helping hand from Bob Laszewski.
#8 Claimwire: “Tell us how Health Strategy Associates is doing and what you see in the next two to three years.”
Things are going very well; there are more opportunities than time.  I expect to narrow down my client list and get deeper into engagements with specific clients looking to make major improvements.
#9 Claimwire: “What are the greatest assets and strengths Health Strategy Associates has?”
Brand is all important.  Strong relationships with colleagues throughout the industry is just vital.  Reputation for bluntness and willingness to call them as I see them.
#10 Claimwire: “If you had to boil Health Strategy Associates down to one sentence, what would it be?”
A managed care consultancy focused on the workers’ comp industry.
#11 Claimwire: “What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make as Founder of Health Strategy Associates?”
Deciding to fight a lawsuit brought by a physician dispensing firm.
#12 Claimwire: “What affect will the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) have on workers’ comp?”
Indirectly, likely lead to more cost-shifting over the near term.  Over the long term, it will benefit work comp as workers are healthier, medical records are automated, guidelines are expanded, and medical care improves
#13 Claimwire: “Related to the last question, do you foresee workers’ comp becoming federalized, as opposed to being controlled by the states?”
#14 Claimwire: “You spend a lot of time writing for your blog. How much time do you spend researching and writing each day?”
About an hour.
#15 Claimwire: “What kind of impact has social media had on the workers’ comp industry, and what do you foresee in the next few years?”
Two impacts; one is for forensic work in claims.  The other pertains to marketing and the effective use of social media by a relative few companies.
Going forward, selective and intelligent use of social media will drive significant success for those few companies willing and smart enough to take advantage of social media and the attendant risks.
#16 Claimwire: “Do you think conferences and trade shows play a valuable part in the workers’ comp industry?”
Yes, very much so.  Perhaps as much for sharing information amongst and between colleagues as for the content.
#17 Claimwire: “If you could hire any famous person to be the spokesperson for Health Strategy Associates, who would it be and why?”
Cal Ripken.  Personified dedication, hard work, and the incredible results that can be achieved when one focuses on the task at hand.  Also a keen understanding of the factors that lead to success and single-minded drive to get better.
#18 Claimwire: What is the biggest problem facing workers’ comp?
Opioids.  There are hundreds of thousands of claimants addicted to opioids; we helped cause this problem, and we must fix it.
#19 Claimwire: What is the role of private equity in workers’ comp?
Multiple answers; they drive efficiency, strip out cost, force other companies to improve.  They also scare payers who are concerned about consolidation among key vendor sectors
#20 Claimwire: Why don’t insurers focus more on medical?
Funny thing is, they think they do.  But the reality is most aren’t focused enough.  As an example, how many medical directors are in real positions of leadership among the payers?  How many are driving policy? How many are truly respected in their organizations?
About Joe:
Joe is a nationally recognized expert in medical management in group health and workers’ compensation, with deep experience in pharmacy services. Joe is a popular speaker who is particularly adept at converting raw data into valuable, manageable knowledge that organizations can use to develop and refine their medical management programs. He is frequently invited to speak and keynote industry conferences.  
Joe is also the prolific author of the controversial ManagedCareMatters blog and a founder of, a collaborative blog on health care policy. 
Joe lives in Madison, Connecticut and can be reached at 203-314-2632 or .
Media/Speaking Contact:  Helen Knight, King Knight Communications, 813-690-4787 or


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