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What Iowa Employers Really Want: Cost, Quality and Safety

A bullhorn or Megaphone with the word Value to stress a companyIn our 2013 Study, Iowa employers rated healthcare providers within their respective communities on 11 performance indicators as well as ‘Trust.’ The results of this survey was summarized in our ‘Voices for Value’ white paper and serve as both a baseline and a conduit for additional, meaningful dialogue on how to improve the healthcare we receive in Iowa and elsewhere.

As a corollary to last year’s study, we asked employers this year to rate the importance of the 12 performance indicators using a 10-point scale, where 1 means “not at all important” and 10 means “most important.” The purpose of this module was to learn which of the indicators are most important to Iowa employers. Their answers to this significant question now provide a meaningful weight to how employers sounded off in our 2013  ‘Voices.’

From our latest study, Iowa employers have spoken yet again. When it comes to healthcare, they prioritized the three following indicators:

  1. Keeping Costs Reasonable
  2. Keeping Quality of Care Consistent
  3. Safety of Care Delivered to Patients

It’s a very reasonable request, don’t you think? After all, they are the ones paying for it.

Iowa Employers Rank Performance IndicatorsAll 12 indicators scored at least 7.9, which clearly suggest that ALL indicators are very important to employers. However, only three indicators scored at least ‘9’ – Cost, Quality and Safety. This appears to be very intuitive. But I must confess, I was somewhat surprised to learn that ‘Safety’ was an eyelash away from being the second most important indicator overall – and it was the top indicator for those employers with at least 250 employees.

Iowa employers are very perceptive; as ‘safety of care delivered to patients’ SHOULD be a priority for obvious reasons. For those who have followed my previous blogs, quality and safety issues in the U.S. healthcare ‘system’ are, at best, worrisome – and, at worst, reprehensible.

Perhaps we have suspected these results to be factual all along, but now we have undeniable evidence of what employers REALLY want from their community healthcare providers. When combining cost with consistent quality and safety of care, employers seek high-value healthcare from those who deliver it.

Employers have my attention – but they need the attention of those delivering the care for which they are handsomely paying.

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Mental ‘Rubber Ball’ Continues…and a BIG ‘Thank You!’

Mental Rubber BallIt all began in 1998 – and it wasn’t my idea.

About three years after starting David P. Lind & Associates, my first and only associate at the time, Brad Johnson, walked into my office and sat down across from my desk and asked, “Do you have a few moments?” I must admit, I did not know what to expect from this unanticipated dialogue – and I was a bit nervous.

“Sure.” I said.

For the next couple of hours, we had a discussion that I will never forget. Brad had an idea, and he wanted to knock the concept around like a rubber ball in a racquetball court. In addition to the floor, it hit all four walls and the ceiling countless times and it was virtually impossible to contain its’ kinetic energy after each subsequent surface smack. The idea was growing legs quickly!

From this experience, came my first big lesson in business: Never underestimate ideas that come from your employees. In fact, ALWAYS encourage suggestions and new approaches that may seem too big at the time. After giving the idea(s) the necessary attention, time and dialogue, allow it (them) to simmer and then revisit the concept with additional levity and a fresh perspective. Then, if appropriate, ACT!

Brad’s idea was a simple one. “Why not perform an employee benefits study in Iowa to help our clients (employers) benchmark their benefit plans to other employers locally?” His suggestion was basic – yet brilliant!

Another lesson? Don’t spend a great deal of time looking at your competition. Instead, watch what people actually do, observe what they use, how they see, feel, hear, touch and interact with every aspect of a product or service. Then move on it.

In the 16 years since my game of mental ‘rubber ball’ with Brad, we have completed 16 annual employee benefits studies, and surveyed 12,460 employers. During that time (1999-2014), Data Point Research, Inc. has served as the backroom ‘engine’ for undertaking this survey process. I am grateful for the work they do and the professionalism they consistently demonstrate on behalf of my organization.

Scott Woodruff of Majestic Limousine Services

Scott Woodruff of Majestic Limousine Services

As in 2013, we offered a special incentive to employers who took part in this year’s survey. Participants were automatically entered into a random drawing for one of two iPads. This year’s winners are Amy Hanson of Prairie Lights Books (Iowa City) and Scott Woodruff from Majestic Limousine Service (West Des Moines). Both recently received their iPads and were gracious to allow me to use their names within this blog. Thank you, Amy and Scott. Again, congratulations!

And a big thanks to the other 1,000 organizations who participated in this year’s survey! If your organization was one of this year’s survey participants, an email was sent to you on September 17, 2014, with a unique link to download your FREE copy ($300 value). If you missed this email, please check your Spam or Junk email folders. Otherwise, please contact us.

For the record, kinetic energy has taken that simple rubber ball into new, unexplored surfaces outside the racquetball court. No telling where the ball will eventually go!

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New 2014 Lindex® Scores – Find out how to Obtain Yours!

2014 Lindex GaugeWe’ve just released the new Lindex® scores based on our 2014 Iowa Employer Benefits Study©. Introduced in 2013, the Lindex is an innovative tool that allows Iowa employers to distill voluminous and complicated benefits data into one relevant number.

An organization’s Lindex score will help Iowa employers:

  • Determine the competitiveness of their benefits package.
  • Attract and retain a high-quality workforce.
  • Decide whether benefit changes are required to keep your employee benefits competitive.

The Lindex is a composite score used as a reference when determining the quality of benefits offered by Iowa organizations. This index is the result of a sophisticated calculation based on the benefits data submitted by 1,002 Iowa organizations from the latest 2014 Iowa Employer Benefits Study©.

Calculated once a year, the Lindex ranges from 0 to 100, with low scores reflecting fewer benefits offered at a higher cost to employees, while higher scores indicate more benefits being offered at a competitive cost.

In 2014, the overall Lindex score for Iowa employers (regardless of employer size and industry) is 74. Last year’s overall Lindex score was 72. The Lindex score will vary based on the employer size and industry. For example, employers with fewer than 10 employees have a Lindex score of 61, while employers with at least 1,000 employees averaged 82. Employers in the retail industry averaged 65, while government employers averaged 83.

Below is a summary of the Lindex scores based on organization size:

2014 Lindex by Organization Size


Below is a summary of the Lindex scores based on industry:

2014 Lindex by Industry


It’s important to note that an organization with a Lindex score of 68 might appear to be somewhat low when compared to the overall statewide score of 74, but if this score is above the average Lindex score for similar organizations based on size and industry, then it could be considered a good score for that organization.

To purchase a copy of the 2014 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© and/or Lindex Online benchmarking tool, click here.

To learn more about the Lindex, and how your organization can discover/attain/retrieve your own Lindex score, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of our website.

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