Public Risk Magazine


Public Risk, PRIMA’s 10-time-per-year magazine, is the flagship publication of the  association. This publication provides risk managers with timely, focused information  in an easy-to-read format. Public Risk features articles from risk management  practitioners as well as industry professionals. Articles range from current trends,  risk management procedures and guidelines, legislation changes, spotlights and  more that will engage your office while keeping them informed!

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July 2018


July cover

Featured Articles

Benefits and Challenges of 
Government Social Media Use

By Thom Rickert

Social media has become today’s town square, local newspaper and neighborhood coffee shop rolled into one.

Just as fictional TV newsman Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show had humble beginnings (“It all started at a 5,000-watt radio station in Fresno, California”), so did social media. Emerging as bulletin board systems (BBS), progressing to platforms like CompuServe and AOL, then transforming to the now-ubiquitous Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, social media has evolved from a unique space for narrowly focused hobbyists to the medium of choice for information sharing.

And as social media use grows in popularity, local governments are under considerable pressure to keep up. The benefits are clear. For example, social media can be a cost-effective communications tool for cash-strapped municipalities looking to fulfill mandates, increase public participation and encourage greater social activism. But the profound public nature of social media—the posting and sharing of vast amounts of information, the direct interaction with more and more citizens—may pose threats to privacy and other basic constitutional rights.

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Navigating Pandora’s Box of Comorbid Conditions: 
A Holistic Approach for Proactive Claim Management

By Eric Patten

The term “Pandora’s box” calls to mind how something quite ordinary, like opening a box, can lead to unpredictable, complicated consequences. That’s how many risk managers feel about workplace injuries that are seemingly low-risk and routine, but quickly spiral out of control due in part to claims involving comorbid factors.

For workers’ compensation claims, injured workers with comorbid conditions describes the presence of one or more diseases or disorders that existed prior to injury or may develop during treatment. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression, tobacco use and substance abuse are all common examples of comorbidities. Awareness of these conditions—beyond the work-related injury—provides a holistic view of the patient’s health and the ability to contain medical costs and improve outcomes.

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Crisis Communications in Law Enforcement: 
Protecting Your Department’s Reputation

By Julie Frisbey

Our current digital age of smartphones, social media and 24-hour news coverage has intensified public scrutiny of law enforcement. In the aftermath of any given crisis, the reaction of the public and media to a department’s involvement can be unpredictable. The handling of the situation can make or break the credibility of a department; at best solidifying a positive reputation and at worst, causing the organization to be perceived as inept or criminally negligent. 

One perceived wrong action can increase the potential risk of exposure to a department’s reputation as well as the liability exposure for the public entity as a whole. However, if a department maintains a clear policy and willingness to operate with transparency and accountability, a seemingly negative or complicated narrative can be positively dealt with, positioning the department as trustworthy and credible leaders in the community.

Whether your agency has faced a major crisis or not, there are some concrete steps that you can take to help reduce the adverse reactions and impacts during a crisis, such as being proactive and developing a strategy to effectively communicate with the public, media, and other key stakeholders.

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