Genex Chronicles Flight Paramedic’s Rise From a Deadly Helicopter Crash

WAYNE, PA — How do specialized workers’ comp case managers positively affect claims outcomes? Data and analytics will tell you one side of the story, but those numbers often undervalue the vital human component these professionals add to the equation. For employees who survive catastrophic workplace injuries, a specialized case manager can be just as important as the surgeons, physicians and other medical providers involved in the healing process.

That’s what flight paramedic Derek Boehm realized when he successfully returned to work after recovering from a deadly helicopter crash in the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix, AZ. In “Phoenix Rising,” a new video case study released by Genex Services — the leader in medical cost containment and disability management services — Boehm takes the viewer on his harrowing journey from being stranded for hours on a snowy cliff with life-threatening injuries through his arduous recovery to successful and sustained return to work.

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The video also offers the viewer an inside look at the unsung heroes of workers’ comp, the case managers who drive the treatment plan to ensure injured employees get the care they need to return to function. It spotlights the importance and unique nature of the trusting relationship between the case manager and injured employee, as well as the vital link case managers play in coordinating all parties involved in the employee’s care.

“She took this terrifying process and made it into a calm, controlled process,” Boehm said of his Genex catastrophic case manager Charlene Ramsey, RN, BSN, CCM. “I didn’t know there was a person who did this. I thought it was just you get out of the hospital and have to make 10,000 phone calls and send hundreds of emails. When you’re in a position like that as an injured employee, you just don’t have the strength to do that.”

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The sole survivor of a crash that killed two of his crewmates, Boehm not only had to overcome his severe physical injuries, but the mental anguish of losing two close friends.

“It’s tough. I wish I could’ve done more,” said Boehm, who was incapacitated but alert after the crash. “That’s my biggest thing that I grapple with. You wish you could’ve done more.”

Helping Boehm handle the psychological aspects of personal loss was a key part of the recovery process, Ramsey said.

“I think Derek dealt with a lot of survivor’s guilt. It was very traumatic for him. These two men were his friends,” she said. “So, it was really important that he got counseling very early on. The insurance company never balking at getting him the help he needed and everyone in the case working very smoothly together and without delay made all the difference.”

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As he recovered, Boehm used his healing time to complete nursing courses. After earning his RN credentials, Boehm was hired as a trauma nurse at the facility where he was treated. His survival and recovery have been chronicled in several local and national media outlets. For their accomplishments, Boehm and Ramsey were honored with the Rehabilitant of the Year Award from the Arizona Workers’ Compensation Claims Association and Ramsey was named the 2019 Heart of Case Management Award Winner for Catastrophic Care by Genex Services.

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