As a risk management consultant, I witness—and regularly read reports confirming this—the benefits of early, proactive intervention and prevention.
Such actions have proven to be far superior to more widespread reactive efforts – after the fact – which only perpetuate problems.
The following three examples demonstrate the value of this approach.
This is not a political diatribe. Risk management is apolitical. Its main objective is the collection of relevant data and proactive prevention.
Scientific studies now clearly show that reactive school and business closures, face mask mandates, event cancellations, and more are failing far below expectations.
As Great Barrington’s 2020 statement advised, “the most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of achieving herd immunity, is to allow those at minimal risk of dying to live their lives normally.” to build immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those most at risk.
Data collection on COVID-19 was unable to differentiate those whose death was directly caused by COVID from those who died with COVID as a less included comorbidity.
It is also clear now that early intervention with tested therapies prescribed by doctors is consistently successful in keeping COVID patients out of hospitals.
This risk will only be perpetuated if all we do is meet the needs after the homeless are already “on the streets”. Providing temporary group accommodation and healthcare services – ultimately leading to low-cost permanent accommodation – is very appropriate at this (late) stage of homelessness.
However, these “treatments” are totally reactive. Homelessness should have been completely avoided. Quality of life preserved! Public funds saved!
Proactive early intervention and treatment is usually funded in the private sector, where costs are significantly lower than those required for large social housing projects and long-term medical assistance.
The Californian’s resourceful reporting staff should research and write about unadvertised organizations, institutions and professionals who turn away clients and patients. Patient data is protected by federal HIPAA privacy regulations. However, anonymity works!
A system is needed to collect and tell these stories – anonymously, if necessary – to encourage and motivate family members and friends, clergy and their parishioners, employers and their employees to facilitate early intervention. referring them to professionals.
Otherwise, the result is guaranteed to be perpetual homelessness, destroyed lives and family relationships – plus an endless need for public funding.
What is very fascinating about such an “early warning” system is that this technique can also be used successfully in the prevention of yet other risks such as active shooters, suicides and who knows what else?
First Responder PTSD
This risk faced by law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders is significant. If allowed to persist, the inevitable results include loss of career, loss of marriage and family relationships, and even loss of life.
Our family experienced this last outcome. In response, we helped create a new charity program in Kern County modeled after a successful effort in Northern California – with their helpful tips and advice along the way.
Based on proactive early intervention and treatment, we held a series of week-long retreats at a remote, confidential site. It was (and is) staffed with skilled clinicians, experienced police and fire peers, and ordained chaplains on site 24/7.
Originally called Rotary House Retreat, it started as one of my local Rotary club’s multiple community service projects. He was financially supported by all the other Rotary clubs in Kern County, as well as others nearby on the Central Coast.
Due to its success, it is now its own non-profit company named Public Safety Professionals Retreat.
The same processes above should be adopted by the various local public and private organizations already so heavily engaged in mitigating these risks, even if they are later in the process.
Risk managers systematically address both. To do anything less defies common sense.
Only then will these risks return to the normality that we all want to restore.
John Pryor, CPCU, ARM, is a risk management consultant in Bakersfield and author of a 281-page guide published by the International Risk Management Institute in Dallas. His book brings together the principles of risk management and quality management (Lean Six Sigma) – hence its name “Quality Risk Management Fieldbook”.