Agenda

THEME: BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS TO IMPROVE INJURED WORKERS’ OUTCOMES

 

Whether it is the political realm, the boardroom, or the workplace, when people fail to work together, it is difficult to innovate and address complex challenges. The workers’ compensation environment is no different. At this year’s conference, we are featuring some of WCRI’s latest research, as well as engaging sessions on the latest trends and examples of industry stakeholders coming together to tackle some of the system’s most important challenges, such as opioid misuse, return to work, and providing the worker the highest standard of care. Below are the exciting sessions we have planned.

PRE-CONFERENCE: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2019 / 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

MEMBERS-ONLY RECEPTION & DINNER

We are excited to host our members at the Desert Botanical Garden on Wednesday, February 27 from 6:00 to 9:30 pm to kick off our conference and to celebrate WCRI's 35th Anniversary!

 

Transportation to and from the Desert Botanical Garden will be available from the Downtown Phoenix Renaissance Hotel, which is where our conference is being held. Buses will be leaving the hotel between 5:15pm and 5:45pm. 

 

Click here to learn more about this event.

DAY 1: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2019 / 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

KEYNOTE: PROF. ALAN KRUEGER

Considered one of the 50 highest-ranked economists in the world, Princeton University's Professor Alan Krueger will kick off this year’s conference with a keynote focused on the future of work and the impact of technology on the economy, and how the opioid epidemic has affected the labor force participation rate ─ the proportion of people employed or looking for work in the U.S.

 

Krueger will also share his experience working in Washington as the former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) and as a member of President Obama's Cabinet from 2011 to 2013. He is the only economist to have served as the chief economist of both the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Labor.

GROUP HEALTH DEDUCTIBLES AND WORKERS' COMPENSATION

Previous research offers evidence that a sizable proportion of workers with work-related injuries do not file for workers’ compensation, suggesting that filing for workers' compensation may involve some costs to the worker, whether actual or perceived.  
 
However, as high deductibles increase out-of-pocket costs for injured workers receiving medical treatment through their group health plan, they may find filing for workers’ compensation coverage more attractive, especially since medical care under workers’ compensation has no cost-share component.
 
In this session, WCRI's Dr. Olesya Fomenko will present the Institute’s research on the relationship between deductibles in group health and filing in workers’ compensation.

FROM WASHINGTON STATE TO WASHINGTON, D.C. – A MODEL FOR COORDINATED SERVICES

Washington State has shown that creating a community-based program that brings together medical providers, employers, and injured workers helps ensure timely, effective, and coordinated services for injured workers. Now efforts are underway by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to pilot this program in eight other states.

 

A distinguished panel will talk about the origins of this program, what makes it successful, and the potential lessons that can be learned by stakeholders.

 

Speakers:

LUNCHEON

CORRELATES OF OPIOID PRESCRIBING AND OVERDOSE DEATHS BY INDUSTRY AND OCCUPATION

During this session, WCRI will present the Institute's latest research on correlates of opioid prescribing to injured workers, while the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will discuss the results from a recent study they published on factors that may contribute to differences in the rate of opioid-related overdose death among workers in different industries and occupations.

 

Findings from these reports may be used to target interventions within industries and occupations that are impacted most by the opioid epidemic and to help identify strategies to address workplace and socioeconomic factors that may be contributing to the epidemic.

 

Speakers:

  • Dr. Vennela Thumula, WCRI
  • Letitia Davis, Massachusetts Department of Public Health 
  • Jacqueline Kurth, Industrial Commission of Arizona
  • Jason Porter, Industrial Commission of Arizona

UNIONS AND MANAGEMENT: CREATING A SUCCESSFUL RETURN-TO-WORK PROGRAM

In keeping with our conference theme, Dr. Cameron Mustard, president and chief scientist at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH), will present his research on the challenges and successes in implementing a comprehensive and collaborative return-to-work program for a large acute-care hospital system employing 4,000 people.

 

The hospital became concerned about the high costs of workplace injuries and illnesses. Explicit policies and procedures had not been developed for supporting those on sickness absence to return to work. Accordingly, the number and duration of its workers’ compensation claims were double those of its health-care sector peers. To turn this around, the hospital and its three unions worked together to develop and implement an innovative, evidence-based return-to-work program.

 

The findings Dr. Mustard shares may provide helpful guidance for organizations embarking on the development and implementation of a return-to-work program.

MOVING THE NEEDLE: INNOVATIVE EMPLOYER IDEAS

Across the country, employers are pushing the envelope to make their workplaces safer and, if injuries do occur, to help their injured workers receive the support they need.


In this session, a panel of large, well-known employers representing different industries will engage in an open and free-wheeling conversation about the workplace, innovations they have implemented to handle workers' compensation issues, and what significant challenges they're focused on now and in the future.

 

Speakers:

  • Dawn Goree, Director of Workers'​ Compensation at The Home Depot
  • Marc Salm, Vice President of Risk Management at Publix Super Markets
  • Noreen Olson, Workers' Compensation Claims Manger at Starbucks Coffee Company

NETWORKING RECEPTION

DAY 2: FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2019 / 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

STATE OF THE STATES: SELECTIVE FINDINGS

This session will discuss some of the latest findings and trends seen across WCRI’s core benchmark studies, including WCRI’s 18-State CompScope™ Benchmarks reports, a multistate benchmarking program that measures the performance of a growing number of state workers’ compensation systems.

 

This session will be helpful to stakeholders and public officials who are looking to better manage change and control costs while improving outcomes of injured workers.

CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES OF TELEMEDICINE

Telemedicine can speed care to injured workers, especially those in remote areas; enhance the patient experience; and reduce costs for payors. However, there are also concerns about reimbursement for physicians, quality of care, privacy, and other issues. 


Our seasoned panel ─ made up of a senior policymaker from a large state, a veteran medical practitioner, a large employer, and a labor official ─ will discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with this innovative model for delivering medical care. 

 

Speakers:

HAS THERE BEEN AN EROSION OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS?

Workers’ compensation benefits as a share of payroll are at their lowest level since 1980 and this share has been declining for over a quarter century. Some point to a legislated erosion of workers’ compensation benefits, but data suggest that many factors account for the decline.

 

In this session, WCRI CEO Dr. John W. Ruser will highlight contributors to this trend, emphasizing the ubiquitous declines in injury rates and workers’ compensation claim rates that are partially offset by increases in injury and claim severity. John will also identify factors responsible for these offsetting trends, including improvements in safety, changes in the mix of jobs and compensability rules, the aging workforce and economic conditions. 

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ABOUT OUR CONFERENCE

 

WCRI's conference is a leading workers' compensation forum for a diverse group of stakeholders. The two-day program highlights presentations of WCRI's latest research findings while drawing upon the diverse perspectives of highly respected workers' compensation experts and policymakers from across the country. Conference participants will leave with new insights, valuable networking contacts, and a better understanding of key issues in today's competitive environment.