2017 NWCDC

NWCDC Sessions: Dec. 7, 2017

These sessions are among the many presentations on Dec. 7 at the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® and Expo.
By: | December 7, 2017 • 2 min read

Thursday Sessions

Expo Hours: 9:45 AM – 2 PM / Box Lunch in Expo Hall: 11:45 AM – 1:45 PM

8:30 AM – 9:45 AM / Steal These Ideas! Teddy Award-Winning Employers Showcase Their Successful Strategies

Gain direct insight into how risk managers and safety professionals created some of the most successful programs in the nation in this roundtable discussion featuring winners of the 2017 Risk & Insurance Teddy Award.

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM / Real Robocop: Returning a Spinal Cord Injured Policeman Back to Work

Case management helped Jeremy Romero return to police work six months after a spinal-cord injury. Romero’s team gained his trust while helping him navigate the healthcare system, ultimately winning funding for an exoskeleton device. Genex’s Patricia Elizalde discusses how case management helps workers avoid the obstacles that can hamper their recovery.

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM / Tell Me What I Need to Know About the ADA and FMLA

Claims payers struggle with compliance in the intersection of workers’ compensation, FMLA and the ADA. Learn to identify conflicting liabilities and evaluate necessary mitigation solutions. You’ll hear from an EEOC litigator and a worker’s comp attorney with years of experience advising insurers and employers.

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM / Strategies for Managing the Pandora’s Box of Comorbidities

With 10,000 employees — many in sedentary roles — the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has experience mitigating the comorbidities complicating injured worker care. Eric Patten and Richard Graham will share SEPTA’s key strategies, including aggressive case management, use of a doctor panel, wellness offerings, and return-to-work objectives.

The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2017 Teddy Awards

The Era of Engagement

The very best workers’ compensation programs are the ones where workers aren’t just the subject of the program, they’re a part of it.
By: | November 1, 2017 • 5 min read

Employee engagement, employee advocacy, employee participation — these are common threads running through the programs we honor this year in the 2017 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Awards, sponsored by PMA Companies.

A panel of judges — including workers’ comp executives who actively engage their own employees — selected this year’s winners on the basis of performance, sustainability, innovation and teamwork. The winners hail from different industries and regions, but all make people part of the solution to unique challenges.


Valley Health System is all-too keenly aware of the risk of violence in health care settings, running the gamut from disruptive patients to grieving, overwrought family members to mentally unstable active shooters.

Valley Health employs a proactive and comprehensive plan to respond to violent scenarios, involving its Code Atlas Team — 50 members of the clinical staff and security departments who undergo specialized training. Valley Health drills regularly, including intense annual active shooter drills that involve participation from local law enforcement.

The drills are unnerving for many, but the program is making a difference — the health system cut its workplace violence injuries in half in the course of just one year.

“We’re looking at patient safety and employee safety like never before,” said Barbara Schultz, director of employee health and wellness.

At Rochester Regional Health’s five hospitals and six long-term care facilities, a key loss driver was slips and falls. The system’s mandatory safety shoe program saw only moderate take-up, but the reason wasn’t clear.

Rather than force managers to write up non-compliant employees, senior manager of workers’ compensation and employee safety Monica Manske got proactive, using a survey as well as one-on-one communication to suss out the obstacles. After making changes based on the feedback, shoe compliance shot up from 35 percent to 85 percent, contributing to a 42 percent reduction in lost-time claims and a 46 percent reduction in injuries.

For the shoe program, as well as every RRH safety initiative, Manske’s team takes the same approach: engaging employees to teach and encourage safe behaviors rather than punishing them for lapses.

For some of this year’s Teddy winners, success was born of the company’s willingness to make dramatic program changes.


Delta Air Lines made two ambitious program changes since 2013. First it adopted an employee advocacy model for its disability and leave of absence programs. After tasting success, the company transitioned all lines including workers’ compensation to an integrated absence management program bundled under a single TPA.

While skeptics assume “employee advocacy” means more claims and higher costs, Delta answers with a reality that’s quite the opposite. A year after the transition, Delta reduced open claims from 3,479 to 1,367, with its total incurred amount decreased by $50.1 million — head and shoulders above its projected goals.

For the Massachusetts Port Authority, change meant ending the era of having a self-administered program and partnering with a TPA. It also meant switching from a guaranteed cost program to a self-insured program for a significant segment of its workforce.

Massport’s results make a great argument for embracing change: The organization saved $21 million over the past six years. Freeing up resources allowed Massport to increase focus on safety as well as medical management and chopped its medical costs per claim in half — even while allowing employees to choose their own health care providers.

Risk & Insurance® congratulates the 2017 Teddy Award winners and holds them in high esteem for their tireless commitment to a safe workforce that’s fully engaged in its own care. &


More coverage of the 2017 Teddy Award Winners and Honorable Mentions:

Advocacy Takes Off: At Delta Air Lines, putting employees first is the right thing to do, for employees and employer alike.


Proactive Approach to Employee SafetyThe Valley Health System shifted its philosophy on workers’ compensation, putting employee and patient safety at the forefront.


Getting It Right: Better coordination of workers’ compensation risk management spelled success for the Massachusetts Port Authority.


Carrots: Not SticksAt Rochester Regional Health, the workers’ comp and safety team champion employee engagement and positive reinforcement.


Fit for Duty: Recognizing parallels between athletes and public safety officials, the city of Denver made tailored fitness training part of its safety plan.


Triage, Transparency and TeamworkWhen the City of Surprise, Ariz. got proactive about reining in its claims, it also took steps to get employees engaged in making things better for everyone.

A Lesson in Leadership: Shared responsibility, data analysis and a commitment to employees are the hallmarks of Benco Dental’s workers’ comp program.


Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]