Comp Experts Serve Another Term on Advisory Board

Veteran leaders helm the 2014 NWCDC advisory board.
By: | April 21, 2014

The 23rd annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo takes place Nov. 19-21 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The conference is produced by LRP Publications, which also publishes Risk & Insurance® and Workers’ Compensation Report.

ConferenceA veritable who’s who of workers’ comp and disability experts comprise this year’s conference Advisory Board. In addition to the six new faces joining the board, several other thought leaders have agreed to return for the 2014 conference.

Katie Caverly

Senior director, research information, LexisNexis

Following a 17-year career as a human resources professional with LexisNexis, Chevron Corporation, and other mid- to large-sized corporations, Caverly is now tasked with developing content and solutions in the workers’ comp, labor and employment, pension and benefits, Social Security, veterans, military, government contracting, and Native American areas of law.

Several issues stand out among those often discussed by the LexisNexis Larson’s Executive Advisory Board. Chief among them is opt-outs, the ability of employers to opt out of their state’s workers’ comp system.

“If workers’ comp were a high school, opt-outs would be that mysterious but appealing new kid everyone is clamoring to hang out with,” she says. “Whether more states invite opt-outs into their ‘clique’ remains to be seen — over the course of years — but the debates, interpretations and proposals around this subject make workers’ comp one of the more fascinating practice areas in my portfolio right now.”

Prescription drug abuse is also an issue she is closely attuned to, as it is the number one cause of accidental deaths. Caverly points to the increasing efforts among states to step up their efforts to try to abate the problem within the workers’ comp context as a way to address what she calls the staggering human, financial, and societal costs.

Finally, Caverly is closely watching mental health claims within the workers’ comp arena. “We may finally be nearing a tipping point in terms of engaging in a national conversation about mental health,” she said. “Most of us already accept that mental illness is a serious public health issue, yet it remains a discomfiting and enigmatic subject for discussion. We will eventually reach some shared understandings — and a shared vocabulary — in this area, and we should expect workers’ comp mental claims to play an integral role in this evolution, including a dialogue on the extent of coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder claims and how the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition will impact cases involving mental disorders.”

Jill Dulich

Senior director, Marriott claims services, Los Angeles

Since receiving her J.D. from Western State University College of Law, Dulich’s career has taken off. She has managed workers’ comp, auto, and general liability losses for all Marriott managed operations within eight western states and three satellite offices in Hawaii, Oregon, and Nevada for the past three decades. She is also a former commissioner and 2003 chair of the California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation, having been appointed in 1998 by Gov. Pete Wilson to be the private employer representative.

The former chair of the Board and Executive Committee chair of the California Self Insurers Association, Dulich currently serves as the treasurer and participates on the Nominating Committee, Board of Managers and Executive Committee.

She has been an active participant in the Workers Compensation Research Institute CompScope Advisory committee since 2007, is the Claims Committee chair and trustee for the Self Insurers Security Fund, and acts as program chair and board member for the Self Insurance Guaranty Funds of America. She is also a member of the Legislative Committee of the Oregon Self Insurers Association and the Washington Self Insurers Association and is vice president of the Claims and Litigation Management Orange County Chapter.

Among the major workers’ comp themes she sees are the continuing issues surrounding opioid abuse, and efforts to broaden the definition of compensability in various states by allowing litigation outside the WC arena. “We are seeing a dilution of workers’ comp as the exclusive remedy, and I fear that as time goes on this will continue,” Dulich said. “The crossover with the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act, among other things, seems to have given a very broad reach to the plaintiff’s bar.”

Joseph Paduda

Principal of Health Strategy Associates LLC, president of CompPharma LLC, Madison, Conn.

A nationally recognized expert in medical and pharmacy management in workers’ comp and author of the popular blog, ManagedCareMatters, Paduda consults with managed care organizations, insurers, and private equity firms. Additionally, he conducts surveys on managing workers’ comp pharmacy, opioid use, utilization review, bill review, and claims systems.

He sees a lack of emphasis on and understanding of medical issues among workers’ comp executives. “There’s far too much focus on network size and discount and far too little understanding of ‘quality,’” Paduda says, “And, no, utilization review, case management, and bill review programs are not sufficient.”

Opioid abuse in workers’ comp is another issue on which Paduda continues to be outspoken. “Very few payers have any idea of the long-term cost implications of opioids,” he says. “Actuaries have not done the math, and when they do, the results are going to be very disturbing.”

Finally, the impact of the Affordable Care Act on workers’ comp has not been adequately addressed. “There is far too much focus on political ideology and far too little willingness to grasp that Obamacare is the law of the land and we better learn to deal with it.”

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Nancy Grover is the president of NMG Consulting and the Editor of Workers' Compensation Report, a publication of our parent company, LRP Publications. She can be reached at [email protected]

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