New Conference Track Targets Operational Aspects
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® magazine and the Workers’ Compensation Report newsletter.
Program Management is the name of the newest track of educational sessions to be included in the annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. This year’s conference will devote several sessions offering logistical operational pieces of the workers’ comp process.
“Topics will help employers improve their workers’ comp programs and operational practices,” said Roberto Ceniceros, senior editor for Risk & Insurance® magazine and conference cochair. “The discussions will give employers the ability to go back and make improvements in their programs that are going to get a positive response from the C-suite … for operating a program that reduces costs and returns employees back to work.”
An example of a topic in the new track would be risk financing. “Are there alternatives for employers financing their workers’ comp losses, and what are some better practices or strategies,” Ceniceros asked. “Strategy is a key word — what are better strategies to operate their programs?”
Whether employers want to continue purchasing workers’ comp insurance and, if so, whether a large deductible is a good option, is among potential discussion points. Some companies may want to consider self-insuring or gaining from captive programs. Potential questions to be explored by employers are whether to bundle or unbundle their claims services.
Other issues employers may be interested in concern cultural changes, “changes you can make in your company to help address claims outcomes,” Ceniceros said.
Additional topics being considered for the Program Management track include:
- Vendor management — what are the best strategies to manage vendors that will help reduce costs.
- High-level safety/loss control. For example, how employers with many traveling employees can prevent driving injuries. The use of behavioral safety training may come into play.
- Structuring a workers’ comp program.
- Managing the request-for-proposal process to achieve better outcomes.
- Provider performance — ranking medical providers by using outcome metrics for measurably better results.
- Collateral issues.
“These are operational innovations that target employers,” said Mark Walls, conference program cochair, senior vice president of workers’ compensation market research leader at Marsh USA, and founder/manager of the WorkCompAnalysis group on LinkedIn.
In all, more than 30 breakout sessions will be presented during the three-day conference. Other tracks include Claims Solutions, Health/Medical Management, Disability Management Solutions, and Legal/Regulatory Issues.
Workers’ comp experts and employers will team up to offer best practices to improve outcomes. Some of the topics being considered for this track include:
- Strategies for closing claims and reducing legacy claims.
- Identifying key issues to settle claims.
- The multiple prongs of fraud.
- Claims adjusters — what they need from employers.
“Managing future medical drivers is key,” said Denise Gillen-Algire, principal of Risk Navigation Group and conference program cochair. “Innovations in medical management such as medical procedures, drugs, and other issues that are driving up costs” are among the topics she sees as important to address.
Other possible topics include:
- The Affordable Care Act and specific strategies employers can take now to prepare, such as partnering with providers for direct care.
- Medical treatment guidelines and how they are being used to manage claims.
- Top injuries in workers’ comp and the best practices to treat them.
Disability Management Solutions
Building on last year’s success, the 2014 conference will include expanded offerings. Integrated disability management is among the main topics that will likely be addressed. Additional topics under consideration include:
- Pre-loss/post loss tie ins. For example, how some employers are using post-offer medical exams to better manage their workers’ comp claims.
- The impact of return-to-work efforts on safety prevention.
- Provider strategies/pay for performance and how some companies are operationalizing it.
Once again, the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® is partnering with LexisNexis to design sessions focused on legal elements of the workers’ comp system. Among the potential topics are:
- Asbestos/mesothelioma. While this has been a liability issue, these policies are tapped out, and some attorneys are now looking to the workers’ comp system. Recently, Missouri passed legislation, while the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rendered a decision making it likely these two states will be the first to see these type of cases. Conference organizers believe this may be an important trend employers should watch.
- Medicare set-asides. Changes from the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act, or SMART Act, has made Medicare Secondary Payer issues “messy,” Walls said. Conference organizers are working with LexisNexis to develop a session that addresses the very latest challenges on the topic.
For more information, visit the conference website at www.wcconference.com. Details on specific sessions will be available in mid-2014. To read and/or post your thoughts about the conference, visit LinkedIn, and type National Workers Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo in the search box.