NWCDC Chairman's Message

NWCDC Topic ‘Wish List’ Released

If you're still weighing options for a speaker proposal for this year's NWCDC, the selection team is offering a broad range of suggestions.
By: | February 13, 2017 • 3 min read

The team that selects speakers for the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo has released a “wish list” of topics they would like to hear presented during this year’s event, December 6-8, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Workers’ compensation and non-occupational disability management professionals wanting to speak during the 26th Annual NWCDC might review the list to see whether those topics match your area of expertise. If so, consider submitting a request for proposal describing your related presentation concept.

But NWCDC’s speaker decision process is not limited to choosing only the topics on the list below. Potential speakers are encouraged to apply their own creativity and expert knowledge to submit additional presentation ideas. The selection group is dedicated to considering proposals from topics across the industry spectrum.

March 10 is the deadline for submitting RFPs

Submitting multiple RFPs is acceptable. Doing so increases your chances of being selected to present and can help distinguish your proposals when NWCDC receives multiple RFPs containing the same general topic idea. For instance, we can only select a limited number of presentations discussing pharmacy management.

So if you desire to speak on pharmacy management, for example, you might submit an RFP on that topic in addition to RFPs on other workers’ comp and non-occupational disability management subjects.

In choosing topics and speakers, the selection committee prefers presenters offering practical solutions that help workers’ comp and disability claims payers and managers resolve difficult and commonly-faced challenges. While we place an emphasis on presentations with practical solutions, there is also room for discussions that enlighten on current trends impacting workers’ comp and disability management.

NWCDC prioritizes proposals that include employers as a presenters. We have learned that our attendees prefer to hear case studies presented by employers that have adopted successful strategies rather than sales pitches offered by service providers.

We also understand, however, that not all presentations can include an employer speaker and we value the knowledge and information that other workers’ comp professionals serving the payer community bring to the conference.

Presentation proposals can focus on new, innovative strategies that reduce injuries and costs. But risk managers, workers’ comp managers, and disability managers are also welcome, for example, to share their experiences with implementing tried-and-true practices at their companies.

NWCDC’s selection committee includes Denise Algire, director, managed care & disability corporate risk at Albertsons Companies; Bill Wainscott, manager, workers’ compensation and occupational health at International Paper; Dan Reynolds, editor-in-chief at Risk & Insurance; and Roberto Ceniceros, NWCDC chair and senior editor at Risk & Insurance®.

Presentation proposal topics that NWCDC’s speaker selection committee are eager to evaluate and select from include:

  • HIPAA compliance in managing workers’ compensation claims and safety
  • OSHA regulations and strategies for post-accident drug testing
  • Leveraging an employee assistance program for workers’ comp and disability claims
  • To settle or not settle open claims involving active employees
  • Strategies for managing cumulative trauma claims occurring in multiple jurisdictions
  • Broker and insurer perspectives on managing claims and vendors
  • Strategies for cross-examining medical providers
  • ADA, EEOC and FMLA compliance topics
  • Preventing and managing contractor and temp worker claims
  • Truly engaging medical providers, not just ranking them
  • Employers describing how they implemented claims-advocacy programs
  • Employer perspectives on how analytics or predictive modeling were applied to impact outcomes
  • Injury and claims reporting using apps
  • Total worker health impacting occupational and non-occupational claims
  • Leveraging the role of TPA claims supervisors
  • Nurse and employer perspectives on case management used to facilitate optimal outcomes
  • Distracted driving safety initiatives
  • Regulators’ perspective on changes occurring in key states

New this year, NWCDC is adding a technology session track that will create opportunities for additional speakers.

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In addition to the technology-themed ideas mentioned above — such as injury reporting using apps and employer strategies for applying predictive modeling — other potential technology discussions include telematics use, telemedicine, wearables for safety and claims management, and the state of systems allowing employees to apply for benefits electronically, ask questions, and submit forms.

Questions about submitting speaker RFPs can be directed to Roberto Ceniceros, conference chair, at 208 957-8705 or at [email protected].

Roberto Ceniceros is senior editor at Risk & Insurance® and chair of the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. He can be reached at [email protected] Read more of his columns and features.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

4 Companies That Rocked It by Treating Injured Workers as Equals; Not Adversaries

The 2018 Teddy Award winners built their programs around people, not claims, and offer proof that a worker-centric approach is a smarter way to operate.
By: | October 30, 2018 • 3 min read

Across the workers’ compensation industry, the concept of a worker advocacy model has been around for a while, but has only seen notable adoption in recent years.

Even among those not adopting a formal advocacy approach, mindsets are shifting. Formerly claims-centric programs are becoming worker-centric and it’s a win all around: better outcomes; greater productivity; safer, healthier employees and a stronger bottom line.

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That’s what you’ll see in this month’s issue of Risk & Insurance® when you read the profiles of the four recipients of the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award, sponsored by PMA Companies. These four programs put workers front and center in everything they do.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top,” said Steve Legg, director of risk management for Starbucks.

Starbucks put claims reporting in the hands of its partners, an exemplary act of trust. The coffee company also put itself in workers’ shoes to identify and remove points of friction.

That led to a call center run by Starbucks’ TPA and a dedicated telephonic case management team so that partners can speak to a live person without the frustration of ‘phone tag’ and unanswered questions.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top.” — Steve Legg, director of risk management, Starbucks

Starbucks also implemented direct deposit for lost-time pay, eliminating stressful wait times for injured partners, and allowing them to focus on healing.

For Starbucks, as for all of the 2018 Teddy Award winners, the approach is netting measurable results. With higher partner satisfaction, it has seen a 50 percent decrease in litigation.

Teddy winner Main Line Health (MLH) adopted worker advocacy in a way that goes far beyond claims.

Employees who identify and report safety hazards can take credit for their actions by sending out a formal “Employee Safety Message” to nearly 11,000 mailboxes across the organization.

“The recognition is pretty cool,” said Steve Besack, system director, claims management and workers’ compensation for the health system.

MLH also takes a non-adversarial approach to workers with repeat injuries, seeing them as a resource for identifying areas of improvement.

“When you look at ‘repeat offenders’ in an unconventional way, they’re a great asset to the program, not a liability,” said Mike Miller, manager, workers’ compensation and employee safety for MLH.

Teddy winner Monmouth County, N.J. utilizes high-tech motion capture technology to reduce the chance of placing new hires in jobs that are likely to hurt them.

Monmouth County also adopted numerous wellness initiatives that help workers manage their weight and improve their wellbeing overall.

“You should see the looks on their faces when their cholesterol is down, they’ve lost weight and their blood sugar is better. We’ve had people lose 30 and 40 pounds,” said William McGuane, the county’s manager of benefits and workers’ compensation.

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Do these sound like minor program elements? The math says otherwise: Claims severity has plunged from $5.5 million in 2009 to $1.3 million in 2017.

At the University of Pennsylvania, putting workers first means getting out from behind the desk and finding out what each one of them is tasked with, day in, day out — and looking for ways to make each of those tasks safer.

Regular observations across the sprawling campus have resulted in a phenomenal number of process and equipment changes that seem simple on their own, but in combination have created a substantially safer, healthier campus and improved employee morale.

UPenn’s workers’ comp costs, in the seven-digit figures in 2009, have been virtually cut in half.

Risk & Insurance® is proud to honor the work of these four organizations. We hope their stories inspire other organizations to be true partners with the employees they depend on. &

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