National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference

presented by Risk & Insurance


The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many things about ourselves and the world around us, but at the forefront of everything has been the lesson of Fragility. With safety and security leading the exodus from the new reality, our world was gripped by a fear that we watched play out from our quarantine bunkers on the nightly news. This onslaught of mental health concerns demands a new, strategic approach in Workers Compensation. We will briefly explore how we got here, but more importantly the small steps that can create a more resilient and successful system for employers, payers, providers, and workers.


Catastrophic amputations in the workplace are traumatic for all parties involved. It’s the job of the certified prosthetist to listen, establish goals, and create devices that get the worker fully functioning, independent, and back to their daily activities. In this presentation, we will examine the prosthetic rehabilitation process from beginning to end and discuss the importance of having the worker involved every step of the way, creating a path to success.


The identification of claims likely to increase significantly is a crucial - yet challenging - task for claims departments. The identification process is difficult for various reasons (including lack of data). Failure to identify these claims early can result in costly surprises.

We will provide a high-level overview of Deep Learning, a class of Artificial Intelligence. Deep Learning mimics the hierarchical learning of the human brain to uncover patterns on extremely complex data, such as text. Deep Learning models are very powerful tools to understand context and even sentiment of text data. This session is a basic introduction to Deep Learning with an emphasis on examples and applications (no math required).


Imagine a world in which everyone is two feet taller than you, and you spend your day gazing up to see their faces. Now imagine your delight if you were suddenly tall enough to look at them and speak to them, face to face.

For an injured worker who has lost the ability to stand and walk, there is an amazing psychological and emotional gratification if they can regain the ability to stand upright and look people in the eye, even if only for a while. Now, medical devices, technology and new approaches to clinical care, claims strategies and collaboration with employers are making this dream a reality. In fact, breakthroughs in workers' compensation rehabilitation are driving this transformation.

Besides the clinical benefits along with the psychological thrill of being able to stand again, the ability to literally get back on their feet brings a host of benefits to both the employee and the employer:


After a full century of operation and evolution, the workers’ compensation industry has a clear understanding of its goals, right? Probably, not. Most of us fell into a career in workers’ comp, with no formal training or big picture thought. One result is we would each provide a different description of overall system objectives.

Thinking seriously about what Goals workers’ comp systems are trying to accomplish is particularly important right now as new discussions emerge regarding a better safety net for injured workers, we restart American business following COVID-19 shutdowns, and we seek to attract new talent to this important industry.

This talk describes a simple framework of five, positive goals for workers’ comp systems. With such a framework, every current and new claims and insurance process, service, regulation, legislative reform and recruitment initiative can be considered in light of how they leverage and support these goals.

The workplace today is filled with endless change, complexity and high expectations. Unfortunately, it's also filled with a workforce that is struggling with fatigue, burnout, stress and retention. Unless your people understand how to strengthen resilience and build resilient teams, your workplace and teams don't stand a chance. Just like a muscle, resilience and mental toughness needs strength training, consistent exercise, and intentional coaching. As a Master Executive Coach and a National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC) Pam shares real-life experiences, tools and strategies on how elite athletes, teams and organizations master their mindset. You will learn how to move on from adversity and failure, and how to manage real life pressures and every day stressors that are more prevalent than ever before. Leaders and successful teams don't stay on top because they always win — they stay on top because they are able move on to the next play.

From its synthesis by Dr. Paul Janssen in 1960 to its illegal synthesis by George Marquardt, a high school dropout and self-taught chemist, fentanyl plays a significant role in today’s drug abuse epidemic. Clinical pharmacist Phil Walls explains why fentanyl has gained momentum as an alternative to heroin, and what we can do to mitigate the risks posed to first responders.

During the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, MedRisk expanded its nearly 3-year-old telerehab service. Previous expansions to help workers’ comp patients impacted by natural disasters did not produce a significant uptick in telerehab cases.  Patients and adjusters saw hurricanes and wildfires as local and temporary and felt treatment could be delayed for a week or so.

With COVID-19, more areas of the country were substantially affected.  No one knew how long they’d be told to stay home, when clinics might be told to close, or when closed clinics might reopen. Rules varied at state and local levels, and they changed daily, if not hourly.

MedRisk’s Brian Peers, DPT, MBA who oversees its telerehab program, will give a lively presentation, outlining the initiatives the company took to provide continuity of care during the crisis. Dr. Peers will also share lessons learned from the experience, including the response from payers and patients.

COVID-19 is changing many aspects of modern life, and many of those changes will have long-lasting effects. Drug development is one of those aspects. In this edition of CompTalks, Phil Walls will take us on a Race for the Cure as he examines how both the pandemic as well as politics have influenced drug and vaccine development for the coronavirus. Walls will challenge the audience to think of drug development in a risk versus benefit model where speed to market comes with higher risks – but perhaps justifiable when lives are at stake.

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