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Workers' Compensation

Five Good Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Miss WCRI’s 31st Annual Conference

Anyone familiar with the Workers Compensation Research Institute’s 31-year history of providing the data and analysis that industry mavericks rely upon to understand, manage and effect real change have come to expect WCRI conferences to provide the kind of keen insight, new lessons, and key strategies that you can’t get anywhere else. And after another banner year involving opt-outs, health care reform, physician dispensing, fee schedules, and an aging workforce, WCRI has adopted as their conference theme the concepts of Resilience and Reform as they relate to the evolution, adaptability and survival of the 100-year-old state workers’ compensation systems, so this year’s event promises to be a hum dinger.

With WCRI’s reputation of always being a cut above the rest, it isn’t enough to try attracting prospective conference goers by describing the agenda filled with cutting edge sessions, highlighting the networking opportunities that occur when leaders from every industry segment join the crowd, reviewing the conference details or reminding them to register before all the good spots are taken. That’s how most organizations market their events, and WCRI is, well, different.

To really pique your interest in attending their high-energy forum for learning and idea exchange that is national in scope, the WCRI agreed with us that it would be a much better plan to get you all looking forward to the conversations that will be taking place at the conference about the issues and trends of the day. It’s one thing to review the session list and wax poetic about how much you’ll enjoy Boston, but it’s an even better tease to give you an inside peek at what the movers and shakers will be talking about when they all attend WCRI’s 31st Annual Issues & Research Conference.

To accomplish this lofty promotional goal, we convinced the WCRI to take us straight to the top where we were given the privilege of getting a brief preview of what you can expect to hear about at the conference. Here’s what Dr. Richard A. Victor, the organization’s Executive Director (who has overseen the development of numerous studies and analysis that have provided ammunition for reforms to various aspects of the workers’ compensation system) had to say about five questions we posed to him:

LexisNexis: 2015 could be another pivotal year for workers’ compensation with at least two states so far considering either opt out or “gutting” their workers’ comp system. Do these “renovations” erode the “grand bargain” of workers’ compensation and therefore the “resiliency” of the workers’ compensation system?

Dr. Victor: Important question. Workers’ compensation has seen challenges in the past that have come and gone -- for example, 24-hour coverage. Only time will tell. The conference examines this question with presentations by Janine Kral from Nordstrom discussing the advantages of opting out; and Rick Levy from the Texas AFL-CIO discussing the problems that opt out can create.

LexisNexis: With respect to the impact of the Affordable Care Act, what are the costs and consequences of case shifting from group health insurance to the workers’ compensation system?

Dr. Victor: Higher costs for employers. How high? New WCRI research will be presented at the conference.

LexisNexis: What are some of the perverse effects of low fee schedules?

Dr. Victor: If rates are set too high, savings will be negligible and the fee schedule will not achieve its cost containment goal. Conversely, setting rates too low makes treating injured workers uneconomical for providers and jeopardizes workers' access to quality care. WCRI studies will be presented that identify other examples.

LexisNexis: Realistically, what are the chances that these challenges to the constitutionality of workers’ compensation will go anywhere?

Dr. Victor: It's difficult for anyone to predict how the courts will rule. Our speaker will explain what the issues are before the courts and what's at stake.

LexisNexis: What is the next prescription drug abuse issue that people don’t know about but where research may be necessary?

Dr. Victor: How physician dispensers (and their supply chain) adapt to growing price regulation and limits on the nature and duration of physician dispensing.

Provocative, insightful and groundbreaking are the words that come to mind after perusing Dr. Victor’s responses. But in order to avoid missing out on one of the best opportunities that 2015 will offer to learn firsthand the results of WCRI’s groundbreaking new research on fee schedules, physician dispensing and case shifting, or to hear thought leaders grapple with the ways various ‘renovations’ can impact the ‘resiliency’ of the entire workers’ compensation system, YOU HAVE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE.

Just One Thing Before You Go

Rooms at the conference hotel are sold out, so please reserve accommodations at their alternative location; click here for the relevant details.

Let WCRI help you stay in the know. Sign up for their 31st Annual Issues and Research Conference today.