WCRI’s Upcoming Annual Conference Looks Like a Winner

Speakers Include Former Head of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The 34th Annual Issues and Research Conference, sponsored by Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), promises to be an outstanding forum of ideas and insights relevant to today’s workers’ compensation world. To be held March 22-23, 2018, at Boston’s Westin Copley Place, the theme for this year: “Work and the Comp System: Evolution, Disruption, and the Future.”

Among the conference speakers is Dr. Erica L. Groshen, former head of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, who will offer her expertise in a session entitled, “Future Labor Force Trends and the Impact of Technology.” Advance work indicates that Dr. Groshen will discuss, inter alia, the effects artificial intelligence, robots, driverless cars, and gig work are having—and will have—on the American workforce.

Opioids in the Workplace

Opioid abuse continues to be a hot-button topic, not only within the workers’ compensation arena, but around the nation. WCRI has assembled three experts who will offer their observations in a session entitled, “Impact of Opioids and Prescription Drugs on the Workplace.” In that session, WCRI’s Dr. Savych will discuss the latest research on how opioid prescriptions impact duration of disability for injured workers.  Jane Terry, from the National Safety Council, will discuss the results from a recent survey the Council commissioned on how American employers are dealing with prescription drugs in the workplace. Joan Vincenz, from United Airlines, will share what her company is doing to address these important issues.

Medical Marijuana and Prescription Spending

What is the impact of medical marijuana on overall prescription drug spending? That question and others related to medical marijuana will be taken up by Dr. David Bradford, University of Georgia. Dr. Bradford has recently completed a study examining the effect medical marijuana programs have had on prescription drug spending.

The Future of Workers’ Compensation

For those wondering what the workers’ compensation world might resemble in several decades, Dr. Richard Victor, Senior Fellow at Sedgwick Institute, and founder of WCRI, will offer a presentation entitled, “Scenarios: Workers’ Compensation 2030. He will offer his experience and insights on, among other things, the ability of our system to adapt and change in the face of powerful external forces.

Other Interesting Conference Sessions

Other interesting conference sessions include:

  • Who is Ready for Value Based Care? — Dr. Randall Lea, WCRI
  • The Effect of Fee Schedules on Access to Care — Dr. Olesya Fomenko, WCRI
  • State of the States — Featuring selective findings from WCRI’s CompScope™ Benchmarks reports.
  • The World of Work is Changing—Fast. Are You Prepared? — Featuring Denise Algire (Albertsons Companies), Charlie Kingdollar (General Reinsurance Corporation), Judge David Langham (Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims), and Steve Tolman (President, Massachusetts AFL-CIO), the panel will address questions, such as will robots take our jobs?

Well Worth Your Time and Expense

This year’s WCRI conference, like the 33 annual conferences before it, should prove to be a great gathering of experts from across the workers’ compensation world (by the way, I have no affiliation with WCRI). It has been one of the important annual networking events for all sorts of comp experts. For anyone interested in substance—not “fluff”—it’s an opportunity to gain a better understanding of key issues in today’s competitive environment. For additional information regarding registration, click here.

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