WCI 2018 Looks to 'Infinity and Beyond' to Explore Work Comp Sessions Expected to be 'Out of this World'


Orlando, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) — “The Cosmic Evolution of the World of Workers’ Compensation” seems to be a fitting theme for the 73rd Annual Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference and 30th Annual Safety & Health Conference Aug. 19-22 at The Orlando World Center Marriott.

A cosmic collection of sessions and tracks will be offered, depending on what you fancy applicable to your roles in the industry. WorkersCompensation.com took some time to pick out a few “shooting stars” in the agenda that we expect will shine some knowledge on conference attendees from the providers to the highest-ranking c-suite executives. Free conference Wi-Fi will be sponsored by Orchid Medical, according to Cathy Bowman of WCI.

First up, Give Kids the World Service Day will take place on Saturday, Aug. 18.  Volunteers will help with any needs around campus to make it shine for upcoming visitors. The Gala will be held that evening as well to raise money and awareness for the organization.

Monday will bring an industry keynote entitled “People, Places, and Things: The Future of Workers’ Compensation.” Multiple speakers will contribute to the panel, including Mark Walls, VP of Communications and Strategic Analysis at Safety National; and Kimberly George, SVP of Corporate Development M&A and Healthcare at Sedgwick as moderators.

Walls told WorkersCompensation.com there will be three main ideas: Talent attraction and retention, office of the future, and technology.

“…Our workforce is rapidly evolving and we will lose a significant amount of talent in the next few years. How do we attract the next generation of workers to our industry? This includes how can we better tell the story of what we do. There is more of focus on culture than just skills as having people who are a good fit for your culture is a key to both success and employee satisfaction,” he said.

A new star section will be added to the WCI galaxy this year: a Juris Master’s Degree track, which is sponsored by the Florida State University (FSU) School of Law and WCI.

Monday afternoon will highlight “Legal Risk Management and HR Compliance.” FSU’s Colleen Mayo elaborated via email… 

“The afternoon features FSU College of Law Dean Erin O'Connor, who will provide an update on the first year of the online Juris Master in Legal Risk Management and HR Compliance. The Juris Master, a 30-credit master’s in law, enables working professionals to acquire legal skills that will help them better manage legal risks related to employees, customers, and third party vendors,” she said.

“In this breakout session, three instructors from the JM program will present an overview of the types of topics covered in the program, which range from offering practical, expert insight, to recognizing and managing legal risks encountered by risk managers, HR professionals, and employers when dealing with workers' compensation.”

“Active Shooter Response Options for Civilians” will also take place Monday. “…The program combines the nationally recognized concepts with our extensive tactics knowledge in an easy to understand format and presents them in a manner that will touch you both emotionally and mentally,” according to Tim Guerrette, with Tactical Edge Law Enforcement Training and Consulting. “The attendees will be given the necessary tools that have proven to save lives.”

Bob Wilson, WorkersCompensation.com President and CEO, will pair up with Mark Pew, Preferred Medical SVP of Product Development & Marketing on Monday to discuss “Turning the Churn: A Vision for Workers’ Recovery.” (It is important to note this session requires additional judges’ registration.) 

"Language is critical when dealing with an injured worker navigating their way through the complexities of the work comp system. Every major stakeholder in the process, from the employer to the provider to the claims adjuster should be advocating a return-to-function for the injured worker, utilizing language that gears the worker toward what they can do, instead of what they can't do,” Wilson said.

“Instead of telling someone 'This is the worst injury I have ever seen,' we should perhaps say, 'You’ve had a bad injury, but we want to help you recover and restore your life.’ The words we choose matter, and conveying positive helpful messages in clear and understandable language can make a difference in the outcomes we see.”

What is a work comp conference without some sort of medical marijuana-based subject matter? Wednesday should quell that appetite, with “Medical Marijuana: How To Keep Your Claims From Going to Pot.”

One of the presenters, attorney and partner Robert B. Bennett of Bennett, Jacobs & Adams PA, provided a description for interested parties: “This session will bring you up to date on what medical marijuana is and is not from a toxicological and medical and legal standpoint. As opioid use is trending down, medical marijuana use is exploding. The purpose of this presentation is to better prepare employers and carriers to deal with this brand new phenomenon in their workers’ compensation cases and drug testing programs,” he said. 

“The Impact of Digital Innovation on Risk Management” will take place on Wednesday, and James Benham, CEO of JBKnowledge, said emphasis will be on predictive analytics, chatbots and artificial intelligence, robotics, telematics/wearables and portals/EDI/block chain.

“…While artificial intelligence is not to the level of Hal from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ it has made major strides in things like natural language processing, image recognition, voice to text, text to speech, language translation and more. All things AI and Chatbots will be presented along with real world examples of what is being used,” he said via email.

Check back to receive timely updates in our Featured News section, and also @wcconnections for live coverage. Tweet @DaraBarney with any pressing questions or information you might have.









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