The final notes from the 2016 Workers' Compensation Summit held in Dallas last week were released to the participants today. We promised that all of the notes taken from the “national conversation” on workers' compensation would be made available once they were complete. This is in addition to disclosing who the participants were, which we did Monday.
I am pleased to make good on that promise today. But we also want to do more; we think it is time to invite you into the conversation. You will see these documents discussed in several LinkedIn workers' comp groups, and we encourage you to participate there. I would also ask you to leave your comments at the bottom of this article, as all input will be monitored and considered in future discussions the Summit group is planning.
Before I get to the various documents we are releasing today, I would like to take a moment to thank Judge David Langham for his tremendous behind the scenes commitment to this process. He is almost entirely responsible for the notes and comments you will be reviewing today, and quite frankly, the Summit would not have come off without his firm commitment to making a better workers' compensation system. Working with Judge Langham is wonderful; he is a veritable machine who accomplishes much more than previously thought humanly possible, yet after doing all of the heavy lifting, will turn around and tell everyone how terrific you are. It is not too dissimilar to a skilled ventriloquist telling an audience that the dummy has all the talent. If you ever get a chance to work with him, do so. You won't be disappointed.
Now, to the notes and documents. It is important to remember that the goal of this conversation was to start further dialogue towards an improved comp environment; it was not to issue bold goals or objectives for the industry. These notes reflect the core dialogue of the group, and are broken down into separate files for convenience. I must also stress that the group largely seemed to agree that overall, workers' comp is not broken. The general feeling was that 90% of accepted injuries were processed and returned to the workplace as intended. We recognize that many of the issues and problem points we discussed are related to the 10% of claims that seem to occupy much of our focus. There were interesting stats presented from WCRI that supported that contention.
Summit Notes – These are generalized notes of comments made during our two days of discussion. They are generally presented in the overall order they were made.
Friction Points – these notations were part of a discussion about those transactional points that slow down, increase the cost or potentially disrupt the claims process.
Paradoxical Incentive Points – these notes are related to discussions where incentive/payment structures may not be in line with desired outcomes.
Regulatory Points – a great deal of energy went into discussing regulatory burdens and oversight as related to workers' compensation. These are broken out for your benefit here.
Imperative Issues* – These are the final points that the group identified as pain points or problem areas within workers' compensation. *IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING THIS FINAL DOCUMENT: This is simply the release of a rough outline. The group will be working further on these points, and is currently undergoing a survey process to prioritize these particular issues. Once that is complete, we plan a more formalized document that contains a “Statement of Purpose” as well as extended commentary surrounding these points.
These documents total about twenty pages. We encourage EVERYONE to review, dissect and distribute. This is only the beginning of a much more involved discussion. As importantly, we ask you to comment here and/or on LinkedIn. It must have a broader scope to be a truly comprehensive “conversation”.
The conversation is well under way, and now it needs you.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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Bob is an accomplished speaker for the workers' compensation industry. He is available for conferences, corporate events, children's birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs. You may access his Speakers Brief here.