OFI Virtual Conference to Include Latest WC COVID Claims Data, and a Focus on the Future
Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – An upcoming conference this month has a decidedly different tone than the one held last year. While COVID-19 will have a presence, this year's focus will be on what lies ahead.
“Last year the event had a much greater emphasis on COVID-related content. It was during the height of the pandemic. That was by far the most overwhelming issue everyone was dealing with,” said Mark Walls, co-host with Kimberly George of the Out Front Ideas virtual conference. “Whereas this year, while [COVID is] still there, it's very much focused on ‘where do we go from here,' ‘what comes next.'”
The one session this year that does focus on the coronavirus brings together three industry experts to provide the very latest COVID-19 claims data. Max Koonce, chief Claims officer at Sedgwick, Tim Stanger, VP of Claims for Safety National, and Alex Swedlow, president of the California Workers' Compensation Institute will provide an update on the data the trio reported during a webinar in February.
“It's the most complete and current information you can get on how COVID is impacting workers' compensation,” Walls said. “Between the data from CWCI, Safety National and Sedgwick, it has a wide depth – much deeper than what the [rating] bureaus see because it includes data from self-insureds that the bureaus miss. Those self-insureds include most of the public entities and healthcare [organizations], which are most affected.”
Walls says the data is being developed now. He says attendees can expect some surprises.
“For example, the data is showing that the frequency of Covid claims over the late summer rose to levels not seen since January," Walls said. "This happened even though many employers were encouraging vaccinations."
The two-day event includes eight sessions in all, three of which feature speakers not typically seen in workers' compensation conferences but considered renowned experts in their fields. Day one starts with a keynote from Stephen Friedman, chairman of Stone Point Capital.
“He's a huge name in the world of finance,” Walls said. “He's been the Fed Chair of New York, was CEO of Goldman Sachs and served in the Bush administration.”
In a session described as a ‘fireside chat' with Sedgwick Executive Chairman Dave North, Friedman will share his thoughts on culture in business and leadership priorities and how he believes these factors impact success in risk management.
The state of the country's healthcare industry is the focus of the Day two keynote, when Robert Pearl, MD, takes the stage with co-host George. The former CEO of The Permanente Medical Group and former president of The Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group and now clinical professor at Stanford University School of Medicine will discuss issues such as physician culture and burnout and how that impacts employers and patient care.
“That's going to be a really interesting critical conversation on what's happening in healthcare in America, and what needs to happen,” Walls said. “He has a good eye for flaws in our healthcare system and strong opinions on how to address them.”
One of the biggest pain points among workers' compensation stakeholders is the focus of another Day two discussion, which includes the director of the Stanford Pain Relief Innovation Lab. Beth Darnell will speak with Walls and George about the latest advances in pain management.
“She's one of the leading researchers on pain management in the world,” Walls said. “She'll talk a lot about things they are seeing with virtual reality. She's doing a lot of research around using VR for pain relief and having some interesting, promising results.”
Another session features brokers and insurance carriers discussing the state of the insurance marketplace, such as the trends, challenges and how the economy is impacting the industry. “That's going to have some great information for risk managers out there to hear from industry leaders,” Walls said.
Another session includes risk management professionals from a variety of industries discussing their concerns and emerging risks.
Employer trends shaping the workplace will be discussed by HR executives and will include their insights into dealing with talent attraction and retention.
Transforming medical management to improve outcomes will be discussed by several clinical speakers from carriers and third-party administrators; specifically, how medical management can and is evolving.
The conference is free to those who register. “The nice thing with an online format is they can watch it live or just watch the archive at your convenience,” Walls said. The platform is very interactive. It allows people to ask questions during the sessions. There's even an area where you can network with attendees.”
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