Advancing Workers' Compensation at the IAIABC Forum 2013


Madison, WI ( - Workers' compensation reforms have been played prominently in industry news lately, as reform legislation was signed in both Tennessee and Oklahoma. These reforms are just the beginning as legislation is complemented by regulatory and administrative changes within a system. During these times, it is critical for the industry to come together and share effective practices, discuss recent reforms and evaluation metrics, and learn from each other's successes and failures. Last week, representatives from twenty-six jurisdictions, including participants from Australia, Canada, and Germany, came together for The IAIABC Forum 2013 in Des Moines, Iowa to do just that. 

The IAIABC provides a unique opportunity for jurisdictional administrators and industry stakeholders to come together for dialogue on challenges in the system and issues that may be on the horizon. The Forum 2013 focused heavily on medical issues including treatment guidelines, opioids, and the primary care physician shortage. During the IAIABC Medical Committee meeting, guest presenter John Ireland from the California Workers' Compensation Research Institute presented recent research on compound drugs and physician dispensing. This resulted in discussion on how opioid and prescription use is controlled around the world, with attendees from Canada, Australia, Germany and the U.S. sharing insights. 

The Forum 2013 also presented an opportunity for the IAIABC's EDI committees to discuss and resolve issues related to the IAIABC Claims, Proof of Coverage, and Medical data reporting standards. The EDI Claims Committee tackled the difficult issue of acquired claims, which presents reporting issues for jurisdictions and third party administrators following organizational mergers and buy-outs. In addition, the EDI Proof of Coverage committee discussed jurisdictional implementation plans for POC Release 3.0. The EDI Medical Committee was busy updating the IAIABC e-Billing Model Rule and Companion Guide and discussed strategies to assist jurisdictions who are implementing or interested in implementing e-Billing initiatives.

Other IAIABC Committees also addressed important issues, including the difficulties of benchmarking across jurisdictions, coverage challenges for independent contractors and telecommuters, and educational needs of workers' compensation adjudicators. The Disability Management and Return to Work Committee had an energetic discussion on the influence of culture in return to work outcomes. Jurisdictional administrators recognized the need for a paradigm shift by employers, employees, and workers' compensation service providers for a singular focus on return to work following occupational injury or illness. These discussions and more served to address the IAIABC's mission to “advance the efficiency and effectiveness of workers' compensation systems around the world.” 

After long hours in committee meetings and auxiliary programs, attendees participated in evening social events at two unique Des Moines venues, West End Architectural Salvage and the Embassy Club. Attendees appreciated experiencing the local culture and were charmed by the city's vibrant arts, cultural, and food scenes.

The IAIABC would like to the thank the Iowa Workers' Compensation Division and Iowa Workers' Compensation Advisory Council for hosting the conference and helping advance workers' compensation systems around the world. The Forum 2013 was generously supported by Mitchell Workers' Compensation Solutions, ISO, and Safety National, and NCCI. 

The IAIABC Forum 2014 will be held April 7-11, 2014 in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. More information about The Forum and upcoming IAIABC programs can be found at

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