National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network Conference Breaks New Ground


Hartford, CT (CompNewsNetwork) - The National Workers' Compensation Defense Network (NWCDN) completed its most ambitious and best attended conference last week in Hartford, Connecticut. The 193 attendees may not have realized it, but they were part of a ground breaking trend in this country.

The one day conference, which covered important topics related to managing workers' comp programs and claims such as settlement strategies, psychiatric disabilities and Medicare updates, was offered free of charge to "clients and  friends" of NWCDN firms. In reality, any employer or insurance company wishing to attend could have secured an invitation through one of those firms.

What makes this conference unique was the organization that produced it. The National Workers' Compensation Defense Network is an organization of independent law firms each with an established Workers' Compensation practice and experience in defending employers and insurance companies in workers' compensation and related actions. Member firms are committed to providing quality representation and information to employers and the insurance industry. To date, 40 firms comprise the NWCDN, each representing one states jurisdiction. According to the organization's Web site, "It has been the historical belief that workers' compensation issues are matters of purely local or state law. In fact, the trend over the past 10 years is that states are developing similar statutory provisions. NWCDN, cognizant of the antitrust laws, recognizes this developing trend and exists for the purpose of providing national and regional employers and their carriers with access to highly skilled workers' compensation and employment liability defense attorneys throughout the United States and Canada."

Essentially, the NWCDN is a network created to help facilitate the legal handling and management of workers' comp claims and issues for medium to large employers and insurers across multi-state jurisdictions. This is the first legal network of its kind established to accomplish such a goal. According to the NWCDN, "An additional goal of the organization is to provide a forum through which employers, insurers and risk managers can confer with each other and member firms of the network in regard to their respective experiences in the workers' compensation arena." The conference just concluded was a part of that continuing forum.

At the Hartford conference, held June 25th and 26th, attendees were treated to an interactive program covering many medical and legal issues that they confront on a daily basis. Dr. Mark Rubinstein presented a session entitled "Psychiatric Disability: Myths, Realities and Everything In Between", while Dr. William H. Druckemiller spoke extensively on the topic "When Not to Fuse or Perform Any Procedure That Does Not Work". Jim Hulett, with the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) at The Hartford, and Connecticut Asst. State Attorney Michael Sullivan provided an excellent overview of fraud in workers' compensation, and red flags used to determine potential investigations. Thomas R. Hatchfield of the Department of Health and Human Services, gave an extensive Medicare Update, including 2007 amendments and resolving set-aside issues.

Participants came away extremely impressed with the conference. Robert Wilson, president of, LLC, was one of them. "These folks are doing something very unique, and it bears watching," he said. "They were extremely accommodating and the information was excellent. This was definitely time well spent."

The next NWCDN conference is scheduled for October, in Tampa, Florida. For more information on the NWCDN, you may visit their website at

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