The Annual Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference (WCI) is just one example of how complex this topic is to everyone involved, from doctors to employers. Many of the sessions are made solely for those in specific industries (e.g., only for judges or attorneys.)
With a variety of laws from state to state and interpretations of those laws from state to state, this conference has to address a lot of questions and confusions. We’ll give you an idea of what it was like to attend, though it should be noted that it’s impossible to cover it all here.
All Eyes on Florida
The Florida Supreme Court has already ruled on several aspects of the workers’ compensation rules, as in they will not be limiting attorney fees and temporary employment benefits, in an effort to avoid needless litigation from employers. Some experts say this has worked with fewer court cases being heard, but insurance companies are claiming that they’re now subject to paying the costs and haven’t been able to set prices for their premiums based on these laws. They now want to raise their rates up to 20%.
Florida is where the event was held, so it was a topic that was especially on people’s minds. Between this and the contrasting event of falling costs of rates in Oklahoma, it was these two states that won the spotlight. Everyone at the conference wanted to fight against fraud and waste, but the best ways to regulate that is still debated by many.
Bureaucracy, Advocacy and Safety
These are typical topics when it comes to anything related to workers’ compensation, but the conference attempted to address them with a modern bent. For example, studies into the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) have not necessarily shown the rates to have changed due to the laws, though it behooves employers to keep an eye on any overlap between provider networks and approved workers compensation professionals for additional cost savings and streamlined care. They also talked about the employees who are not covered by workers compensation (e.g., domestic or agricultural workers.)
There was more information about how employers can better develop their own safety plans, and how changes in healthcare will affect the program. The conference addressed how many larger businesses do not have effective risk management, and how accountability should be at the forefront of each business.
There was an emphasis on how data can help people make better decisions, and on how best to use that data when it comes to driving change in workers compensation. In other words, there was a lot happening at this conference, and if you want to learn more about a particular talk you can click here.