Monday, August 7, 2017

National Workers’ Compensation Review - Tenth Annual (Day 1)

12:55 – 5:00 pm    
Grand Ballroom 8A
Convention Level

(Day 2 of this program is on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 beginning at 9:30 am in Crystal Ballroom M.)

Workers’ Compensation as a Positive Change Agent: 
Delivering the Promise of Workers’ Compensation

12:55 pm    
Welcome and Introductions

Co-Chairs, National Workers’ Compensation Review:

H. George Kagan, Attorney
West Palm Beach, FL
James M. Anderson, Attorney
Anderson Crawley & Burke
Jackson, MS
William E. Pipkin, Jr., Attorney
Austill, Lewis, Pipkin & Maddox
Mobile, AL
1:00 – 5:00 pm    
Our 2017 NWCR Four-Part “Focus On” Medical Monday Presentation; Save Money And Lives; Bad Science Is A Big Expense

Christopher R. Brigham, MD
Brigham & Associates 
Hilton Head, SC
1:00 – 2:00 pm     
PART I: Neuropathic Pain:  Scrutinizing the Diagnosis 

Robert J. Barth, PhD
Barth Neuroscience
Chattanooga, TN
Steve Tipton, Attorney 
Flahive, Ogden & Latson
Austin, TX

Workers’ compensation professionals are reporting a trend which involves increasing numbers of claims that are focused on “neuropathic pain.” Dr. Barth has addressed this trend through publications and medical education programs. He will cover some of the content and findings from these medical projects, which were requested by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and other medical academies. The areas to be addressed include: 
•Neuropathic pain is nothing more than a descriptive concept. 
•It is not a diagnosis.
•It is not a phenomenon which has been scientifically delineated. 
•It is not possible to prove, for legal purposes, that a patient has neuropathic pain.
•A claim of neuropathic pain cannot be credibly used to justify a claim of work-relatedness.
•Psychological factors are predictive of the severity and duration of pain complaints that match up to the “neuropathic pain” description.
•A claim of neuropathic pain does not provide a credible basis for treatment planning. 

The strategy that this program teaches for scrutinizing such claims can be used to improve treatment planning, safeguard injured workers from inadequate health care, and protect them from the sometimes harmful health effects of workers’ compensation. Steve Tipton will address claims management strategies for ensuring that the information from this presentation is actually used within any individual case.        
2:00 – 3:00 pm    
Part II: The 360 View of Managing Opioid Weaning

Mark Pew
Senior Vice President
Duluth, GA
Melvin I. Pohl, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Las Vegas Recovery Center
Las Vegas, NV
William Zachry
Senior Fellow
Sedgwick Institute
Orange, CA

Weaning, or tapering, dangerous polypharmacy regimens that often start and continue with opioids is complex and requires all stakeholders to fully understand the options. The injured worker needs to know when the drug regimen is causing more harm than good and that to get better, often lifestyle changes and bolstering resiliency might be required. The doctor conducting the weaning needs to have an interdisciplinary approach to address not just medical concerns but also potential physical and psychological considerations. The payer needs to understand the “big picture” and be willing to authorize treatments like yoga, biofeedback, mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy and gym memberships that aren’t traditional workers’ compensation treatments. This panel will discuss how to set up a weaning process for success by identifying best practices and “gotchas.”
3:00 – 4:00 pm    
Part III: Leveraging Occupational Health Medicine to Facilitate Return-to-Work and Achieve Improved Outcomes

Carlos Luna
Director of Government Affairs
Reed Group
Denver, CO
Greg Vanichkachorn, MD, MPH
Corporate Health Director
Kalispell Regional Healthcare
Kalispell, MT

Sometimes, returning an injured worker to productive living post-injury or illness is a complex endeavor. In this session, Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn and Carlos Luna will discuss how evidence-based care, in conjunction with other strategies, has proven to be effective. But where is the evidence on the real world use of evidence-based care? Presenters will share preliminary results from an ongoing study contrasting outcomes of early, evidence-based care administered by occupational health specialists to usual care in workers’ compensation for low back injuries. Come for the data on this very important study, or just come for the pictures of beautiful Montana - either way, your time will be well spent!
4:00 – 5:00 pm     
Part IV: Best Practices: Achieving Positive Outcomes

Melvin I. Pohl, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Las Vegas Recovery Center
Las Vegas, NV

Christopher R. Brigham, MD
Brigham & Associates
Hilton Head, SC

Michael J. Webb, MD
Regional Medical Director
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Tampa, FL

In this lively presentation, our distinguished panel will discuss best practices, including the need for early intervention, education and empowerment of those who are injured, and the benefits of evidence-based medicine and treatment guidelines. The panel will discuss the difficulties of physician prescribing and dispensing, compounding, and unsatisfactory approaches to pain management.