Recommendations From the Program Chair

Steve Rissman

Recommendations From the Program Chair will be a multi-part series from WCI’s Program Chair, Steve Rissman. This page will be continuously updated with new articles and recommendations.

Program Recommendations Part 5

This is the fifth episode of program highlights. It comes in response to questions that I get asked about program recommendations. Today’s episode pertains to the Wednesday Breakouts at the Convention and I will highlight two breakouts, although there are many more that day that are worthy of your attention.

The first is the Breakout on Multi-State Workers’ Compensation law which is sponsored by the Workers’ Compensation Defense Institute. That is an all day program on Wednesday designed to give adjusters, attorneys, nurse case managers, employers and other groups a good idea about what is similar and what is unique among the 15 states involved in the Multi-State Breakout. The panelists from the various states address issues that cover national and state specific workers’ compensation matters in a thought provoking and entertaining format. This Breakout is among the most creative at the Convention. The speakers utilize popular movie clips and facilitate lively and entertaining discussions to make their points. You will be both educated and entertained by choosing the Multistate Breakout.

The Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation has evolved into one of the best attended and most profound of all of our Breakouts. It is a four hour session on the Wednesday morning of the Convention hosted by Kimberly George from Sedgwick and Michele Adams from Walmart. There are two main speakers. The first is Michelle Gielan whose topic is Broadcasting Happiness. Michelle is a bestselling author and TV personality. The second main speaker is Kendra Davies who is a certified professional life coach, whose mission is to transform how we live, love and do business using the powerful science of positive psychology. The Alliance portion of the Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference has drawn huge and enthusiastic crowds over the last several years. This is a Breakout not to be missed.

Recommendations from the Program Chair is a multi-part series from WCI’s Program Chair, Steve Rissman. To see previous recommendations, see below.

Program Recommendations Part 4

This is the fourth episode of program highlights. It comes in response to questions that I get asked about program recommendations. Today’s episode pertains to the three breakout sessions which probably draw the largest crowds.

Case Law Update has been a staple of the Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference for over 30 years. It draws enormous crowds of lawyers, adjusters, risk managers, safety personnel and all others who are interested in a really high level analysis of the cases that have come out in the last year and how those cases impact the state of the law regarding many different issues. This year the Case Law Update will be held on Tuesday from 2:15 – 4:15 pm instead of its normal slot on Monday. Case Law Update also has an expanded role this year because in addition to its normal function of educating people through excellent analysis of the law, it is also part of Breakout for Adjusters, Program One, the mandatory 5-Hour program on law and ethics. The panelists represent the very best of the claimant and defense bars. These skilled practitioners debate the cases and inform the audience of the practical impact that the cases will have on their every day claim or case handling.

In 2021, Oral Argument is being held on Monday, December 13th from 2:15 – 4:00 pm. There will be three live cases presented to a panel of judges from the First District Court of Appeal in a courtroom setup to duplicate the formality of those oral arguments if the case were being heard in Tallahassee. The cases are interesting and it is a wonderful experience for adjusters, many of whom would not have an occasion to witness an actual oral argument.

The third of the big programs is the Live Surgery. Our convention was certainly the first convention for non-doctors to have anything similar to this. Each year, a specific live surgery is presented to the audience. This is the 14th year that Orlando Orthopaedics has presented this program and its doctors have performed the surgery. In 2021, this session takes place on Tuesday, December 14th from 8:45 – 9:45 am and will involve Dr. Randy Schwartzberg performing a lower extremity surgery which will stream live from the Orlando Orthoapedic Outpatient Surgery Center to the Marriott with the help of moderator, Dr. Christopher Warrell. The fantastic part of this breakout is the surgeon is talking directly to the audience at the Marriott and can actually hear questions asked by the audience. Dr. Warrell acts as a facilitator for the questions from the audience and offers explanations of what is going on during the surgery while the surgeon is otherwise occupied.

That is an additional taste of some of our big programs. There will be more soon.

Program Recommendations Part 3

This is the third episode of program highlights. It comes in response to questions that I get asked regarding program recommendations. We truly have a specific program for every group interested in workers’ compensation. In the last episode I talked about Tuesday being what I called specialty day because there are dozens of programs and literally hundreds of speakers designed for the benefit of specialty audiences. These are more specialty programs.

Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) are an important player in workers’ compensation from a national standpoint. This Breakout is sponsored by the National Association of PEOs and the Florida Association of PEOs. It is an all day program on Tuesday and has some very high quality speakers familiar with the ins and outs of PEOs. One of the highlights of the program is called Best Practices for Risk Managers and is moderated by Abram Finkelstein with Stafflink Outsourcing with an extremely professional panel composed of Harry Campbell from Decision HR, Julie Cirillo from Engage PEO and Wade Latham from CoAdvantage. If you are an adjuster, a PEO or an attorney who specializes in PEO claims, this is the place to be.

Another specialty breakout on Tuesday is the Breakout for Temporary Staffing. Kris McConnell from CCMSI is the long term and expert Program Moderator. Each year she compiles fantastic speakers and excellent topics pertaining to the world of temporary staffing. This year, there are real top quality courses back to back that are called Behind the Curtain – See How the Litigation Process Really Works. This is an exceptional program for attorneys, adjusters and employers that need to understand the practical applications of litigation as it regards their temporary employees.

Finally, there are two full programs for adjusters on Tuesday. Breakout for Adjusters, Program One is the 5-Hour Law and Ethics update. As all workers’ compensation adjusters know, this is a mandatory program they are required to take every couple of years. It is a quality and very practical course put together by attorney Scott Silver and Mike Bunte from AON. In adjunct to that course is the Case Law Update and the Live Surgery which will be the subject of another episode of recommendations from the Program Chair. Breakout for Adjusters, Program Two, which is also held all day Tuesday is what I like to call the advanced course. This breakout consists of four different one hour sessions plus the Live Surgery. The topics really cover strategy, tactics and substantive law. If you are a five year adjuster or above, this is the great way to hone your skills. Over the years, we have also seen a lot of attorneys, employers and nurse case managers who want to sit in on these valuable courses.

That was an additional taste of specialty Tuesday. There will be more soon.

Program Recommendations Part 2

This is the second episode of program highlights. It comes in response to questions that I get asked regarding program recommendations. We truly have a specific program for every group interested in workers’ compensation. The Tuesday of the Convention (December 14, 2021) is what I call specialty day. Virtually every one of the 22 programs and the hundreds of speakers are designed for the benefit of certain specialty audiences. For example, on Tuesday, we have three separate medical programs. We have a Chiropractic Breakout sponsored by the Florida Chiropractic Association, a Pain Medicine Breakout sponsored by the Florida Society of Interventional Pain Physicians and an Occupational Medicine Breakout sponsored by the Florida Association of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. These are great programs for adjusters, nurse case managers, attorneys, safety personnel and others who are interested in the medical issues which are involved in every single workers’ compensation accident and claim. It is a rather sophisticated part of the program and the speakers are always well known experts.

Tuesday is also the first day of a Longshore and Harbor Worker Act program which is moderated each year by Robert Bambdas. This is a program that has become one of the very best Longshore programs in the country. It features not only expert lawyers in this specialty, but also a variety of regulators and judges from the United States Department of Labor. If one of your job responsibilities entails Longshore cases, this is a not miss and can’t miss program for you.

Medicare issues continue to dominate the world of workers’ compensation. Day 1 of a two day program begins on Tuesday with the program put together and moderated by Dan Anders, with Tower MSA Partners. The highlight of the first day involves a townhall featuring speakers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The townhall will be interactive and in addition to CMS telling you what is required, you will be able to ask questions of the regulators. How does it get better than that?

That is just a taste of specialty Tuesday. There will be more soon.

Program Recommendations Part 1

Because we have over 550 speakers and 250 separate sessions, I get asked all the time for program recommendations. We truly have a program for every group interested in workers’ compensation. Here are a couple of suggestions.

On the Monday morning of the Convention, the “first couple” of workers’ compensation, Kimberly George and Mark Walls, host the keynote panel consisting of Michele Adams from Walmart, Max Koonce from Sedgwick, Florida Judge David Langham and Susan Shemaski from Adecco. If that doesn’t get the convention off to a jump start, I don’t know what would.

In the afternoon, there are so many cutting edge programs it is difficult to limit myself to just two. Dave North, Executive Chairman of Sedgwick, moderates a 3 ½ hour program stuffed with spectacular speakers and panels that analyze the COVID impact on workers’ compensation and what the future holds. Secondly, the highly regarded Breakout for Risk Managers has its first day featuring Barry Dillard from Disney, Whitney Craig from RIMS, Patrick Sterling from Texas Roadhouse and Lauren McBride from Publix talking about legislative advocacy followed by a really unique and impactful program with speakers Michele Adams from Walmart (and formerly from Disney) and Laure Lamy Founder of Policy Strategies. Those are only two of dozens of opportunities to listen to the very best speakers talk about the most relevant topics.