WCRI November Conference to Have a Texas Focus

September 21, 2004

The Workers’ Compensation Research Institute announced that it’s annual Issues & Research Conference, to be held Nov. 10-11, 2004, in Cambridge, Mass., will feature a session on the Texas workers’ comp system.

The Texas session is entitled, “TEXAS – Wrestling with the Cost Drivers and Improving Outcomes for Workers.”

Cost per claim in Texas is much higher than typical, yet the outcomes experienced by Texas workers are generally poorer than states like Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. After a review of the evidence about costs and outcomes in Texas by WCRI, public officials and stakeholders will assess the need for change as well as their hopes and concerns about specific changes. Speakers include:

· Senator Todd Staples – chair, Texas Select Interim Committee on Workers’ Compensation
· Amy Lee, research coordinator, Texas Department of Insurance
· Stacey Eccleston – senior analyst, WCRI
· Franz Klein, D.C. – president, Texas Chiropractic Association
· Richard Levy – legal director, Texas AFL-CIO
· Judy Roach – executive director, Texas Self Insurance Association
· Joe Woods – assistant vice president and regional manager, Property Casualty Insurance Association of America

The 21st Annual WCRI Issues and Research Conference is organized around two themes: Key leverage points in the system and legislative change in major states.

Key Leverage Points in the System

At the conference, WCRI researchers will present the results of new studies:
· Provider choice: How employee or employer choice of provider affects costs, recovery of a worker’s health, return to sustainable employment and duration of disability
· Adverse surprises: What types of claims generate the most “surprise” for both the employer (significant unanticipated costs) and the worker (significant unanticipated adverse outcomes)? In which states are these surprises most prevalent?
· Return to work: What are the key determinants of who returns to work and how quickly? How important is each factor?

Legislative Change in Major States

Both this year and next promise to see some of the most significant legislative change and public policy debates in a decade. California, Texas and Tennessee are prime examples. This session provides new insights into the reform actions and debates in these three states. Each state session will highlight the views of senior public officials who were involved in the change process, as well as representatives of diverse major stakeholder groups.

In addition, WCRI will also premiere the newest, not-yet-published, CompScope benchmarking results for the 5th Edition of that important annual study.

For more information about the conference, contact Patrick Corcoran at pcorcoran@wcrinet.org or visit the the WCRI web site at www.wcrinet.org/annual_issues_conference_04.html.

Register before Sept. 24 to take advantage of the discount for early registration. A registration form is available online at https://www.wcrinet.org/conference_reg_04.html.

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