Eleven Ways to Learn about Workers Compensation at a National Workers Compensation Conference

 
Work Comp Roundup attends the National Workers Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo (NWCDC) at least every other year.
 
 
As seasoned conference goers, we offer some hints and tips on how to make the most out of our experience.
 

 You might
wonder why those already established in the industry attend still attend conferences…

The reason is
that the workers compensation industry is always evolving – new players, new laws, and new equipment.  We recommend everyone who is new to our field attend industry conferences often. This time of year, it's the National
Workers Compensation and Disability Conference® in Las Vegas in November to learn what is new.

At Roundup, we always learn new techniques, meet new vendors, and discover the latest service enhancements. In fact, when I began, I learned this field from the ground up — NWCDC was a part of that education! 20 years ago, in Chicago — my, how time flies.

 
A conference of this scale can help you expand your knowledge and gain new solutions directly related to:
1.Workers compensation,
2.Disability management,
3.Return-to-work programs,
4.Better Claims Management,
5. Health/Medical Management,
6. Solving Legal/Regulatory Issues, and
7. Strategic Views
 
The National Workers Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo Nov. 9-11 in Las Vegas is the nation's leading event for dedicated to the workers' comp and disability management industries. Hundreds of our colleagues gather each year to expand their knowledge and gain new solutions directly related to their workers' comp, disability, and return-to-work programs.
 
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the conference offers more than 30 breakout sessions organized by type and level. Plus, there will be an in-depth pre-conference symposium, “Awesome New Technologies: What You Need to Know to Drive Improvement.” The Expo portion of the conference hosts more than 260 exhibitors providing an additional venue to gather knowledge to take home plus numerous opportunities to network and glean insights from top experts on how to solve your problems in claims management, strategic program planning, health/medical management, plus legal and regulatory issues.
 
As a seasoned conference goer and industry leader, here are ideas about how to get the most out of this large national conference:
 
Eleven Ways to Get the Most Out of the National Conference:
 
1. Attend the Opening Session. This is a large session for all attendees where awards are given to the best companies in the industry. Don't miss this because the award recipients will describe their programs, what works, what doesn't, how they overcame challenges specific to their industry and company, and likely the same obstacles YOU are also encountering. You will hear many ways to reduce costs, and you will take many notes.
 
2.  Focus on your specific goals, for example, attend sessions about return to work programs or allocation systems, if you need to learn more about how to implement these cost containment techniques. I use my Program Planner like a lesson plan, circling the first and second choices.
 
3. Read the brochures you collect when you return home; use them as your own private educational program to LEARN what is available. How could you possibly request an off-site vendor be added to your list of service providers if you do not that such as service exists? You can't!  How could you ask for nurse triage if you do not know the service exists? You can't.
 
4. Pass your business card out and do not be afraid to network – that is part of this business. Meeting knowledgeable people gives you a resource when you encounter a problem. Sitting at the round tables encourages discussion. Don't be afraid to tell people at your table you are new. They may be too, and if they are experienced, they'll be happy to help you. We've all been new at some point in our career.  
 
5. Learn what you don’t know you don’t know. We often find employers who have misidentified the cause of their high work comp costs. They think it is nurse case management or bill review that is driving costs, when it is really poor management and operational practices. Being exposed to new ideas presents an opportunity to learn things you don’t even know you are missing!
 
6. Chat with people who do the same things that you do and see where you differ. One thing I like about the conference is that some of the most popular sessions are repeated at different times, and if I begin a session that does not interest me, or isn't applicable (which doesn't happen often), it is not a problem to quietly sit in another session down the hall. CAVEAT: Be courteous if you think you might do this as it's not fair to distract the speakers or other participants by being noisy or disruptive, so take care to come and go quietly, and sit in the back of the room near the door. Many sessions are very close in proximity to each other — in the same large hallway – which makes entering another session easy.
 
7. Learn Key Cost Drivers. Find people who work in workers compensation departments you know next to nothing about and ask them whether they are satisfied with their workers comp vendors. Ask them what drives their costs. We speak daily with companies unhappy with their TPA or insurance carrier, but are only guessing about what is driving their costs. If you are even thinking of changing carriers or TPAs, I suggest you attend the sessions at the conference to make sure you are on the right track.
 
8. Roam through the exhibit hall speaking to vendors and learning about the types of services that are available to reduce workers comp costs. THIS will be the best education you will ever get!
 
9. Wear comfortable attire. Bring comfortable shoes. I call my black flats my "conference shoes." You will be on your feet a lot, so be comfortable. The first day, people are a bit more dressed up than the following days. The last day is more casual because people are traveling back home. You will definitely want to dress professionally because some of the people you meet with become lifelong contacts, so making a good impression is important, but you can be comfortable, too. For an ounce of prevention, bring moleskin to protect the areas of your feet most likely to get blisters.
 
TIP: Visit the Exhibit Hall and the Educational Sessions. Attend both. Try to visit every single vendor in the exhibit hall. Start on the right, and move systematically through the rows.
 
TIP: Start early, leave late, and remember … although your feet may hurt, this is only once a year!
 
TIP: Before the Exhibit Hall opens, have breakfast in the Continental Breakfast Hall to network with new friends. You will find people are very friendly and helpful. I love the 8-round tables which make it so easy to introduce yourself to those at your table. 
 
HINT: Bring band-aids – you will do a lot of walking, and you may get a blister or two, so come prepared.
 
10. It is affordable. If the CEO or business owner does not want to spend the money for you to attend the conference, show them the TRUE cost of your workers’ compensation losses with the Sales To Pay For Accidents Calculator to gain management commitment here: http://www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/calculator.php.
 
For example, if you have just one $40,000 loss, it will take your company $666,666.00 in new sales to replace the $40,000 lost on that single claim. Learning how to reduce your costs is a wise business investment. It also makes you more valuable in the marketplace.
 
Yes, it is in Las Vegas, and if your CEO bemoans the fact that the conference is in a city more known for partying than workers’ compensation, let him or her know that Las Vegas is one of the most affordable travel destinations, which is undoubtedly one of the reasons the conference organizer chose that destination this year.
 
11. Keep your conference guide for future reference. You may want to have this handy on your desk for the time you want to try a new service or ask a question about a new service. Or, if you are putting out a Request For Proposal, this will be your ultimate list of those companies to bid on your project.
 
See you there!
 
 
Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation, and has attended the National Workers Compensation and Disability Conference® many times. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing, publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
 

Our WC Book:  http://www.wcmanual.com
WORK COMP CALCULATOR: http://www
.LowerWC.com/calculator.php

 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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