Podcast category: Workers Compensation

Workers Comp Matters

How the Trump Administration will Affect Workers’ Compensation

President Trump’s administration will no doubt herald significant change for the nation, but what will the change mean for workers’ compensation? In this episode of Workers’ Comp Matters, host Alan Pierce speaks to Peter Rousmaniere, consultant and award winning author on workers compensation, about the potential effect of President Trump, his administration, and a Republican majority in Congress on state-based workers’ comp programs. During their discussion they cover misclassification, immigration, and the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). They conclude with a conversation about the opt out movement and the biggest errors made by opt out advocates.

Peter Rousmaniere helps organizations and individuals as they negotiate through the troubling waters of hazards, uncertainty, risk, and insurance. He specializes in workers compensation, other corporate types of insurance, new risk management product design and implementation, information technology, and risk communication.

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Workers Comp Matters

Alternative Benefit Systems and the Future of Workers’ Compensation

Due to recent constitutional challenges to workers’ compensation in certain states, a nationwide debate among legal professionals has been ignited. How has this system evolved over time and in what ways might it change in the future?

In this episode of Workers Comp Matters, guest host Judson Pierce speaks with Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group President Alan Pierce about the future of the American workers’ compensation system. Alan talks about the recent scrutiny that workers’ compensation has been under and how increased visibility has sparked a national conversation regarding the system’s effectiveness. He reflects on the 1911 enactment of state-based workers’ compensation systems and lists the safety-focused goals of the institution. Alan analyzes the federal government’s 1970s involvement in the system, mainly through the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the national commission report issued in 1972 that broadened and increased benefit coverage. He explains how costs associated with the system eventually increased as benefits expanded and how this led to system reform in many states. Alan closes the interview by discussing the recent challenges to the constitutionality of the workers’ compensation system in some states and an investigation of the problems with employer established alternative benefit systems.

Alan S. Pierce has served as chairperson of the American Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Section and the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Section on Workers’ Compensation Law. He frequently lectures on workers’ compensation issues around the nation, and in 2007 became one of the first attorneys in the country to be inducted as a Fellow into the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of the American Bar Association.

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Workers Comp Matters

Using Neuroplasticity to Manage Chronic Pain

Currently, there are very few non-pharmaceutical pain management options for workers suffering from neuropathic injuries. What advancements have been made in treatment techniques for patients who are looking to move away from opioid-based treatment?

In this episode of Workers Comp Matters, host Alan Pierce talks with Dr. Roberto Feliz about pain management and Scrambler Therapy. Roberto opens the interview by defining chronic pain and shares that the body maintaining localized inflammation within the tissue is how acute pain transforms into chronic pain. He states that the continued bombardment of pain signals to your spinal cord and central nervous system forces the neurons in your brain to change and form new neural connections. Roberto explains that Scrambler Therapy, a pain management technique that blocks pain signal transmission and provides non-pain information to the affected nerve fibers, aims to deceive the brain into reading the pain signals in a different way. He analyzes what types of pain respond well to this therapy style and what pain types, like degenerative arthritis, do not. Roberto closes the interview with a comparison of how accepting private insurance and workers’ comp services are of this new therapy and discusses the cost and frequency of treatment.

Roberto Feliz, M.D. is a board certified pain management physician and anesthesiologist. Dr. Feliz is widely recognized for his clinical interests in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, neuropathic pain, Rhizotomy, epidurals and nerve blocks, opioid tapering and sports injuries.

Dr. Feliz earned his medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School. He completed his residency at Harvard Medical School at Beth Israel Hospital. He has a fellowship in pain management from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital completed in 1993 and Massachusetts General Hospital in 1994. He currently serves as an impartial physician for the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Judges.

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Workers Comp Matters

Workers’ Comp from the Other Side: Pain Management

Many people have a negative perception of the benefits and treatment one receives through the workers’ compensation system. What examples are there of the system working, and what can injured workers do to help proactively manage their pain as they recover?

In this episode of Workers Comp Matters, host Alan Pierce speaks with Rebecca Curtis about her work-related injury, her road to recovery, and the company she founded to help other injured workers like herself. Rebecca recalls her car accident during a trip home from a speaking engagement and how it left her with a spinal fracture and no feeling from the neck down. She opens up about her surgeries, having to learn to walk again, and the excellent workers’ compensation services and support she received. Rebecca also provides insight into her battle with pain management during her recovery process and how a program helped her to realize that there are many options available for pain management. She closes the interview with a discussion on how this experience inspired her to start her company, Take Courage Coaching, and dedicate her life to helping others struggling to manage chronic pain.

Rebecca Curtis is the founder of Take Courage Coaching. She is an international speaker on chronic pain management, has been a regular speaker at PAINWeek®, and trains, coaches, and travels extensively speaking to medical groups about the role of coaching in pain management.

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On the Road

2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention: Member Benefits Committee

Legal Talk Network host Adriana Linares interviews Pete Sweeney, chair of the Member Benefits Committee of The Florida Bar, at the 2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention. Together they discuss the role of the committee, some of the most popular benefits, and the overall shift from travel benefits (car rental) to technology benefits (practice management software). Pete talks about the proposal, pitch, and renewal process companies go through and the role of the board of governors. Listen to the end to hear about how Florida lawyers can access these benefits on mobile devices!

Peter Sweeney is a deputy city attorney for the City of Palm Bay, Florida, where he works at an in-house law firm representing the City of Palm Bay and the City Council. Sweeney is board certified in construction law by The Florida Bar and chair of The Florida Bar’s Membership Benefits Committee.

Workers Comp Matters

The International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions

Recently, a few states have pushed for the ability to allow companies to remove themselves from the state-regulated workers’ compensation system. What effects would this have on employers and their employees? What discussions are being had about the repercussions these employer-designed benefit packages could have on workers’ compensation in America?

In this episode of Workers Comp Matters, host Alan Pierce talks with Jennifer Wolf Horejsh about the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) and the recent challenges to workers’ compensation in the United States. Jennifer begins the interview by stating that the mission of the IAIABC is to advance the efficiency and effectiveness of workers’ comp systems around the world. The organization aims to connect industry professionals to identify emerging issues, develop resources, and reinforce the social purpose of workers’ compensation programs. She gives a brief history of the origins of the IAIABC, an overview of their membership numbers around the world, and reflects on her background and how she became executive director of the IAIABC. She talks about the first national conversation on workers’ comp hosted by the IAIABC at their most recent conference and closes the interview with an analysis of the recently proposed employer-designed optout benefit plans, a system of alternatives to workers’ comp, and their potential effects for the average employee.

Jennifer Wolf Horejsh has been with the IAIABC since 2002 and has served as executive director since 2012. She works closely with the IAIABC Board of Directors to implement initiatives that enhance the association’s reputation as a global expert on the regulation and administration of workers’ compensation. Jennifer closely monitors industry developments and trends, using this information to develop conference and educational content and respond to member questions and information requests. Jennifer has written articles and presented on various worker’s compensation topics.

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Workers Comp Matters

National Implications of Opt Out in Workers’ Compensation

In recent years, opt out alternatives to workers’ compensation have become increasingly popular systems for handling work-related injuries. Under an opt out program, employers are allowed to create their own system for taking care of employees that are injured on the job. To date, only Texas and Oklahoma allow employers to participate, but the list of interested states is continuing to grow. Despite the growing popularity, many are concerned that opt out programs will change the landscape of workers’ compensation for the worse and will incur unexpected costs both inside and outside the states that permit them.

In this episode of Workers Comp Matters, host Alan Pierce interviews attorney, author, and historian Bob Burke about the implications of opt out programs. Together, they discuss the effects on workers, taxpayers, and even the court system as these new systems are put into place. Stay tuned, as both Alan and Bob reveal the primary movers for opt out as well as predictions for future public acceptance.

Bob Burke is an attorney, author, and historian with over 30 years of experience practicing law in workers’ compensation matters. He is the former secretary of commerce and principal adviser on workers’ compensation during the administration of then-Oklahoma Governor David Boren. In 2011, he re-wrote the entire worker’s compensation law (Title 85) in Oklahoma as part of current Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s reform. Burke has also been a speaker for over 100 CLE Seminars.

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