Tag Archives: Conferences

The Next John Geaney Seminar: Not To Be Missed!

Question: On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, where will more than 200 really smart New Jersey workers’ compensation professionals be?

Answer: At the Doubletree Hotel in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, attending John Geaney’s “Complete One-Day New jersey Workers’ Compensation Seminar.”

Well, technically the seminar is put on by Millennium Seminars, LLC, but Geaney, a Shareholder and Executive Committee Member of the prestigious law firm, Capehart Scatchard, is the creator of these seminars for workers’ compensation pros. He’s been organizing and running these things for many years, but the events never seem to get old or stale.

At Workers Compensation Psychological Network, we’re proud, honored even, to be sponsoring the upcoming educational day.

The Spring Seminar’s Agenda is chock full of information geared to helping overworked claims adjusters, nurses, case managers and attorneys do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

In addition to learning about recent case law, listening to leading physicians discuss up to date medical issues (one session is “Causation and Treatment of Spine Claims”), hearing leading employer workers’ compensation managers offer tips to rein in costs (at this seminar, managers from United Airlines, ABM Industries and Verizon will present) John Geaney always manages to weave in some fun (at his last seminar, he organized a College Bowl style competition).

If you’re a workers’ comp professional, you really ought to register to attend this worthwhile event.  And if you do go, please stop by the Workers Compensation Psychological Network booth to say hello. We’d love to see you.

Psychosocial Issues And How To Deal With Them

Workers’ compensation claims adjusters are busier than the Ed Sullivan Plate Spinner. Running around with one or two hundred lost time claims would make anyone dizzy, but at the recent National Workers’ Compensation & Disability Conference (NWCDC) in New Orleans, presenters tossed the frazzled spinners a few more plates to shoot up on the sticks.

The issue? Psychosocial factors delaying claim resolution.

At one well-attended session, Marco Iglesias, Medical Director for The Hartford, and Robert Hall, Corporate Medical Director for Optum went into great detail about how psychosocial factors rear their heads in the claim process and how they impede recovery.

For example, consider these research statistics based on a study of 75,000 claims:

Time out of work increases 30% for a musculoskeletal claim with one co-morbid complication;

Duration increases 57% if the claim co-morbidity is depression;

According to The Hartford’s Dr. Iglesias, 10% of claims, the ones with all those psychosocial issues, cause 60% of claim costs;

At another presentation, attendees learned that Mental Health, Addiction and Obesity are the three comorbidities causing the greatest cost and time away from work.

Also, according to an AETNA presentation, 97% of depressed patients have a second co-morbid condition.

Research aplenty; solutions, not so many.

The pitch at the conference seemed to be two-phased. First, here are a number of factors, which, if present, can significantly delay recovery (see our Predictive Triggers post for more on this). Second, if you’re an adjuster or nurse case manager and you recognize any of these factors in one of your claims, put on your sensitive side psychology hat and provide gentle guidance and counsel to help the injured worker overcome the problems delaying recovery.

At the breaks after the sessions adjusters were talking in small groups about how this was all well and good, but it required increased time on claim, time they didn’t have. Also, many of them admitted that their claim resolution approach, honed over many years, veered more to the cut and dried than the touchy feely.

So, what should overworked adjusters and nurse case managers do with this  fast-approaching, ever-enlarging, dead-ahead iceberg?

Well, there are three critical things to know when one suspects the presence of psychosocial triggers:

First, are they real?

Second, are they work-related?

Third, are they truly impeding recovery?

The only way to know with credibility the answers to those three questions is to have a qualified clinician conduct a thorough Initial Psychological Evaluation.

So, with all due respect to the excellent doctors who presented at the NWCDC, we suggest logging in to our claimant Intake & Referral Portal and referring these difficult claims with their thorny issues for a highly-reliable, speedy and comprehensive Initial Psychological Evaluation. The cost is only $450, and you’ll be glad you did it.

That’s all part of our pledge to you: Recovery – Sooner, Faster, Smarter!


New Jersey Self-Insurers’ Association Spring Conference and Vendor Fair: Key Takeaways

First, congratulations to the Staff and Members of the association for an informative and entertaining conference at Harrah’s Resort and Casino in Atlantic City.

A couple of shout-outs are in order: Donna Wrobel, the Association’s President and Assistant Director for the Archdiocese of Newark, and Regina Lamptey, ABM’s Regional Risk Manager and the Conference Program Chairperson, did an outstanding job organizing the event and making sure it ran with professional efficiency. Kudos to both ladies.

The presenters were interesting and, in many cases, thought provoking. A special mention of Dr. Tom Dwyer, who, as he did at the recent Millennial Seminar organized by Capehart & Scatchard Attorney John Geaney, delivered an exceptional presentation focusing on the intersection between workers’ compensation and orthopedic medicine.

There was an interesting panel on Utilizing Social Media to Schedule Strategic Surveillance. Another panel that caught everyone’s attention, moderated by Ann DeBellis, Esq., of New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, discussed Pain Management, Medical Marijuana and Interventional Spine Techniques. No free Cannabis samples, though.

It was also a big couple of days for us at Workers Compensation Psychological Network. In addition learning a lot, making many new friends and even managing to leave Harrah’s without contributing much to the casino’s profits, we had a highly successful launch of our venture.

While we were happy to meet so many of New Jersey’s key workers’ compensation players, we were even more gratified for their deep interest in how we might help them deal with the many thorny mental health issues that crop up from time to time.

One of the things that seemed to impress the conference attendees was the breadth of our geographic coverage. We built a county coverage map to illustrate it.


Another thing that seemed to hit home was the responsiveness of the system. Workers Compensation Psychological Network’s online referral portal allows instantaneous referral, saving adjusters and attorneys considerable time and effort. The last thing these extremely busy professionals want is to have to spend hours, days or even weeks tracking down the help they need. Our first-in-the-nation online referral system eliminates that.

One final congratulation is in order: As the conference was scheduled for the first day of the NFL draft, the organizers chose the theme, “Drafting The Right Workers’ Compensation Team.” All vendors competed for the prize for the best display illustrating that theme. So, we salute Team Kirshner, of the Kirshner Spine Institute, for its historic win (although, with our superb Pittsburgh Steeler Display, we have to say, “We wuz robbed!”).


Tomorrow Is Official Launch Day!

Well, here it is. After more than a year of building, Workers Compensation Psychological Network Launches tomorrow.

In what seems to come right out of Star Wars’s opening line – Long ago in a galaxy far away – Richard Filippone and Mary Ann Kezmarsky had a vision, a dream of doing something never before done anywhere in America. They realized that the workers’ compensation system in New Jersey for dealing with mental and behavioral health issues was an afterthought, at best, resulting in high costs for employers, frustration for insurers and angst for injured workers. Claims adjusters did not want to “buy a psych claim,” because of the fear that doing so sent the claim into a psychological black hole and created a lifetime annuity for some PhD.

Richard and Mary Ann, PhDs of the first order, themselves, knew there had to be a better way.

And thus was born a dream that becomes reality tomorrow.

At Workers Compensation Psychological Network you’ll find a network of Psychologists and Neuropsychologists, as well as Cognitive Behavioral Health and Biofeedback experts. The network covers all of New Jersey’s 21 counties, from Sussex in the north to Cape May in the south. All members of the network have been highly trained in New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system. They have learned what employers go through every time a worker is injured and misses time away from work. They’ve learned about experience modification and modified duty and how premiums are built. They know how important is the concept of MMI, Maximum Medical Improvement. And they’ve learned all this without checking their expertise and compassion at the door.

But that’s not all. In addition to building this unique network, Richard and Mary Ann have built the nation’s first totally electronic claimant referral portal and electronic health record system. Richard had another vision – no paper. This means that a referral can happen in a matter of minutes, saving claims adjusters hours, even days of time in finding the proper person to see a claimant.

So, tomorrow, at the New Jersey Self-Insurers Association annual conference, we launch. We couldn’t be happier


Upcoming Events

Workers Compensation Psychological Network is making steady progress toward our official launch when we throw open the doors for business. We’re just finishing Beta testing, and if you’ve ever launched a new enterprise, then you know what that’s like. We expect to launch just in time for the New Jersey Self Insurers’ Association’s Annual Conference at Harrah’s Resort and Casino in Atlantic City on April 28 and 29. If you’re there, please stop by and say hello. You’ll find us at Table 42. We look forward to chatting.

The theme for this year’s Conference is “Drafting the Right Workers’ Compensation Team.” We’re hoping you’ll give us a chance to add a lot of value to your team!

Meanwhile, we’ll be exhibiting at Millenium Seminars’ One Day New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Seminar on April 14 at Doubletree Suites by Hilton in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Please say “Hello” if you’re there. And it’s not too late to register for this highly worthwhile conference organized by our good friend John Geaney of the excellent Capehart Scatchard law firm.

We’d love to speak with you at either of these great events. Workers Compensation Psychological Network is the only state-wide network of clinicians who are highly trained and certified in dealing with those hard to handle workers’ compensation claims fraught with biopsychosocial issues. We aim for Recovery: Sooner, Faster, Smarter.