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WCRI 2022 Conference Afternoon Day 1 – No Masks – Great Speakers


WCRI 2022 Conference Afternoon Day 1

To see the Day 1-morning sessions – click here

The Future of the Workplace after COVID-19

Wed. Mar 16, 2022
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Sebastian Negrusa, PhD's profile

Vice-President of Research

Denise Algire's profile

Director of Risk Initiatives & National Medical Director
Albertsons Companies

Dan Allen's profile

Executive Director
Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO)

Craig Ross, DO's profile

Regional Medical Director
Liberty Mutual

The pandemic caused the most significant disruption to workplaces in generations. It forced employers and employees to quickly pivot and change. Join our distinguished and diverse panel as they discuss the future of the workplace after COVID-19 while addressing the following questions:

  • How have federal, state, and local mandates and requirements affected the workplace? What is the long-term view in terms of vaccine requirements as it relates to employment?
    • Dan Allen – made construction much more complicated
    • Denise Algire – complied with state rules  – Long COVID – complex claims handling required
    • Dr. Ross – over 200 symptoms with long COVID, more science to come out on long COVID
  • How will organizations manage the different comfort levels employees have in returning to the workspace with others? What are the implications of increased work from home as many companies contemplate permanently converting to “hybrid” work?
    • Dan Allen – no work from home, all workers worked as a team as construction was always on-the-job essential workers
    • Denise Algire – grocery workers were deemed essential workers, a large number of people working from home, getting feedback from employees, return to work coordination for balance
    • Dr. Ross – open and honest communications to address concerns with the employees
  • How did the pandemic impact workers who were injured on the job? What happened to claims composition, timely delivery of medical services, and types of treatment received?
    • Dr. Ross – shortage of skilled workers, increased risk of injury, and severity of the injury
    • Dan Allen – right to work states created a lack of training, the workforce does not have accredited program,  sharply increased death rate among construction employees, aging workforce, apprenticeship program needed on the federal level
    • Denise Algire – labor shortage existed before COVID, do not overwork the employees that you have in place, risk assessment of the jobs, safety processes in place to prevent injuries, look at automation
  • Work from home injuries
    • Denise Algire – heightened attention to work, burned out, risk management has been “on” for two years, mental health treatment availability, use technology to create time off the job for at least a few minutes, remote ergonomic assessment of home offices
    • Dr. Ross – ergonomic-based injuries, use employee assistance programs
  • Claims composition during the pandemic
    • Dr. Ross – medical care for WC injuries has been delivered, telemedicine ramped up early, very few vaccination claims, vaccines reduced long COVID
  • Mental health during COVID
    • Dan Allen – COVID will come out with a positive, suicide rate increased sharply during COVID pandemic, pre-work exercises, use of opiates had some effect
    • Denise Algire – civility and compassion at start of the pandemic, service-industry employees now see more anger from the general public,  employees dealing with more stress
  • Safety precautions post- COVID
    • Dan Allen – COVID created new careers in construction
    • Dr. Ross – do not be a hero and go into the office sick
    • Denise Algire – intense focus on safety beyond COVID

Questions –

Does COVID cause any construction labor fraud? –  yes, unskilled workers hired by contractors, disposable workers, difficult to contain

Positive Effects?  Pushed telehealth, claims adjusters had to very quickly become contact tracers

Virtual training?  Videos for medical training, emphasize and encourage collaboration, AI has been great for tutoring construction workers, increasing diversity among construction workers

Impact of Drug Formularies in Various States

Wed. Mar 16, 2022
2:50 PM – 3:30 PM

Vennela Thumula, PhD's profile

Policy Analyst

Drug formularies are one of the tools policymakers are increasingly using to regulate pharmaceutical utilization and costs in workers’ compensation. Formularies are lists of covered drugs with rules on how the drugs may be accessed and under what conditions. Some stakeholders tout the benefits of their respective formularies, which ensure pharmaceutical utilization is compliant with evidence-based guidelines. Others are concerned about whether formularies provide a cost-only solution and whether they change drug utilization patterns to benefit injured workers. Join us for this session as we share WCRI’s latest research on the impact of drug formularies in several states, including Arkansas, California, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, and Tennessee. The following are the questions this session will answer:

  • How do formularies differ, and what has been their impact on costs and prescribing?
  • If prior approval is required for certain drugs, how frequently are those drugs prescribed?
  • Do drug formularies result in the substitution of drugs that don’t require prior approval for similar drugs that do require prior approval?
California reduced the number of RX’s by using formulary by 33%
Non-formulary states reduced by 4%
CA – Non-exempt drugs decreased by 40% from 2017 Q4 to 2018  Q2
NY –
  • 22% decrease in RXs 2019 Q3 to 2020 Q1
  • Non-formulary drugs reduced from 26% to 21% during the same time period
    • Topical Analgesics
    • Opioids
    • Others

IN – smaller changes than NY or CA – due to no prior authorizations required 

The Power of Strangers: The Benefits of Connecting in a Suspicious World


Andrew Kenneally's profile

Communications Director

Joe Keohane's profile

Wed. Mar 16, 2022
3:30 PM – 4:20 PM

Poll after poll, study after study, and news story after news story have concluded that many of us feel anxious.

It’s everywhere. We are anxious about returning to in-person work after two years in relative quarantine. We are anxious about being around people again—even people we know. We worry we’ve gotten out of shape socially, and we’ll struggle with the sorts of routine interactions that used to come naturally to us. And increasingly, companies are taking historic steps to diversify their workforces and facilitate connection, cooperation, and innovation across boundaries of difference. Diversity can bring huge cultural benefits, but also comes with some significant challenges, as people from different backgrounds—cultural strangers—learn to work together.

At an unprecedented moment in history, when we find ourselves interacting with a broader spectrum of humanity, while also struggling to adapt to living IRL, it has never been more valuable to rebuild our social muscles and learn to reengage with the world face to face.

Joe Keohane can show you how—by teaching you how to talk to strangers.

 ©J&L Risk Management Inc Copyright Notice


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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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