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2023 WCRI Conference Top 10 Things I Learned In Phoenix Part 2


2023 WCRI Conference – Top 10 Things I Learned – Part 2 of 2

The 2023 WCRI Conference Top 10 (Part 1) can be found here.   I split a very long article into two parts for readability.   One of the most popular presentations every year at the conference is the State of the States where an enormous amount of data is examined by comparing how the states compare to each other.

Please check out the session schedule page and the speaker bios here.

Day Two Sessions

6. Emergency room visits varied widely among the States with MA having the highest numbers

Massachusetts had an astonishing 44% of all workers comp accidents with hospital emergency room (ER) visits.  If the injury involved a fracture, MA had 58% with ER involvement.   Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Massachusetts had the highest number of ER visits – the one variable that could be responsible for the higher ER visits is these are all employee-choice states for the medical treatment during a Workers Comp claim.

2023 WCRI Conference State Comparison chart of ER visits

2023 WCRI Conference CompScope ER visits soft tissue injuries

7. Medical payments  decreased during the pandemic

The yearly CompScope 23rd edition always has great data to examine how the states compare to each other and great statistics on each state.  I had seen this same type of decrease in the file and loss run reviews that we performed during the pandemic.

I agreed with one of the comments in the presentation – medical payments likely were reduced due to the injured worker’s hesitation to attend appointments at medical facilities.  I ran into this situation often in claims consulting.

2023 WCRI Conference chart on med payments during panedemic

8.  Perfect illustration of the struggles of changing or enacting a fee schedule by  the Workers Comp Commissions

The Honorable Michael J Brennan, Chairman of the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission perfectly illustrated the struggles of enacting a fee schedule and its ramifications.  Too much of a cut means fewer services provided vs. too little of a cut means that employers have to pay more premiums which can have a devastating effect on business.  This chart represents the tug-of-war.

I wrote this article in 2014 after IL reduced their fee schedule across the board by 30% as they were the 3rd highest workers comp medical cost state in the nation.

Illinois workers comp commission fee schedule results chart

9. United Airlines creates a unique accident “near-miss” program

United Airlines initiated a program where an employee could report “near misses” with no penalty for having reported the near miss.  This sounded like an innovative risk management program to avoid injuries.   We always talk about the number one way to reduce workers comp payouts is the “accident that never occurred.”

Documenting and preventing the accidents that almost occurred is a genius concept to me.   Making it “penalty-free” to the worker likely prevented that near miss from ever happening again.  I liked the innovation.

10. Never assume the weather is going to be normal even in Phoenix.

Ok, so this one had to do with outside the conference.  I had stayed extra time to go to an MLB spring training game.  At the time I was headed to the ballpark, the weather was 59 degrees and raining.  So, no baseball game in Phoenix for me this year.  Below is a pic from the last time that WCRI hosted a conference in Phoenix.  The weather was warmer and had no rain.

(c) Author’s Own Work


The 2023 WCRI Conference A Success

I was unable to cover all the sessions in my Top 10.  As usual with any WCRI study or conference, the 2023 WCRI Conference was a great success.  Thanks to Dr. Ruser and Andy Kenneally for inviting me.  I learned so much great info.


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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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