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WCRI 2023 Conference Top 10 Things I Learned In Phoenix Part 1


 WCRI 2023 Conference – So Much Learned In The Grand Canyon State

The WCRI 2023 Conference’s theme this year was Disruption, Resilience, and Evolution. As I am a WC data wonk, I tried to stick to Workers Comp and employment stats only.

I used to post the sessions live.  My hands and fingers are not that fast nowadays.  I took pen and paper notes to write this and other articles on the WCRI 2023 Conference.   I will provide some of the slides as I cover the top 10 things I learned in Phoenix. I decided to split the article into two parts for readability.


pic of 2023 wcri conference phoenix cactus
(c) US Park Service

The speakers’ bios can be found here.

WCRI (Workers Compensation Research Institute) has invited me to their conference for over 15 years to cover the sessions as posts on my website. The group is still the leader in unbiased research on Workers’ Compensation.

Let us begin.  These are not in any specific ranking order. Charts are provided below for each of the Top 10.

Conference Top 10 – Part 1

1. Claims and risk management departments may need to take another look at chiropractic care.

Dongchun Wang’s (WCRI Economist) groundbreaking study on how chiropractic can keep medical costs lower and lower the time out of work.  I am sure that mouths dropped in claims departments around the country when her report was released in late March 2022.   I wrote an article on what I thought was astounding research.

For many years chiropractic care was seen as very expensive and did not return injured workers to gainful employment as swiftly as non-chiropractic care. The study and report contradicted that belief.

The chiropractic study was part of a larger study titled “Extended Use of Physical Medicine for Low Back Pain.”  

wcri 2023 Conference primary care of chiros vs non chiros chart
(c) WCRI


2.  Medical cost Inflation lagged behind the Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Dr. Olesya Fomenko‘s (WCRI Economist)study of medical price inflation revealed many astounding figures.  One of the most surprising is that medical cost inflation was the same as CPI increases during the pandemic.  Previously the medical cost inflation figures were multiples of the CPI for many years.  Rebecca Yang (WCRI Senior Public Policy Analyst) also worked on this study.

Medical Inflation vs CPI Increases

Medical Cost inflation = 6.7%

CPI Increase (Pandemic) 2020 – 2022 = 6.4%

3.  States without medical fee schedules have much higher professional fee costs

Dr.  Fomenko’s study of medical price inflation also pointed out that states without medical fee schedules cost more for the same treatment in the states that have fee schedules in place.  I have written multiple articles on cost savings without a reduction in the level of treatment for injured workers since I started writing articles 16 years ago.  Medical fee schedules work well.  Dr. Formenko’s study backs up my long-tenured opinion. Rebecca Yang also worked on this study.


wcri 2023 conference prof fees by state chart


4.  Dr. David Auten’s (MIT) slide on how much farm employment we have lost

According to the keynote speaker Dr. Auten, the US has lost 53% of farm employment since 1860.  That should concern every one of us.  Another interesting statistic represented the accuracy of ChatGPT – the AI scored 90% across all bar exams.

Dr. Auten Graph Farm Employment
(c) Dr. Auten MIT


5. Bogdan Savych’s (WCRI Economist) statistic on long COVID

Of all COVID claims, 80% of them came from the healthcare industry.  The industry met the challenge even with a high level of COVID-19 contraction and subsequent WC claims.

COVID claims by industry


Please note that the above chart is preliminary data and should be treated as such.  I will cover part 2 of what I learned at the WCRI 2023 Conference in my post for tomorrow.




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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