Perhaps I’ve been in Florida, a state where freeze warnings are issued if the temperature approaches 45 degrees, too long. Like many here in the Sunshine State, harsh winters, collapsing roofs and ice encrusted roads are but a distant memory. That makes the thought of leaving it in March a bit daunting when the rest of you are getting socked in the teeth by a postmenopausal Mother Nature.

As I write this, Monday morning March 2nd at around 6AM, it is 67 degrees outside. The house is open, the cats are busy securing our lanai’s (Florida speak for “screened in porch”), and a light breeze is carrying the sounds of morning birds and assorted wildlife gently through the house. Boston, by contrast at this moment, is 28 degrees. By Thursday it will be seeing a low of 8 degrees and is forecast to receive more snow, because, as one of their weather professionals recently said, “We’re so close to breaking all records, we might as well go ahead and do so”. 

Normally I might not give all of this a second thought. The problem is, of course, I will be flying to Boston on Wednesday to attend the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) Annual Conference. Fortunately WCRI info should be hot off the presses. That should help keep us all warm.

WCRI has been turning out some extremely impressive studies and content in recent years, and this conference should be a reflection of much of its recent work. Sessions this week will provide extensive reviews of fee schedules, physician dispensing, impacts of the ACA and the effectiveness of various reforms around the country. An interesting session on the agenda this year is one called “Persuasion: The Science and Art of Effective Influence”, presented by Professor Gary Orren of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. I can only surmise what Professor Orren will be discussing, but with the emphasis on reforms and a continual state of change within workers’ comp, looking at the art of influence seems like a terrific idea. It is something we do not do well, and in an industry generally resistant to change, the “art of influence” should definitely be one tool in our arsenal.

Of course, when I first read the agenda I thought it said “Persuasion: The Science and Art of Effective Affluence”. Wanting to someday be affluent myself, I thought it was a great idea, although no one needs to persuade me of its benefits. 

At any rate, WCRI is giving me a solid reason to leave Florida just as everyone else is arriving here, and I look forward to the trip. I should be easy to spot in Boston. I’ll be dressed very much like Ralphie’s little brother in the movie “A Christmas Story”. You will have to forgive my trench coat, which long ago lost its belt buckle and has stains that date back to 1992. I just refuse to buy a new one, when it is so rarely put to use. The car picking me up at Logan International has direct orders to get me directly to the hotel, where I intend to remain firmly ensconced to whatever extent possible.

I look forward to attending WCRI, and writing about some of what we learn there. Be forewarned, however, as I will be unusually persuasive in my musings, having just learned the science and art of effective persuasion. 

Assuming, of course, my frozen fingers still work.


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