The conference season is getting ready to fire up once more, and workers' compensation road warriors are again preparing for the hazards and rewards of attending multiple educational events around the nation. One of the first major events of the year is the 32nd Annual Issues & Research Conference produced by the Workers' Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), and which will be held in Boston, MA. This year the theme of the conference is “Understanding Today to Prepare for Tomorrow”, and it will run March 10 & 11, 2016.

The Workers Compensation Research Institute is an independent, not-for-profit research organization providing high-quality, objective information about public policy issues involving workers’ compensation systems. Organized in late 1983, the Institute does not take positions on the issues it researches; rather, it provides information obtained through studies and data collection efforts, which conform to recognized scientific methods. Objectivity is further ensured through rigorous, unbiased peer review procedures.

WCRI provides excellent research data, and as a result their presentations tend to be loaded with interesting analytical data. Last year was my first time attending this conference, and I found it quite interesting. I look forward to returning this year. This conference will mark the first without the venerable founder of WCRI, Richard Victor. He retired earlier this year, and the organization has been placed in the reportedly capable hands of Dr. John Ruser.

This year there will be sessions looking at the impact of fee schedules on case shifting as well as comparing workers outcomes across the various jurisdictions. There are two panels discussing Opt Out, and even a foray into “medical travel” with a session discussing the “crossing of state lines” for medical care.

This is a good conference for decision makers who want to understand the nuts and bolts behind current trends within the workers' compensation industry.

If you are interested in learning more or registering for the conference, you can go here. See you in Boston. Bring a coat!

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