The WCRI Annual Conference: May The Weather Gods Cooperate

February 12th, 2015 by

As Bostonians try to dig out from the most snow ever recorded in a 30-day period in Boston, we look forward to the WCRI’s upcoming Annual Conference at the Westin Copley Place Hotel on Thursday and Friday, March 5th and 6th.

More about the snow a little later, but first the conference.

This year, the conference theme’s title is Resilience or Renovation. However, we won’t get the resilience and renovation until Friday, Day Two. Day One is devoted to updates on all things medical, starting with Dr. Richard Victor, the Institute’s Executive Director, discussing the impact of the ACA on case shifting, which promises to be interesting, indeed. From there we move on to physician dispensing and the perverse effects of low fee schedules.

When the boat docks at Resilience and Renovation on Day Two, we begin with a session titled Resilience: Lessons From Two Decades of Reforms. The panel will discuss reforms in Texas, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Florida. While I am sure this discussion will be stimulating, as well as engaging, I find it curious that conference planners skipped over the greatest reform in the history of workers compensation. It happened in 1992 right where conference attendees will be sitting – the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“Renovation” is a good way to describe a couple of late morning sessions on Day Two, one on Opt Out and the other on challenges to the constitutionality of workers comp. You might think that a bit wonky, but I think attendees will find it thought provoking. It’s interesting that the Opt Out session will focus on the Texas perspective, not the Oklahoman. You may recall that the Texas Opt Out provision has what I consider to be flaws of the first order. Those flaws were corrected when Oklahoma adopted its version of Opt out.

All in all, the conference is an excellent opportunity for workers comp professionals to stay in front of the research curve and to connect with some of the leading lights in the field. I hope to see you there.
Now, the weather. Here’s a Fenway Park snow sellout. Seats full of snow fans.

Speaking for all Bostonians, I think we’ve had enough. Really. Monday night, during our third major snowstorm within a week and a half, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced there would be no public transportation the following day. None. A gazillion people ride what we affectionately refer to as “The T” to get to work every day in and around Boston. Not Tuesday. Shortly after that, standing in front of the TV cameras, Governor 5-weeks-in-office Charley Baker said the 100-year-old MBTA’s performance is “not acceptable.” I guess the bloom is off his rose. We have entered the “find a scapegoat” phase.

Yesterday, the first head rolled – Dr. Beverly Scott, the T’s General Manager. She won’t be the only one.
The rest of us will be fine, but, my God, I’m looking at more than five feet of snow outside my door, and it’s not a drift! And Boston has nothing on Worcester, just 35 miles to the west where nearly 100 inches, that’s more than eight feet, have already fallen at about the halfway point of the snow season. Mother Nature has now gifted Worcester with more snow than any other city in America. Take that, Fargo! You,too, Buffalo! When this stuff melts (please, God, make it melt) we’ll probably have a new lake to rival Michigan in Central Massachusetts. Oh, and our friendly local meteorologists, never happier than when they’re forecasting impending doom, now predict that beginning tonight we’ll descend into the coldest weather of the year. High temps will be in the single digits. Human digits will freeze and fall off. And Saturday night through Sunday there’s a foot more of the fluffy white stuff headed our way just in time for Valentine’s Day. The Lord just keeps showering us with his tender mercies.

But here’s the good news: Spring training is right around the corner. Pitchers and catchers report in three days. By the time the WCRI Conference rolls around Fenway South will be in full bloom. And here in Boston the sun will be shining, the snow will be gone, temperatures will be balmy and the T will be running on time.

And pigs will be seen flying in formation outside the windows of the Westin Copley Place Hotel.

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