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Workers’ Comp Summit: Sept 22-23, 2021 – Samoset Resort, Rockport, ME


Thursday, September 23


8:00 am - 9:00 am
Choice of Breakfast Programs

2021 Comp Summit Ethics Forum
Maine Attorneys

What’s it all about? Our annual dive into ethics and the law of workers’ compensation challenges attorneys to uphold best practices in the service of their clients and the integrity of the Bar. Leading this breakfast conversation is Aria Eee (Executive Director, Board of Overseers of the Bar). She will present a couple of challenging scenarios to begin the morning discussion and will weave in recent decisions by the Board. 

Why you’ll want to participate in this session. 

  • Discover the patterns of behaviors and practices that have led to recent cases before the Board of Overseers of the Bar. Then consider how they may relate to your workers’ compensation practice. 
  • Challenge your thinking on that fine line in representing your clients with passion and integrity.   
  • Become a leader in your law firm’s efforts to enshrine ethical behaviors and practices. 

Applying for Maine attorneys CLE (ethics credit).

2 Breakfast Roundtables 

What’s it all about? Time to share ideas! Thursday morning also opens with this opportunity for small group discussion and involvement. Two Comp Summit veterans will host roundtables with idea sharing on the medical components of case management. Nancy Benoit will host a conversation about “Navigating Medical Resources in the Covid Era.” Denise Dumont Bernier will lead a conversation on musculoskeletal claims and understanding and solving their cost drivers. The roundtables will be limited to 15 participants each, and you’ll have the opportunity to register for them when you arrive at the Samoset.  

Program Faculty: Aria Eee, Denise Dumont-Bernier, Nancy Benoit

8:00 am - 9:15 am
Breakfast

Enjoy breakfast in the EXPO Hall.


9:15 am - 10:15 am
Report from the Workers’ Compensation Board

Numbers, Process, the Horizon

What’s it all about? We open Thursday by going right to the source, with WCB Executive Director John Rohde for a look at how the Board has functioned in the Covid era. He’ll be joined by Tom Wiese from MEMIC, Mark McInerney from the Maine Department of Labor, and Ben Grant from McTeague Higbee. We’ll take a close look at both the statistical information regarding Covid and operational concerns, with an eye to setting up the sessions that follow later in the day on the subjects of case management, the appellate process, and the work of the ALJ’s.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Discover developments on the rulemaking and administrative process front.
  • Discuss how the remote working world has impacted the workers’ compensation administrative process.
  • Consider the future – the impact of telehealth, the impact of the redefinition of the workplace, and what might be lurking on the legislative front.

Applying for recertification credit: Maine attorneys CLE, CCM, SHRM, and HRCI.

Program Faculty: Mark McInerney, Tom Wiese

10:15 am - 10:45 am
Coffee Break

Grab a coffee and stretch your legs while exploring the EXPO Hall.


10:45 am - 12:00 pm
Choice of Two Workshops

Workshop 1: Workers’ Comp Legal Year-in-Review
The Impact of New Laws and Key Cases

What’s it all about? To be precise, this is Legal Year(s)-in-Review, as we bring you up to date on key workers’ compensation developments since we last met at the Samoset in the summer of 2019. Conference attendees will receive a digital format compendium of appellate decisions, legislation, and rulemaking from that period. Then, our panel will select three or four key cases for argument. In each case, you will hear both sides of the issue presented, a description of the case holding, and an analysis of the impact of the decision – including guidance for legal counsel, and the implications for the larger workers’ compensation community in Maine.    

Why you’ll want to participate in this session. 

  • Discover key developments on the legislative and administrative fronts that impact your role in the comp system in Maine.  
  • Become fluent in the results and strategic importance of recent Appellate decisions. 
  • Leave this session with a better understanding of where the system of Maine workers’ compensation is heading.  

 Faculty: Mike Richards,Karen Bilodeau, and Richard Hewes. 

Applying for recertification credit: Maine attorneys CLE 

Workshop 2: Managing Cases in the Post(?) Covid World 
An Interdisciplinary Conversation 

What’s it all about? The past year and a half left its impact on every aspect of our work lives. The workers’ compensation system being no exception to the rule. We’ve gathered practitioners from various corners of comp practice to discuss the evolution of case management. Discover what an occupational medicine doctor, a nurse case manager, and counsel for employers and employees have to say about: 1) What has changed for the better/worse in achieving results for their clients. 2) How they have managed their responsibilities under Covid restrictions. 3) Lessons learned that may provide for more efficient case management in the future. 

Why you’ll want to participate in this session. 

  • Engage in a discussion on the effectiveness and ramifications of telehealth. 
  • Discuss how the legal/administrative functions of the system have changed. 
  • Discover what these professionals have done to foster effective communication among the parties to the workers’ compensation system in Maine.  

Faculty: John Cronan,Al Mesrobian, Sara Archie, and Carol McMannus.

Applying for recertification credit: Maine attorneys CLE, CCM, SHRM, and HRCI.

Program Faculty: Al Mesrobian, MD, Carol McMannus, John J. Cronan, Richard Hewes, Sara Archie

12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Lunch

In the EXPO Hall.


1:15 pm - 2:30 pm
PLENARY: Covid Case #4 in Maine was Work-Related

The story, the process, the future.

What’s it all about? In the early stages of the Covid 19 pandemic there was much talk about a potential flood of workers’ compensation cases. That discussion then morphed into consideration of the evolving long-term consequences of the disease. This session will put those issues into context by highlighting Maine’s fourth confirmed case of Covid 19, which just happened to result in a workers’ compensation case. You will hear the employee’s story directly from the employee himself, followed by an engaging conversation between counsel for the employee and defense as they discuss compensability, the process to date, and the future.  

Why you’ll want to participate in this session. 

  • Explore the path of employee’s counsel as he followed the causation evidence trail in this very early case and understand the thinking of defense counsel in not challenging causation. 
  • Discover specific advice on issues ranging from First Reports, to Notices of Controversy and the process beyond. 
  • Consider the long-haul, medical case management issues for this and similar cases and what that portends for resolutions. 

Faculty: Doug Kaplan,Lindsey Sands, Matt Harmon, and Durward Turner 

Applying for recertification credit: Maine attorneys CLE, CCM, SHRM, and HRCI.  

Program Faculty: Doug Kaplan, Durward Turner, Lindsey Sands, Matt Harmon

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Prize Announcements

Gather in the EXPO Hall for prize announcements.


3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
PLENARY: From the Bench

A Conversation with the ALJ’s

What’s it all about? The Administrative Law Judge sits at the tipping point of litigated cases, helping steer the process to resolution, hearing the evidence, and rendering decisions. We close the 2021 return of Comp Summit with two ALJ’s sharing their views and fielding your questions. At first blush, this is of primary interest to attorneys in attendance, but the reality is that it appeals to adjusters, paralegals, employers, and everyone interested in policymaking and a smooth functioning system.  

Why you’ll want to participate in this session. 

  • Discover some golden nuggets on section 312, petitions for review, and the appellate process. 
  • Discuss the impact of Covid 19 on the day-to-day functioning of the system and some of the challenges of on-screen vs. live hearings. 
  • Whether comp veteran or rookie, you’ll walk away with some best practices to achieving fair outcomes for those you represent. 

Faculty: David Hirtle and Bryan Chabot

Applying for recertification credit: Maine attorneys CLE  

Program Faculty: David Hirtle
Wednesday, September 22 Thursday, September 23