David Langham, Deputy Chief Judge of Florida Compensation Claims. Twitter @FLJCC What Can We Do About Bias in the Work Place? Bias, harassment, and abuse are becoming acknowledged as culturally and professionally systemic. These issues are not new; what is new is the seeming willingness to have open and honest discussions about them. Bias is part of who we are. I touched on some thoughts regarding bias in this post: Eliminating All Bias. We all have innate bias and learned bias. It effects how we perceive people, things, and experiences. As sentient beings, we must begin by acknowledging this as fact. Then we can address how to personally challenge and suppress our personal bias. There is more we can and should do. Encouraging diversity of interest and participation in workers compensation (or any endeavor) is part of this. We must each remain conscious of bias, and understand that anyone’s perspective or participation might well be influenced by bias, whether they know it or not. We can never know what influences or drives anyone; at best we can struggle to know ourselves. Though we cannot know the minds of others, we can remember that bias exists and that it may be part of any human interaction in which we find ourselves. Is it driving the thoughts or actions of someone in the interaction?

And, more importantly, can we learn to recognize symptoms of bias, harassment and abuse? It is likely these are perpetrated where we cannot see acts or hear words directly. But can we learn to see the symptoms of them? Can we as a society, a culture, become more attuned, conscious, and perceptive in this regard? Those in our world and industry who are directly affected by bias, harassment, and abuse need our awareness. More importantly, they and our world and industry as a whole will be better collectively if we choose to not tolerate these. That is a commitment we must all make, and a conversation that is long overdue.

Tammy Boyd, VP Business Development NeuroInternational. Twitter @tamiami813 Thoughts on 2018 Annual Brain Injury Practice College last week in Austin, Texas. It was an intensive three-day event covering a multitude of topics within the brain injury industry. Those in attendance were from the top-tier brain injury providers in the country which include members from the C-suite, middle management, clinicians, marketing, human resource and others. Collaborating as an industry to provide best practices, while keeping abreast of legislative updates, identifying market trends within the industry and advocating for those affected with a brain injury. My three take a ways from this event include:

1) Legislative updates: Peter Thomas, Principal at Powers, Pyles, Sutter & Verville, PC lead with a “year in review” update from Washington, D.C. Key points included:

-Affordable Care Act / Medicaid Repeal and Replace

-Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Appropriations: Congress agreeing to a 2–year budget agreement with $300 billion in federal spending

-President Trump’s 2019 Budget Proposal with deep cuts to rehabilitation, disability, independent living, and health services research

-Veterans Choice Act

– Congress appropriating $2 billion to fund

-#MeToo movement affecting the workplace environment

2) Market Trends: A panel discussion lead by CEO’s of post-acute brain injury rehabilitation providers identified opportunities for growth as well as challenges within their different regions of the country. There was a consensus from all the providers of demands in the marketplace to provide quality outcomes (consistent measurement tools), cost-savings to payors, and scarcity of government funding for services. They also recognized a consolidation within the industry through mergers and acquisitions.

3) Advocacy: Protecting the rights of the voiceless, nameless, and faceless we all discuss, the brain injury survivor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every day, 153 people in the United States dies from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and approximately 2.5 million people annually are documented with a TBI. The importance of lobbyists and knowing who your state legislators are plays an important role to access of appropriate medical care and funding to this underserved market. Texas is a great example of successfully passing legislation, creating a state fund, Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services, to assist Texans with a TBI to receive rehabilitation services.

Trecia Sigle, AVP Nationwide, Erosion of exclusive remedy in Wisconsin? Does it have broader implications to this cornerstone of the work comp system? The Wisconsin legislature responded to a prior court ruling from January 2018, WI Court of Appeals, by passing a piece of legislation at lightening speed to limit the erosion of exclusive remedy in SB 781, passed last week on Feb 28. The law applies to temporary and loaned employees only and does not permit them to bring a tort action outside of work comp to sue their employer for a work-related injury or condition. Read more on this issue from National Law Review.

Yvonne Guibert, Marketing Consultant. Twitter @ExpertsinWC Alliance of Women in WC Event in Tampa! The next Tampa Alliance of Women in Workers Compensation event will take place Wed, April 4 6p – 9p, at Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. Katie Pemble, Founder and President of Baldwin Pemble Advisors, will speak on The Value of Understanding a P&L Statement. Dinner and drinks will be served. The event is free, courtesy of our co-sponsors. If you are interested in co-sponsoring this event, please message me! For information on Alliance of Women in WC events near you.