8:00a – 8:55a          Registration and Breakfast

8:55a – 9:00a          Welcome and Opening Remarks – Albert Betts, Jr., Executive Director, ICT

9:00a – 9:20a          Workers’ Compensation System Update Post COVID-19

Commissioner Cassie Brown, Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation, Division of Workers’ Compensation

Commissioner Cassie Brown will talk about how the workers’ compensation system responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. She will touch on system trends, the ongoing COVID-19 data call, and the implementation of Senate Bill 22- the COIVD-19 presumption bill. She will also discuss ongoing and future DWC rule projects.

9:20a – 10:10a        2021 Session Update – Guns, Voting, and a Winter Storm: Where Did Workers’ Comp Fit?

Michael Pichinson, Associate General Counsel, Texas Association of Counties

This was a busier than expected session on workers’ compensation issues given some of the broader state-wide issues on the agenda. Mr. Pichinson will discuss the political maneuverings, hearings, and topics which dominated the session, including voting, guns, the state’s electric grid, and the budget; and highlight some of the 50 workers’ compensation related bills filed during the session.

10:10a – 10:20a      Networking Break

10:20a – 11:15a      Understanding and Assessing Risk and Injuries in a Post COVID-19 Workplace

Dr. Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, Professor and Chair, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Lozano Long School of Medicine, UT Health San Antonio | Medical Director, Critical Illness Recovery / Neurorehabilitation, Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital San Antonio

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged employers and carriers to adjust employee interactions and workplace structures.  As COVID continues to subside, and some employees return to the workplace, including those who may have had COVID and recovered, there may be new challenges and questions for employers, employees, and risk managers. Dr. Verduzco-Gutierrez will discuss the “long-haul” employee and provide tips on issues such a creating a safe workplace, how to address injuries or conditions for an employee affected by COVID-19, and return-to-work strategies.

11:15a – 12:30p     Networking Luncheon –  Jessica Barta, OIEC Public Counsel, presents Kids’ Chance of Texas

Jessica Barta, Public Counsel, Office of Injured Employee Counsel

12:30p – 1:35p      Talking with the Regulator: Finding Your Best Voice or Tips for Effective Regulatory Advocacy

Moderator: Angie Cervantes, Government & Legislative Affairs Manager, ICT
Panelists: Albert Betts, Jr., Executive Director, ICT
Rod Bordelon, Policy and Regulatory Affairs Consultant, Granite Public Affairs
Ryan Brannan, Principal, The Brannan Firm

This panel of former Texas workers’ compensation commissioners will share their insight into how stakeholders can be most effective when communicating with regulators and staff.  Each will bring their own unique background and perspective to the discussion and share some of their more interesting interactions with stakeholders, including what works and things to avoid.

1:35p – 2:35p       The Remote Worker- The New Normal and Implications for Workers’ Compensation 

As an employer, risk manager, or claims professional, the shift to remote workers has meant rethinking what is the workplace, how to assess risk, and how to handle claims for injuries outside the traditional workspace.  What does this new normal look like and how does the workers’ compensation industry adjust? Or is it business as usual?

2:35p – 2:45p       Networking Break

2:45p – 3:45p       Primer on National Workers Comp Trends and Changes: What Does It Mean for Texas?

During the last year, many states have made changes to their workers’ compensation laws in response to COVID-19, resulting in various changes to benefit eligibility and coverage.  Join us for a discussion on the ideas considered or implemented and whether these changes are a glimpse into the future for Texas.

3:45p – 4:00p       ICT Award Presentation

4:00p – 4:10p       Sponsor Prize Drawing

4:10p – 4:15p       Closing Remarks – Albert Betts, Jr., Executive Director, ICT

4:15p – 5:15p       Networking Reception