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

9:00a          Workers’ Compensation System Update Post COVID-19 and 87th Legislature

Dan Paschal, Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Customer Service, Texas Department of Insurance, DWC

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

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

Michael Pichinson, General Counsel and Director of Legal Services at the 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.

10:05a        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.

11:05a        Jessica Barta, OIEC Public Counsel, presents Kids’ Chance of Texas

Jessica Barta, Public Counsel, Office of Injured Employee Counsel
OIEC Update and a presentation on Kids’ Chance of Texas

11:45p       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, Attorney and Regulatory Affairs Consultant, Law Offices of Rod Bordelon
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.

12:50p       COVID Induced Resilience – Mark Pew, The RxProfessor LLC

The COVID-19 pandemic and other societal stressors, including changes in the structure of jobs and work interaction, have impacted stress levels and well-being levels for each of us as individuals and as employers and employees. This session will offer perspective and encouragement to a sometimes beleaguered industry deal with the new changes and stressors.

1:55p          Closing Remarks – Albert Betts, Jr., Executive Director, ICT