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Breakout Sessions

Basic WC Law – Part 1 [Basic]

Thursday, June 7 — 9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

David B. Torrey, WCJ, WC Office of Adjudication, Pittsburgh

Previously offered as WC 101, Workers’ Compensation Judge David Torrey provides a basic overview of workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania, including a discussion on its history, basic entitlements, wage loss, course of employment and disability/partial disability.


Employers Unplugged [Basic]

Thursday, June 7 — 9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Moderated by: Gregory J. Fischer, Esq., Gaitens, Tucceri & Nicholas PC, Pittsburgh
Keith C. Enochs, Stauffers of Kissel Hill, Lititz
Jan Frank, Visiting Angels, York
Staci Smith, The Hershey Company, Hershey

These experienced large and small employers will address challenges and topics such as workforce education, pre-injury training, post-injury medical care and the claims management process. The panel will discuss coordination between the adjuster, employer, medical providers and counsel to support a successful modified duty and return to work program.


Opioid Crisis: Where Are We Now? [Intermediate]

Thursday, June 7 — 9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Moderated by: Donna K. Sponaugle, The Hershey Company, Y&S Candies, Lancaster
Shaun C. Corbett, MD, Rosomoff Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center, Miami, Fla.
Stephen M. Thomas, MD, Pain & Disability Management Consultants PC, Pittsburgh

The speakers for this session will provide an update on the opioid crisis, explore potential alternatives to the use of opioids and explain the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.


Avoiding Litigation [Intermediate]

Thursday, June 7 — 9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Moderated by: Linda G. Millas, J. P. Mascaro & Sons, Audubon
Perry D. Merlo, Esq., Lavery Law PC, Harrisburg
Joseph C. Rietmulder, TE Connectivity, Middletown
Glenn S. Sinko, Esq., Sinko Zimmerman LLC, Seven Fields

In this session, the panel will present collaborative strategies and insights to facilitate the WC claim process and avoid adversarial outcomes.


Basic WC Law – Part 2 [Basic]

Thursday, June 7 — 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Moderated by: Steven Minnich, WCJ, WC Office of Adjudication, Pittsburgh
Nariman P. Dastur, Esq., DeAngelis, Dastur & Associates PC, Pittsburgh
Glenn Jones, School Districts Insurance Consortium, North Wales
Joshua L. Schwartz, Esq., Barley Snyder, Lancaster

This detailed discussion will follow the flow of the claim process from the moment of injury until the final adjudication. Speakers will address frequently asked questions about the workers’ compensation law and will give basic information about what the law is and what it does.


Legal Updates (Repeated Friday at 1 p.m.) [Intermediate]

Thursday, June 7 — 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Moderated by: Barbara L. Hollenbach, Esq., Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, Allentown
Barbara E. Holmes, Esq., Blaufeld, Schiller & Holmes LLP, Pittsburgh
Terry W. Knox, WCJ, WC Office of Adjudication, Reading
Peter J. Weber, Esq., Weber Gallagher, Philadelphia

An annual favorite, join in this discussion of the leading cases and current, potentially problematic issues facing workers’ compensation practitioners.


Hiring Individuals with Disabilities [Basic]

Thursday, June 7 — 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Moderated by: Donna K. Sponaugle, The Hershey Company, Y&S Candies, Lancaster
David DeNotaris, PA Dept. of L&I, Harrisburg
Amy L. Ruesch, Ann Silverman Community Health Clinic, Doylestown

Panelists will discuss how the employer and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation have been successful in placing individuals with disabilities in substantial productive employment. A panelist will discuss how she has successfully navigated her educational and work life as a hearing-impaired nurse practitioner.


Workers’ Compensation Research Institute: CompScope PA 2018 [Basic]

Thursday, June 7 — 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Kathleen Fisher, Workers’ Compensation Research Institute, Cambridge, Mass.
William S. Monnin-Browder, Workers’ Compensation Research Institute, Cambridge, Mass.

The speaker will address the most recent CompScope report for Pennsylvania. Attendees will gain an understanding of the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system’s features and comparisons with other states, including indemnity benefits, medical payments and benefits delivery expenses per claim.


Workers’ Compensation Jeopardy [Intermediate]

Thursday, June 7 — 1:45 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Edward R. Carpenter Jr., Esq., Carpenter, McCadden & Lane LLP, Media
Christopher A. DiMeo, Esq., Carpenter, McCadden & Lane LLP, Media
Jeffrey S. Gross, Esq., Gross & Kenny LLP, Philadelphia
Andrea McCormick, WCJ, WC Office of Adjudication, Philadelphia

Test your workers’ compensation knowledge. This fun and informative session will take the attendees through the nuances of workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania.


Opioid Use: The Road to Recovery [Basic]

Thursday, June 7 — 1:45 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Moderated by: Suzanne M. Emmet, Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, Lancaster
Evelyn Bonilla, Paradigm Outcomes, Walnut Creek, Calif.
Shaun C. Corbett, MD, Rosomoff Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center, Miami, Fla.
Victor E. Parziale, Ernest Victor Consulting LLC, York Haven

Hear from panelists who have overcome opioid dependency, as well as from insurance and medical professionals who have facilitated these efforts and support their ongoing success.


As the Claim Turns – Part 1 [Basic]

Thursday, June 7 — 1:45 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Moderated by: Sandra Craig, WCJ, WC Office of Adjudication, Philadelphia
Katherine E. Bavoso, Esq., Thomas, Thomas & Hafer LLP, Harrisburg
Lawrence R. Chaban, Esq., AlpernSchubert PC, Pittsburgh
Harriet A. Gaither, CM Regent Insurance Company, New Cumberland
Hilbert W. Gavel, Berry Global, Hunlock Creek
Roy Patton, Presque Isle Rehabilitation Service LLC, Edinboro
Deborah J. Schwartz, Esq., Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Office of Chief Counsel, Harrisburg

This year’s session will focus on a WC claim from start to finish. We will highlight the impact from Protz on claims and the mitigation of exposure in the post-Protz world via other options.


Avoiding Fatal and Life-Changing Injuries [Intermediate]

Thursday, June 7 — 1:45 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Moderated by: Bernadette Heckman, Heckman Group, Duncannon
Matthew Banford, Allied Services Heinz Rehab, Wilkes-Barre
Kenneth Jones, IBEW Local 29 (retired), Pittsburgh
Michael F. Swintek, Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, Wexford

Hear from a diverse panel of experts who will discuss a philosophy of accident prevention that focuses on changing thought patterns and awareness of personal dangers and injury exposures.


The Gig Economy - Workers’ Compensation and Liability Consideration [Intermediate]

Thursday, June 7 — 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Moderated by: David B. Torrey, WCJ, WC Office of Adjudication, Pittsburgh
Joseph C. Huttemann, Esq., Martin Law, Philadelphia
Bradley Smith, Esq., Galfand Berger LLP, Philadelphia

The panel will provide a briefing on the trend towards workers laboring in the “gig economy” with a focus on employment status, safety and insurance implications.


Analytics: Injury Prevention and Safety [Intermediate/Advanced]

Thursday, June 7 — 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Moderated by: Bernadette Heckman, Heckman Group, Duncannon
Jim Harris, Genex Services, Tampa, Fla.
Kevin O’Sadnick, Safety National, St. Louis, Mo.
Peter Phelan, PA Dept. of L&I, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, Harrisburg

Discuss how employment, claims and injury data can be, and is, utilized to predict and/or prevent injuries and illness in the workplace.


As the Claim Turns – Part 2 [Basic]

Thursday, June 7 — 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Moderated by: Sandra Craig, WCJ, WC Office of Adjudication, Philadelphia
Katherine E. Bavoso, Esq., Thomas, Thomas & Hafer LLP, Harrisburg
Lawrence R. Chaban, Esq., AlpernSchubert PC, Pittsburgh
Harriet A. Gaither, CM Regent Insurance Company, New Cumberland
Hilbert W. Gavel, Berry Global, Hunlock Creek
Roy Patton, Presque Isle Rehabilitation Service LLC, Edinboro
Deborah J. Schwartz, Esq., Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Office of Chief Counsel, Harrisburg

Continuation of part 1.


Legislative Process [Intermediate]

Thursday, June 7 — 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Moderated by: Adrienne Breslin, Esq., Lackawanna Insurance Group, Wilkes-Barre
Jonathan C. Greer, Insurance Federation of PA Inc., Harrisburg
Alex Halper, PA Chamber of Business and Industry, Harrisburg
Thomas Previc, Pennsylvania Association for Justice, Harrisburg

Hear from experienced and respected “Hands on the Hill” who will provide a brief overview of the legislative process and discuss pending or recently enacted workers’ compensation legislation.


Kids' Chance of Pennsylvania…We are all about the Kids!

Friday, June 8 — 8 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Christian A. Davis, Esq., Weber Gallagher, Philadelphia/President, Kids’ Chance of PA

The mission of Kids’ Chance of Pennsylvania Inc. (Kids’ Chance of PA) is to provide scholarship grants for college and vocational education to children of Pennsylvania workers who have been killed or seriously injured in a work-related accident resulting in financial need. Join Chris Davis, Kids’ Chance President, to learn more about the organization and how you can help us spread our mission to reach more students in need of our scholarship.


Medical Marijuana [Basic}

Friday, June 8 — 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Rachel Levine, MD, PA Dept. of Health, Harrisburg

This session will bring attendees up to speed on the implementation of the Medical Marijuana Act, which became law April 17, 2016. The speaker will provide a general overview of the act, which is in the process of being fully implemented by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and will discuss the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board Report.


Workers’ Compensation Medical Marijuana - Legal/HR [Intermediate]

Friday, June 8 — 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Moderated by: Adrienne Breslin, Esq., Lackawanna Insurance Group, Wilkes-Barre
Jenifer D. Kaufman, Esq., Moritz Law Group LLC, Philadelphia
John C. Kutner, Esq., Weber Gallagher, Bedminster, N.J.
Scott M. Pollins, Esq., Pollins Law, Swarthmore
Mandy C. Rosenblum, Esq., Law Offices of Mandy C. Rosenblum LLC, Conshohocken
Paul H. Sighinolfi, Esq., Maine Workers’ Compensation Board, Augusta, Maine

Hear this panel of experts review and discuss the potential legal and employment implications of medical marijuana in the workplace, learn how other states have dealt with the issues and provide practical consideration for workers’ compensation claims.


60 Tips in 60 Minutes [Intermediate/Advanced]

Friday, June 8 — 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Moderated by: Lawrence R. Chaban, Esq., AlpernSchubert PC, Pittsburgh
Stuart W. Benson III, Esq., Law Offices of Stuart Benson, Gibsonia
James DeMartino, Total Rehabilitation Inc., Harrison City
Dean V. Dominick, Esq., KBG Injury Law, York
Tara Hooper, Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, Lancaster
John W. McTiernan, WCJ, WC Office of Adjudication, Brookville

You will get 60 tips in 60 minutes in this fast-paced presentation. Hear from leading participants in the WC system some of the most unique tips from their areas of expertise. There will be time for questions at the end.


Employment Law Interaction with Workers’ Compensation: A Case Study [Advanced]

Friday, June 8 — 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Robert J. Baker, Esq., The Chartwell Law Offices LLP, Harrisburg
Sean A. Casey, Esq., Casey Legal, Pittsburgh

This session will address proper and effective administration of a workers’ compensation claim in the context of issues raised by the ADA, FMLA, COBRA and the Unemployment Compensation Law.


Judges Unplugged [Intermediate]

Friday, June 8 — 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Moderated by: Barbara E. Holmes, Esq., Blaufeld, Schiller & Holmes LLP, Pittsburgh
Patrick J. Cummings, WCJ, WC Office of Adjudication, Scranton
Carmen F. Lugo, WCJ, WC Office of Adjudication, Erie
Nathan E. Pogirski, WCJ, WC Office of Adjudication, Reading
Audrey E. Timm, WCJ, WC Office of Adjudication, Philadelphia

Come and hear some of the most experienced workers’ compensation judges share their wisdom and offer their perspectives on the litigation and mediation process.


Workers’ Compensation Medical Marijuana - Medical [Intermediate]

Friday, June 8 — 1 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Moderated by: Ann Marie Loiseau, DeSales University, Center Valley
Michael Wolk, MD, Northeastern Rehabilitation Associates PC, Scranton
Mark Pew, Preferred Medical, Louisville, KY

To review the pharmacology and medical uses of marijuana.


Misclassification of Independent Contractors [Intermediate]

Friday, June 8 — 1 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Moderated by: Adrienne Breslin, Esq., Lackawanna Insurance Group, Wilkes-Barre
Josh Birk, Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, Lancaster
Michael C. Brown, Pond, Lehocky, Stern, Giordano, Philadelphia
Jason Woodruff, Lackawanna Insurance Group, Wilkes-Barre

Panelists will discuss proper classification of independent contractors vs. employees and consequences of inaccurate classification.


Subrogation - The Blame Game [Intermediate/Advanced]

Friday, June 8 — 1 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Moderated by: Daniel J. Siegel, Esq., Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel LLC, Havertown
Robert Carl, Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, Lancaster

Panelists will discuss the ins and outs of subrogation under Section 319 of the WC Act. This will include a discussion of third-party liability and employer-provided benefits. The pending Supreme Court case of The Hartford Group vs. Thrifty Car Rental will be discussed.