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Breakout Sessions

Basic WC Law – Part 1 [Basic]

Monday, June 6 — 9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Todd Seelig, Esq., WCJ, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Philadelphia

Previously offered as WC 101, Workers’ Compensation Judge Todd Seelig 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.


Working From Home: The Proactive and Reactive Issues [Intermediate/Advanced]

Monday, June 6 — 9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Moderated by: Lawrence Chaban, Esq., AlpernSchubert PC, Pittsburgh
Richard E. Bordonaro, Esq., Maren, Mioduszewski, Bordonaro, Wagner & Sinnott, LLC, Erie
Dara DeRoiste, PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Health and Safety, Harrisburg
Phillip Paulachok, Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, Lancaster

A detailed discussion of the issues that arise when employees work from home.  This includes course of employment, ergonomics, and abandonment vs. incidental activities.


Working Out the Kinks – Establishing your Ergonomics Program [Basic]

Monday, June 6 — 9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Moderated by:  Bernadette Heckman, Heckman Group, Duncannon
Bryan Lyons, The Hershey Company, Hershey
Richard P. Baldauf, BS, Conestoga Wood Specialties, East Earl
Shirley de Perrot, Select Physical Therapy, Ephrata

A basic overview of ergonomic principles and establishing a functional ergonomics program that is preventive in nature as opposed to reactive.  This session will discuss resources available through the Department of Labor & Industry.


WCAIS/EDI [Intermediate]

Monday, June 6 — 9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Harte Pricer, PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Harrisburg
Denise M. Allain, Markel Service Inc., Omaha, NE
David A. Cicola, WC Judge Manager, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Johnstown
Jason P. Iacona, AIC, Lackawanna Insurance Group, Wilkes-Barre
Cassie Troup, County Commissioners Assoc. of PA Insurance Programs, Harrisburg

Hear from claims adjusters, EDI experts, and the Bureau as they discuss how WCAIS and EDI can be used to move a claim forward.


Basic WC Law – Part 2 [Basic]

Monday, June 6 — 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Moderated by: Elizabeth A. Crum, Esq., HP Law, Philadelphia
Stephen S. Bloomburg, Esq., Post & Schell PC, Pittsburgh
Nariman P. Dastur, Esq., DeAngelis, Dastur & Associates PC, Pittsburgh
Marie Ehling, School Districts Insurance Consortium, North Wales
Todd Seelig, Esq., WCJ, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Philadelphia

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 Tuesday, June 7 at 1:00 p.m.) [Intermediate]

Monday, June 6 — 11:00 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
Steven Minnich, Esq., WCJ, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Pittsburgh
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.


Opioids [Basic]

Monday, June 6 — 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Moderated by: Donna Sponaugle, BS/ED, RN, COHN-S, CPCH, The Hershey Company, Y&S Candies, Lancaster
Dr. Lucian Bednarz, MD, Northeastern Rehabilitation Associates, Scranton

In this session, participants will review and discuss best practices and trends in the management of pain with opioids and strategies to improve outcomes.


Health & Safety/Audits [Basic]

Monday, June 6 — 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Moderated by: Michelle Muncie, PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Health & Safety, Harrisburg
John Bair, PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Health & Safety, Harrisburg
Jeffrey Burd, PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Health & Safety, Harrisburg
Eric Reiner, PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Health & Safety, Harrisburg
Joseph Zinobile, PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Health & Safety, Harrisburg

Learn about the requirements for Certified Workplace Safety Committees, the typical reasons safety committees fail audits, and tips to achieve compliance.


Judges Unplugged: Adjudication – The New Normal [Intermediate]

Monday, June 6 — 1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Moderated by: Katherine E. Bavoso, Esq., Cipriani & Werner, Lemoyne 
David A. Cicola, Esq., WC Judge Manager, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Johnstown
Robert J. Goduto, Esq., WC Judge Manager, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Harrisburg
Holly San Angelo, Esq., WC Judge Manager, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Philadelphia
Karen A. Wertheimer, Esq., JD, WC Judge Manager, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Bristol

Listen and learn as the four Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication Judge Managers instruct attendees about the transition to the virtual/in-person adjudication and mediation processes. Best practices, modified WCJ procedures, and pitfalls will be shared and discussed.


As the Claim Turns – Part 1 [Basic]

Monday, June 6 — 1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Moderated by: Cathleen A. Sabatino, Esq., WCJ, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Allentown
Frank J. Comparato, III, Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, Lancaster
Neil T. Dombrowski, Esq., The Dombrowski Group, Paoli
Stephanie A. Haggerty, BS, Clarion Forest VNA, Clarion
Joseph C. Huttemann, Esq., Martin Law, Philadelphia    
Jaclyn Day, Esq., Department of Labor and Industry, Office of Chief Counsel, Pittsburgh

This year’s session will focus on a WC claim involving independent contractors vs. employees from start to finish.


See Past Your Pain [Intermediate]

Monday, June 6 — 1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Moderated by: Lawrence Chaban, Esq., AlpernSchubert P.C., Pittsburgh
Gerry Stanley, MD, Harvard Med Tech, Las Vegas, NV

An energetic discussion about workplace injuries as traumatic events with a focus on the technology of virtual reality and the bio-psycho-social approach to patients, with a specific focus on decreasing claims volatility, claims cost, and returning injured workers back to work.


Out and About [Intermediate/Advanced]

Monday, June 6 — 1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Moderated by: Shawn C. Gooden, Esq., Thomas, Thomas & Hafer LLP, Camp Hill
Dennis R. Kergick, Jr., Esq., Schmidt Kramer PC, Harrisburg

This session will address the compensability of injuries that occur away from the employer’s place of business.


Avoiding Litigation [Intermediate]

Monday, June 6 — 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Moderated by: Linda G. Millas, J.P. Mascaro & Sons, Audubon
Gregory J. Fischer, Esq., Carpenter, McCadden & Lane LLP, Wexford
Michael V. Quatrini, Esq., Quatrini Rafferty Law, Pittsburgh
Laurie Heagy, East Penn Manufacturing/Deka Batteries, Lyon Station

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


As the Claim Turns–Part 2 [Basic]

Monday, June 6 — 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Moderated by: Cathleen A. Sabatino, Esq., WCJ, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Allentown
Frank J. Comparato, III, Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, Lancaster
Neil T. Dombrowski, Esq., The Dombrowski Group, Paoli
Stephanie A. Haggerty, Clarion Forest VNA, Clarion
Joseph C. Huttemann, Esq., Martin Law, Philadelphia    
Jaclyn Day, Esq., Department of Labor & Industry, Office of Chief Counsel, Pittsburgh

This year’s session will focus on a WC claim involving independent contractors vs. employees from start to finish.


Medical Marijuana: Impact on Employers, Workers, and Workers’ Compensation [Basic/Intermediate]

Monday, June 6 — 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Moderated by: Donna K. Sponaugle, BS/ED, RN, COHN-S, CPCH, The Hershey Company Y&S Candies, Lancaster
Jenifer D. Kaufman, Esq., Kaufman Workers’ Compensation Law, Abington
John C. Kutner, Esq., Weber Gallagher, Bedminster, NJ
Scott M. Pollins, Esq., Pollins Law Firm, Wayne
Mandy C. Rosenblum, Esq., Mandy C. Rosenblum LLC, Bryn Mawr
Paul H. Sighinolfi, BA, MS, JD, Ametros, Wilmington, MA

A discussion of workers’ rights to receive medical marijuana, employer responsibilities, and the interaction between WC and employment practices, including Drug Free Workplace and safety.


Nurse Case Management – Use of Disability Managers and Best Practices [Intermediate]

Monday, June 6 — 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Moderated by: Ann Marie Loiseau, RN, BSN, MS, CCM, DeSales University, Center Valley
Barbara E. Holmes, Esq., Blaufeld, Schiller & Holmes LLP, Pittsburgh    
Melissa S. Jackson, Esq., ​Partner, Cipriani & Werner, Pittsburgh
Betsy McDade, RN, Allegiant Managed Care, Pittsburgh

This session addresses a crucial, but unregulated, aspect of workers’ compensation claims – the role of nurse case and disability management.  The panel will discuss the role of nurse case and other disability managers, the ethics attendant to the process of nurse case and disability management and suggest best practices for such professionals.


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

Tuesday, June 7 — 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Elizabeth A Crum, HP Law, Philadelphia / President, Kid’s 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. For the 2021-22 school year, Kid’s Chance has granted $120,250 to 40 deserving students.  Additionally, since 1997 we have awarded over 1,000 scholarships totaling over $2.5 million. Join Liz Crum, 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.


Employers Unplugged [Basic]

Tuesday, June 7 — 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Moderated by: Gregory J. Fischer, Esq., Carpenter, McCadden & Lane LLP, Wexford
Richard P. Baldauf, BS, Conestoga Wood Specialties, East Earl
Luke Lazar, Flagger Force, Hummelstown
Betsy G. Benner, Garnet Auto Group, West Chester

These experienced large, medium and small employers will address evolving 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.


COVID-19 - Issues Facing Employees and Employers [Advanced]

Tuesday, June 7 — 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Moderated by: Ann Marie Loiseau, RN, BSN, MS, CCM, DeSales University, Center Valley
Bradley R. Andreen, Esq., Rulis-Bochicchio LLC, Pittsburgh
Matthew L. Wilson, Esq., Martin Law, Philadelphia
Michael Wolk, MD, Northeast Rehabilitation Associates, Scranton
Shelby Hetrick, East Penn Manufacturing/Deka Batteries, Lyon Station

This session explores a variety of issues related to COVID-19 specifically. We will address issues faced by employers navigating a possible compensable COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment, return to work considerations.  Additional issues will include implications associated with prevention & mitigation efforts, burden of proof facing the employee, discovery issues, and legislation efforts to create a presumption of causal relationship.


Let’s Make a Deal: Mediation of Disputes in the PA WC System [Intermediate]

Tuesday, June 7 — 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

John Dogum, Esq., Martin Law, Philadelphia
John W. McTiernan, Esq., WCJ, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Brookville
Mark L. Mazzanti, Esq., Del Collo and Mazzanti LLP, Paoli

Learn from very experienced practitioners and a judge how cases are mediated and resolved under the PA WC Act.  Understand the benefits of compromising for all parties.


The National Commission on Workmen’s Compensation Report, 1972: Background and Modern Lessons [Intermediate]

Tuesday, June 7 — 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Moderated by: David B. Torrey, Esq., WCJ, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Pittsburgh
Thomas C. Baumann, Esq., Abes-Baumann PC, Pittsburgh
R. Burke McLemore, Jr., Esq., Thomas, Thomas & Hafer LLP, Harrisburg

This session reviews, analyzes, and debates issues surrounding the momentous 1972 federal government Report of the National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws.  The Commission, in its Report, set forth nineteen essential recommendations for a properly functioning law.  The presentation features a video recording of Commission members discussing their efforts a half-century before, a review of the nineteen recommendations, and how Pennsylvania has or has not complied.  The speakers will identify the relevant current laws on topics about which the reformers were so concerned, and they will try to ascertain whether the policy concerns and recommendations remain cogent in the present day.


Employment Law Interaction with WC: A Case Study [Advanced]

Tuesday, June 7 — 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Robert J. Baker, Esq., The Chartwell Law Offices, LLP, Harrisburg
Michael McGurrin, Esq., Galfand Berger LLP, Philadelphia

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


Workers’ Compensation Game Show [Intermediate]

Tuesday, June 7 — 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Edward R. Carpenter Jr., Esq., Carpenter, McCadden & Lane LLP, Media
Christopher A. DiMeo, Esq., Carpenter, McCadden & Lane LLP, Media
John W. McTiernan, Esq., WCJ, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Brookville
Marla A. Joseph, Esq., Law Office of Marla A. Joseph, LLC, Jenkintown

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


Return to Work Facilitation Through Physical Therapy and Functional Treatment Planning [Intermediate]

Tuesday, June 7 — 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Moderated by: Donna Sponaugle, BS/ED, RN, COHN-S, CPCH, The Hershey Company, Y&S Candies, Lancaster
Richard P. Baldauf, BS, Conestoga Wood Specialties, East Earl
Cynthia Boff, LPT, NovaCare Rehabilitation, Aliquippa
David Raptosh, OTR/L, Select Medical Therapy/NovaCare Rehabilitation, Mechanicsburg

A panel of experts will explore the steps involved in the development and implementation of a functional treatment plan for work injuries and how it can expedite return to work.


Fee Review/UR [Basic]

Tuesday, June 7 — 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Moderated by: Barry Keller, Medical Fee Review Hearing Officer, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Harrisburg
Patrick M. Donan, Esq., BA, JD, Steiner, Segal, Muller & Donan, Philadelphia
Shawn C. Gooden, Esq., Thomas, Thomas & Hafer LLP, Camp Hill

This session acquaints attendees with the basics of the Pennsylvania system of medical cost containment. It will challenge the more seasoned veteran with the discussion of the interplay between utilization review and fee review.  The presenters will also provide an update with regard to the most recent developments in this area of the system, particularly those affecting dispute resolution.


Legal Updates [Repeat] [Intermediate]

Tuesday, June 7 — 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Moderated by: Barbara L. Hollenbach, Esq., Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, Allentown
Barbara E. Holmes, Esq., Blaufeld, Schiller & Holmes LLP, Pittsburgh
Steven Minnich, Esq., WCJ, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Pittsburgh
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.


Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout in the Pandemic Era [Basic]

Tuesday, June 7 — 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Moderated by: Ann Marie Loiseau, RN, BSN, MS, CCM, DeSales University, Center Valley
Karen Thomas, RN, MSN, CCM, CorVel Corporation, Jeffersonton VA

Mental health has taken center stage, as people deal with the stresses of illness, death, civil unrest, isolation and so many unknowns. Depression, anxiety, crippling fear and other mental health issues have skyrocketed among workers, and it’s crucial that these challenges are not ignored. Critical incidence stress debriefing has been around more than a decade but has re-emerged as a tool to help employees who have witnessed a catastrophic or traumatic event develop the coping mechanisms needed to return to work as quickly as possible. The program was recently expanded to address COVID-19 traumatic stress. This case study will demonstrate how a city in Southern California partnered with its TPA to implement a critical incidence and COVID-19 traumatic stress debriefing program for city employees.


Legislative Process [Intermediate]

Tuesday, June 7 — 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Moderated by: Adrienne Breslin, Esq., Lackawanna Insurance Group, Wilkes-Barre
Jonathan C. Greer, Insurance Federation of PA Inc., Harrisburg
Alexandra D’Angola Fetzko, BA, PA 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.


WCAIS – Updates and Tips [Basic]

Tuesday, June 7 — 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Alfonso Frioni, Jr., Esq., Chairman, PA WC Appeal Board, Pittsburgh
Karla Henneman, PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Harrisburg
Stevi Leech, PA WC Office of Adjudication, Johnstown

WCAIS is being modernized! Hear about all the changes in WCAIS, from new technology, new screens, and new process flows.  Al Frioni, Chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, will be sharing news about significant changes to the Appeal Board screens.  Experts from BWC and Office of Adjudication will provide examples of the new and upcoming changes for all WCAIS users.  They will also be sharing quick tips and tricks for navigating effectively in WCAIS.