Conference Schedule

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Golf Tournamentsponsored by MASI

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Exhibitors Set Up

11:00 AM – 6:30 PM

General Registration

12:45 PM – 2:45 PM

“Mystery Claims Theater” for Workers’ Compensation Professionals

Moderator:  Sherell Wilson, BBA, CWCP, Senior Workers’ Compensation Claims Consultant
IL, KY, MS, NY, TX, Corporate Workers’ Compensation – Kelly Services
Jennifer Montgomery Prewitt, Claims Supervisors – CorVel Corporation
Cherry Roberts, RN CCM CNLCP, Clinical Director – Amfed
Dave Peterson – Funderburg, Sessums & Peterson, PLLC
Peter Corson – Upshaw, Williams, Biggers & Beckham, LLP

So you think your claim is easy?  Every now and then, a case has multiple twists and evolving facts which turn an easy “open and shut claim” turn into a nightmare.  In this fun and interactive format, see how evolving issues in a claim can twist out of control as issues such as pre-existing conditions, intervening incidents, legal twists, and hidden facts evolve during the life of a claim.  Claims professionals, the medical community, attorneys and employers will all learn and enjoy this informative and entertaining session.

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM


3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Medical Focus on Returning Injured Workers to Work

Dr. Trevor Pickering – MS Sports Medicine, Specializing in Knees and Hips
Dr.  Brett Casey – Gulf Coast Orthopedics, Specializing in Shoulders

Dr. Pickering and Dr. Casey will explain the treatment options available for Injured workers dealing with shoulder injuries and knee/hip injuries and will focus on how to return those workers back to productive employment.

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM


Thursday, April 19, 2018

7:45 AM – 5:00 PM

Registration & Information Desks Open

7:30 AM – 7:45 AM

Faith Based Claims Association Breakfast—Everyone is invited!
Go through buffet set up for this session and join the session.

7:45 AM – 8:45 AM

Faith Based Leadership: “The Show Must Go On”

Nicole Marquez – Madison, MS 
After a paralyzing fall from the roof of a six story building in New York while pursuing her dream of being a professional dancer, Nicole faced her toughest challenge. This presentation is about finding the will to keep going despite unexpected obstacles. Nicole talks about finding passion in your work and succeeding in the face of defeat. She tells her story about persevering despite seemingly insurmountable odds. When doctors told her she would never walk, much less dance, she told them “no disrespect, but my situation is out of your hands.” She will share her story about her own commitment to regain the use of her body to walk and dance again and the faith, motivation and perseverance she had to make that happen. She will empower her audiences to overcome their own obstacles and to find those opportunities every day to bless other people, as lives can be saved with just one encounter.

7:45 AM – 8:45 AM

Continental Breakfast served in the Exhibit Hall

7:45 AM – 5:15 PM

Exhibit Hall Open
NOTE—Exhibit Hall to remain open all day and not close during lunch.

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM

State of Mississippi Workers’ Compensations & Awards

Mark Formby, Chairman, Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission
A. Kenneth G. Perry Professionalism Award
B. Sam Cox Spirit Award
C. Kid’s Chance of Mississippi

9:30 AM – 10-30 AM

What in the World is Going on With Workers’ Compensation?

A review of significant issues affecting workers’ compensation on a national level.

Honorable David Langham, Deputy Chief Judge of Compensation Claims for the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims
Judge Langham will share his insight regarding developments from around the nation about what is happening in the world of workers’ compensation and how those changes might impact what we should be doing in Mississippi. National developments regarding marijuana and its implications in the fight against opioid abuse, constitutional challenges in several different States, the re-emergence of opt-out as an option to consider, and the latest talk about a single Federal Workers’ Compensation Law are all just a part of the picture to be reviewed and analyzed.

10:30 AM – 11:00 AM


11:00 AM – 12:00PM

Administrative Judges Define What is Important

MWCC Administrative Judges
Honorable Robert J. Arnold, III
Honorable Melba Dixon
Honorable Tammy Harthcock
Honorable Deneise Turner Lott
Honorable Virginia Mounger
Honorable Linda Thompson
Honorable Cindy Wilson
Each Administrative Judge evaluates cases differently, and those differences impact the final outcome on cases which are tried to a conclusion.  By placing different weight on opinion evidence and assigning a varying level of importance to other testimony and evidence, outcomes vary in cases which might otherwise be expected to have similar results.  Each Administrative Judge will explain what he or she thinks is important in making a decision and thereby help define for participants the most important evidence to offer in a case.

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Vendor Lunch served in Exhibit Hall.
Vendors will also be invited to attend the regular lunch with attendees if they prefer.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Conference Lunch at 3 onsite restaurants.

1:00 PM – 1:55 PM

2 Optional Programs

1. Return to Work—Really?? The Ins and Outs of How Early Vocational Rehabilitation Really Produces Results!

Moderator: Andy Sweat – Wise Carter, Jackson, MS
Bruce Brawner – Brawner and Associates, Madison, MS
Pete Mills – Rehabilitation, Inc., Jackson, MS
Greg Baldwin, Director of Human Resources – Baptist Health Systems, Jackson, MS
Vocational Rehabilitation in the workers’ compensation setting is much more than hiring a professional to offer expert testimony on “Loss of Access” to jobs. When properly utilized, particularly very early in the life of a claim, vocational rehabilitation professionals can facilitate return to work, assist with appropriate job modifications to accommodate an injured workers’ impairment, and result in an improved outcome for both the injured worker and the employer and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

2. Preventive Measures: Pre-Employment and Post-Offer Testing to Help Reduce Injuries in the Workplace

Jerry Hanke, National Training Director – WorkSTEPS, Austin, TX
Interviewing and reading through an applicant’s resume might be an outdated way of screening potential employees. Recent research shows that 78% of resumes have misleading or false information about the applicant and there is no way to determine if the potential employee is capable of performing a job safely. This trend has created the need for companies to perform pre-employment, post-offer functional testing that can help employers gather accurate data as to whether the candidate can safely perform the essential functions of the position he or she has been offered. This test is administered after an official offer of employment has been made, but before the candidate officially begins work in the capacity of his or her new position. A Pre-Employment Post-Offer test may include the following components:

  • Medical history review with a clinician
  • A series of comprehensive medical measurements
  • Strength measures
  • Dynamic lifting and progressive lifting sequence
  • Cardiovascular measures
  • Essential job functions testing demonstrating the capability to safely perform the essential functions of his or her job.
    The information gathered through the post offer employment testing will document and quantify pre-existing conditions and cumulative traumas, and is invaluable when used as a baseline for comparison should there ever be an injury and/or rehabilitation necessary.
    Attendees will learn about a critical employer need – to create a medically safe, legally compliant, scientific and objective means of matching a worker’s functional capabilities with the essential functions of the job to reduce and prevent workplace injuries. We will also discuss the EEOC’s employment testing guidelines and distinguish between the stages of functional testing. Finally, we will discuss the importance of a thorough job analysis and correct and precise job descriptions.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Crazy Talk: Understanding and Treating Mental Health in the Injured Worker

Geralyn Datz, PhD
Jennifer Trihoulis, MD
Until recently, mention of mental health in workers compensation was ignored, stigmatized or thought to be an unnecessary and often misunderstood expense. “Black hole” providers, who offered never-ending and expensive mental health treatment, with no patient recovery over time, perpetuated these problems. Management of mental health is now understood to be a key aspect in claims management. Mental health in workers’ compensation covers mood disorders, anxiety disorders, traumatic responses, and stress-related disorders. Mental health issues also come into play for injured workers with medical problems, especially chronic pain. Often injuries start as a medical problem, but a person’s ability to cope and how they perceive their illness, can often quickly transform a medical claim into having a psychological component. Further, a poor outcome is more likely to be due to psychosocial issues, rather than medical issues. No matter the jurisdiction or claim, studies have shown that the presence of a mental health condition predicts a longer duration of work absence.
A significant focus on biopsychosocial treatment, or treatment of the “whole person”, has occurred within the last few years in workers compensation. There is now greater acceptance of mental health claims, and directives from major carriers to address this need. This is due to the recognition that treatment of mental health issues is paramount to full recovery. In addition, when mental health issues are identified and contained, this can facilitate worker satisfaction, claim closure and cost savings. This panel will discuss the key aspects of mental health management in work injury. Discussion of early identification, stigma, and assessment of psychological distress will occur. Attendees will be educated on symptoms of common mental health diagnosis, common misinterpretations, and the use evidence based treatment to reduce symptoms. Discussion of the key role of the adjuster, and integrating mental health into return to work plans, will also occur.

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM


3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Case Law Update from the Mississippi Court of Appeals

Moderator: Honorable Deneise Lott – MWCC Administrative Judge
Honorable Donna M. Barnes, Judge – Mississippi Court of Appeals
Honorable Latrice A. J. Westbrooks, Judge – Mississippi Court of Appeals
Honorable Sean Tindell, Judge – Mississippi Court of Appeals
In a dynamic and informative format, three Judges from the Mississippi Court of Appeals will discuss and dissect recent workers’ compensation opinions from that Court and the Mississippi Supreme Court. Moderated by Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Administrative Judge Deneise Lott, the panel will offer insight into the Court’s reasoning behind these very important decisions.

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM


Friday, April 20, 2018

Exhibit hall to remain open through the break Friday morning at 10:15 AM.

8:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Registration & Information Desks Open

7:30 AM – 7:45 AM

WC Section Breakfast
Go through buffet set up for this session and join the session.

7:45 AM – 8:45 AM

Ethics – 50 Questions in 50 minutes–Tips for Workers’ Compensation Professional to use the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Fee Schedule, Comply with HIPPA, Utilize the Opioid Guidelines, and Understand the 2018 Changes to the General and Procedural Rules of the MWCC

Moderator: Alison Goodman – Alison Ketner Goodman Law Firm; Chair – Workers’ Compensation Section, The Mississippi Bar
Megan Garrott – Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission
Lori Graham – Ergon, Inc.
Jonathan Tabor – Tabor Law Firm, PA
This fast paced presentation by the members of the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Mississippi Bar will be the perfect way to start the day. Numerous changes have occurred in the way things work at the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission, and this session will highlight those changes and provide valuable tips for navigating the new landscape.

7:45 AM – 8:45 AM

Continental Breakfast

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM


Chairman Formby 
A.Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Hall of Fame 
B. Chairman’s Award for Business Excellence (CABE) with 10 minute summary of the recipient’s program leading to the award 
C. Injured Worker’s Return and Recovery Award  (R&R) with 10 minute summary of how the team worked together to achieve a successful recovery

9:30 AM – 10:00 AM



The Importance of Workers’ Compensation to Mississippi’s Economy

Governor Phil Bryant
Workers’ compensation is significant to the economy of any State for many reasons. The system impacts the quality of life for millions of people as well as the payment of billions of dollars. A poorly functioning system will drive away new business for the State and impair the ability of employers and workers’ compensation insurers to remain invested in the State, the net result of which costs Mississippians thousands of jobs which in turn affects the ability of the State to pay for other needed services. A properly functioning system is a priority of everyone involved, and this presentation will outline details of what is required of everyone within the workers’ compensation community to improve Mississippi’s economy.

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Exhibit Hall closes

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM



John Dowdy, Director – Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics

The prescription epidemic in Mississippi has led the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics to take a new approach in its battle to control the problem. Physicians are now being targeted in criminal investigations tied to prescribing habits. A prescriber might be criminally liable if a patient develops an addiction to opioids, or even dies from an overdose, and this will dramatically affect how prescribers choose to exercise their best medical judgment. The program is not without controversy, but the fact that heroin overdose deaths now outnumber those of gun homicides has led to a need for a stunning new approach.

12:00 PM

Door prizes