2020 DMEC Virtual Annual Conference

Agenda

Based on member feedback, we know the coronavirus and its implications for employers is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and as such, we will be focusing the 2020 DMEC Virtual Annual Conference around the theme of “COVID-19: The Post-Pandemic Workforce”.

Over the course of the four days, our expert speakers will guide you through navigating the new legal landscape, providing support to your workforce, returning employees to the workplace, and considerations for operating in the post-pandemic future.

We will also be utilizing a combination of live video platforms to create dynamic interaction with speakers, virtual networking for attendees, and opportunities to chat with and learn more about various vendor solutions in the marketplace.

Register Today

We are offering a single registration option that allows access to all live events and networking as well as on-demand access to the session recordings post-event. Reserve your spot today!

DMEC members receive discounted pricing for the event. Not sure if your organization is a member? Use our online form to verify membership and sign up as an individual under your company’s membership.

COVID-19: The Post Pandemic Workforce

Below is the schedule for the 2020 DMEC Virtual Annual Conference.

Wednesday, Aug. 5 | 11:00 am-5:30 pm ET

Returning Employees to the Workplace

11:00-11:15 am – Welcome & Opening Remarks

Presenters:
Kevin Curry, Board Chairman, DMEC
Terri L. Rhodes, Chief Executive Officer, DMEC

11:15 am-12:15 pm – Masked & Confused: Welcoming Back Your Workforce

We’re all looking for that “new normal” at work, but how do we get there? Safety, behavioral, and productivity issues are lying in wait as we travel this new path. Join us for a roadmap showing you how to get your workplace and workforce ready, what new work rules to have in place, and what to expect once the employees start coming back to the workplace. Along the road, you’ll receive practical tips and lessons from two employers who have already started the journey — a retailer and a pharmaceutical company — who have employees in office, field, and customer-facing positions. They’ll discuss how they have been managing their employees throughout the pandemic and what they will be doing going forward. We’ll also provide guidance on the legal “do’s” and “don’ts”. Rev up your engines, and let’s get going!

Panelists:
Marti Cardi, JD, Vice President – Product Compliance, Matrix Absence Management
Bindia Onik, SHRM, Sr. Benefits Manager, AbbVie
Erin Penland, CEBS, Sr. Benefits Specialist, Designer Brands

Moderators:
Christine Hinnerichs, PHR – Total Absence Management Account Manager, The Partners Group
Seth Turner, MBA, Chief Strategy Officer, AbsenceSoft

12:15-12:25 pm – Comfort Break
12:25-1:25 pm – From Sweatpants to Suits, Scrubs, or Safety Glasses: Preparing Your Workforce to Return to Work

Navigating a safe return to work post pandemic has proven to be a daunting task for many organizations. From signage to monitoring apps, employers are racing to develop strategies that protect their workforce while supporting reopening efforts. Join us to hear how employers from a variety of industries are helping their employees safely return to work in this new environment. What steps have they taken, what have they learned, what has surprised them, and what must employers consider from the ADA and the FMLA perspectives? Walk away with insight and helpful tips on how to get your employees back to work safely.

Presenters:
John Hammond, System Director, Human Resources, Norton Healthcare, Inc
Abbie Jackson, PHR, SHRM-CP, HR/Payroll Coordinator, Wausau Window and Wall Systems
Jeff Sheckley, Assistant Vice President, Global Business Resiliency, Unum

Moderator:
Derek Stern, Health & Productivity Director, Unum

1:25-2:00 pm – Lunch Break & Roundtable Discussions

During the lunch break, you can take advantage of video roundtable discussions related to the topics featured in the day’s session.

  • Roundtable Discussion: Accommodations During a Pandemic
  • Roundtable Discussion: Office Design & Social Distancing
  • Roundtable Discussion: Physical/Mental Health Monitoring & Programs
  • Roundtable Discussion: Safety Measures & Equipment
2:00-3:00 pm – The New Normal: Accommodations in the Workplace

All employers have been thrown for a loop by COVID-19. The pandemic has forced companies to rethink their approach to time off, return to work and their absence culture strategy as a whole. During this challenging time, employers have been accommodating, but it is important to distinguish between an accommodating culture and an ADA accommodation. This session will focus on EEOC accommodation guidance during the pandemic and the importance of having a formalized process involving documentation. We will offer best practices on an interactive accommodations programs that account for a pandemic-affected workforce.

Presenters:
Tracie DeFreitas, MS, CLMS, Lead Consultant/ADA Specialist, Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
Karen English, CPCU, ARM, MBA, Partner, Spring Consulting Group
Teri Weber, ACI , Senior Vice President, Spring Consulting Group

3:00-3:10 pm – Comfort Break
3:10-4:10 pm – A Panel Discussion of Suicide Awareness & Impacts in the COVID-19 World

The largest number of suicides occur in the working age population, and the most alarming, the CDC reported in their June 2018 study that 54% of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition. The COVID-19 pandemic and related life changes and stressors has negatively affected mental health which may transfer to longer term psychological stress. This presents a clear motivation for workplace benefit and HR managers to review their mental health processes, resources, and mental health benefits to support their employees and decrease presenteeism over time. In this session, a panel of seasoned professionals including a mental health professional, benefit manager, and claims professionals will discuss a holistic strategy and approach to suicide management and response.

Panelists:
Alison Baker, PhD, Vice President & Medical Director, Prudential
Gail Ballin, VP, Disability Claims, Prudential
Kenneth Hallden, VP, Disability Claims, Prudential
Kristin Tugman, PhD, MS, CRC, LPC, Vice President, Health & Productivity Analytics and Consulting Practice, Prudential

4:10-4:30 pm – Comfort Break
4:30-5:30 pm – Happy Hour

Wednesday, Aug. 12 | 11:00 am-5:30 pm ET

Supporting Your Workforce

11:00-11:15 am – Opening Announcements

Presenter:
Kristin Jones, CLMS, PHR, SHRM-CP, Education Manager, DMEC

11:15 am-12:15 pm – Supporting Employee Well-Being in Uncertain Times

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has transformed work and life, creating new challenges for employees and employers. Understanding how to improve employee well-being is key to helping employees navigate this new reality. Employees are seeking out flexible solutions to help with their increased blending of their work and personal lives, which creates a challenge and opportunity for employers. To address employee stress and burn-out, employers who view well-being through a holistic model and offer a mix of benefits supporting physical, mental, financial, and social health are better positioned to foster a more productive work environment for employees. This session will provide helpful tips on how to identify, mitigate, and support employees who are experiencing stress and burnout on the job and increase holistic well-being, and therefore productivity, in your organization.

Presenters:
Cynthia F. Coverson, Senior Vice President and Head of Regional Business, MetLife
Tracey Ferstler, Assistant Vice President, Head of Return to Health, MetLife
William S. Shaw, PhD, Associate Professor and Chief, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

12:15-12:25 pm – Comfort Break
12:25-1:25 pm – From Bad to Worse: The Impact of Behavioral Health Conditions on Today’s Workplace

Behavioral health — mental health and substance abuse — conditions have been in the spotlight for the last few years as diseases of despair have become more prevalent. Research confirms that behavioral health conditions also have a serious impact on U.S. workplaces, now with the COVID-19 pandemic making a bad situation worse. Recent evidence indicates increases in anxiety, depression, PTSD, and alcohol use conditions which are all likely to have a significant impact on the workplace, both during government-sanctioned safer at home orders and following businesses reopening. During this session, we’ll explore the wide-ranging effects behavioral health issues have on your organization and effective strategies you can implement to reduce employee presenteeism and absenteeism related to them.

Presenters:
Dan Jolivet, Workplace Possibilities Practice Consultant, The Standard
Rene McDonald, Product and Service Manager, The Standard

1:25-2:00 pm – Lunch Break & Roundtable Discussions

During the lunch break, you can take advantage of video roundtable discussions related to the topics featured in the day’s session.

  • Roundtable Discussion: Behavioral Health Issues & Solutions
  • Roundtable Discussion: Employee Assistance Programs & Additional Services
  • Roundtable Discussion: Leadership & Talent Development
  • Roundtable Discussion: Women in the Workplace
  • Roundtable Discussion: Hospital System Industry Groups
2:00-3:00 pm – COVID-19: The Pandemic’s Impact on Women in the Workplace

Pressure and stress from work responsibilities and home obligations isn’t new for anyone in the workplace, men or women. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of workers working remotely and has further upset an already precarious work-life balance. The most consistent family characteristic predicting work-life imbalance is being a parent or family caregiver. The most consistent work characteristic predicting work-life imbalance is hours worked. Many women are often responsible for ensuring the home is taken care of and are the primary caretakers of children or aging parents. Now with children at home, women are expressing increased stress and strain with home schooling, parenting, and trying to maintain their careers. What will the additional impact be if schools do not reopen in the fall? We will explore the struggle of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and discuss what employers can do to help lessen this burden. What does the future of women in the workplace look like in the wake of COVID-19?

Presenters:
Adam Seidner, MD, Chief Medical Officer, The Hartford
Adele Spallone, VP, Clinical Operations, The Hartford

Moderator:
Kimberly Mashburn, RN, CCWS, National Accounts Practice Lead, The Hartford

3:00-3:10 pm – Comfort Break
3:10-4:10 pm – Ask the Experts: Women in the Workplace

Submit your most challenging questions to our panel of distinguished absence and leave management experts. You provide the uncensored questions, and they provide the unfiltered answers. This interactive discussion between attendees and panelists allows audience members to have their “real-world” questions answered by the specialists. Come prepared with your toughest questions and the most perplexing challenges faced by your company. And best of all, there will be no consulting fees incurred!

Panelists:
Linda Croushore, Sr. Director of Disability Services, WorkPartners
Kim Rudeen, AVP, Absence & Statutory Group Product Solutions, Lincoln Financial Group
Adele Spallone, VP, Clinical Operations, The Hartford

Moderator:
Kristin Jones, CLMS, PHR, SHRM-CP, Education Manager, DMEC

4:10-5:30 pm – Happy Hour

Wednesday, Aug. 19 | 11:00 am-5:30 pm ET

The Legal Landscape

11:00-11:15 am – Opening Announcements

Presenter:
Kristin Jones, CLMS, PHR, SHRM-CP, Education Manager, DMEC

11:15 am-12:45 pm – (What a) Year In Review!

In this 90-minute session, our experts will review the many leave and accommodation laws and court cases that have been adopted or modified as a result of COVID-19 as well as the many other laws that are implicated in the emerging post-pandemic world. This session will review the new federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provides temporary federal paid sick leave and paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for certain COVID-19 related reasons. We’ll also discuss state, city, and county paid leave laws providing benefits for leaves related to COVID-19, public health emergencies, and/or quarantine, and discuss common theses among the laws, executive orders, and agency guidance relating to reopening the workforce. And finally, we’ll discuss emerging and expected employee lawsuits in the wake of COVID-19.

Presenters:
Megan Holstein, JD, SVP of Absence and Claims Product, FINEOS
Marjory Robertson, JD, AVP & Senior Counsel, Sun Life Financial

12:45-1:15 pm – Lunch Break & Roundtable Discussions

During the lunch break, you can take advantage of video roundtable discussions related to the topics featured in the day’s session.

  • Roundtable Discussion: ADA
  • Roundtable Discussion: Emergency & Updated State Laws (Midwest)
  • Roundtable Discussion: Emergency & Updated State Laws (Northeast)
  • Roundtable Discussion: Emergency & Updated State Laws (South)
  • Roundtable Discussion: Emergency & Updated State Laws (West)
  • Roundtable Discussion: Employer Policy Considerations
  • Roundtable Discussion: FFCRA & FMLA
1:15-2:15 pm – Did We Set a Precedent During COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted employers worldwide to make hurried, necessary changes to their business operations. Employees were broadly affected; for example, Gallup found that in early April, 62% of employed Americans worked from home during the crisis, compared to less than 25% a couple of years ago. What precedents did employers set during this extraordinary time, and how could those precedents affect the way we work, think about benefits, and make accommodations in the future? Must employers continue with practices established during the pandemic? If they don’t, what are some possible risks? During this session, we’ll explore these questions and best practices for moving forward.

Presenters:
Jennifer Lyons, Marketing Manager, Thought Leadership, Guardian Life
James Venable, JD, SPHR, Vice President Employment Law, Absence & Accommodation Compliance, ReedGroup

2:15-2:25 pm – Comfort Break
2:25-3:25 pm – The Post-Pandemic Workplace: Adjusting to the New Normal

We’ve all seen firsthand how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted business. As we begin to move back to the office, what actions must we take, as employers and benefits administrators, to support employees and restore business while navigating this ‘New Normal’?

ClaimVantage and Matrix Absence Management have undertaken a research study to examine the impact the pandemic has had on both employers’ and employees’ attitudes and concerns about returning to the workplace, and policy changes being considered in the wake of the pandemic. Considering both perspectives, this session will share findings from the research, outlining key areas of focus and considerations employers and benefits administrators should take as we all work together to adjust to the post-pandemic workplace.

Presenters:
Angie Brown, Absence Practice Leader, Absence Specialist, ClaimVantage, Inc
Chris Smith, AVP, ADA Strategy & Operations and Intake/Customer Service, Matrix Absence Management

3:25-3:35 pm – Comfort Break
3:35-4:20 pm – Ask the Experts: The Legal Landscape

Submit your most challenging questions to our panel of distinguished absence and leave management experts. You provide the uncensored questions, and they provide the unfiltered answers. This interactive discussion between attendees and panelists allows audience members to have their “real-world” questions answered by the specialists. Come prepared with your toughest questions and the most perplexing challenges faced by your company. And best of all, there will be no consulting fees incurred!

Panelists:
Marti Cardi, JD, Vice President – Product Compliance, Matrix Absence Management
Megan Holstein, JD, SVP of Absence and Claims Product, FINEOS
Marjory Robertson, JD, AVP & Senior Counsel, Sun Life Financial

Moderator:
Kristin Jones, CLMS, PHR, SHRM-CP, Education Manager, DMEC

4:20-5:30 pm – Happy Hour

Wednesday, Aug. 26 | 11:00 am-4:10 pm ET

Winning in the Post-Pandemic Future

11:00-11:15 am – Opening Announcements

Presenter:
Kristin Jones, CLMS, PHR, SHRM-CP, Education Manager, DMEC

11:15 am-12:15 pm – Is Your Workforce Ready for the New Normal?

The best practices for managing employee absence have been rewritten in 2020. No one was fully prepared for what it has meant to operate a business in this year’s economy, and as we resume some semblance of normal — albeit a new normal — it’s not enough to simply look back with relief that we navigated the previous months. We must refocus our planning around what the future holds for our operations and how we can be prepared for what is yet to come.

This session will explore top-of-mind elements related to business continuity, crisis management, and disaster recovery to ensure you can position your team for ongoing success. We’ll discuss how to prepare your absence management policies and operations for the unknown and create solutions to overcome the current situation at hand to return to a new normal. No matter the size, industry, and geographical location of your team, this session will prepare you for the future of business and readiness for the next wave of the unknown.

Presenters:
Bryon Bass, Senior Vice President, Workforce Absence, Sedgwick
Andrea J. Buhl, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, Managing Director, Clinical Operations, Sedgwick

12:15-12:25 pm – Comfort Break
12:25-1:25 pm – Innovative and Effective HR Programs for the Post-Pandemic World

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge employers and employees alike on a daily basis. It’s more important than ever to design innovative and effective HR programs to communicate, engage and educate your organization’s employees. We’ll explore how to better understand the differences between technology and innovation, review the foundations of innovation research, and expose multiple avenues for developing empathy and insights into stakeholders. You’ll leave this session ready to apply these best practices to a better post-pandemic future.

Presenters:
Ashley Cader, VP, Innovation, Customer Experience, and Voice of the Customer, Lincoln Financial Group
Erin Melhuish, Consultant, Business Innovation, Lincoln Financial Group

1:25-2:00 pm – Last Chance Networking Break

Join DMEC and your colleagues in our networking platform via the Happening Now tile on the Hub or the break listing on today’s agenda. Pick a table to participate in virtual roundtable discussions on topics presented this past month. DMEC will provide discussion topics periodically throughout the break. Feel free to chat about the topics provided, talk with old friends, or meet someone new!

2:00-3:00 pm – Breaking Down Silos and Harnessing the Powers of Integrated Health & Productivity Data – COVID-19 and Beyond

COVID-19 has raised the awareness of how swiftly things can change and how the ability to capitalize quickly on data can enhance decision making. In our fast-paced, high-performance work environments, employers are searching for strategies to increase employee productivity, and although most research reflects a strong correlation between health and productivity, many large organizations continue to manage their workforce’s health and productivity separately.

Employers leverage health data to understand aggregate healthcare costs, as well as absence data for operations and compliance purposes. But what if we could break down departmental silos, obtain and integrate relevant health, absence, and productivity data, and interpret it to measure health’s impact on productivity? This session will discuss the business case for integration, identify barriers and opportunities to effectively arrive at the intersection of health and productivity, and provide tools to help you measure and improve outcomes.

Presenters:
Patty Borst, National Practice Leader, Total Absence Management, The Partners Group
Case Escher, Managing Partner, Business Consulting Division, The Partners Group
Brycie Repphun, Total Absence Management Account Executive, The Partners Group

3:00-3:10 pm – Comfort Break
3:10-4:10 pm – Ask the Experts: Winning in the Post-Pandemic Future

Submit your most challenging questions to our panel of distinguished absence and leave management experts. You provide the uncensored questions, and they provide the unfiltered answers. This interactive discussion between attendees and panelists allows audience members to have their “real-world” questions answered by the specialists. Come prepared with your toughest questions and the most perplexing challenges faced by your company. And best of all, there will be no consulting fees incurred!

Panelists:
Bryon Bass, Senior Vice President, Workforce Absence, Sedgwick
Patty Borst, National Practice Leader, Total Absence Management, The Partners Group
Linda Croushore, Sr. Director of Disability Services, WorkPartners

Moderator:
Kristin Jones, CLMS, PHR, SHRM-CP, Education Manager, DMEC