2019 DMEC Annual Conference

Session and Speaker Agenda

DMEC Annual Conference AttendeesThe complex and rapidly-changing landscape of leave and disability management presents unique challenges for integrated absence management professionals. The 2019 DMEC Annual Conference, Aug. 5-8, in Washington, D.C., is your ticket to dynamic, interactive education and networking that will help you to improve the performance of your programs and enhance your skills as a thought leader within your organization.

Join 750+ absence and disability professionals who are looking to innovative and progressive solutions to solve some of today’s most challenging workforce issues. You will hear directly from other employers and absence experts who are managing complex programs and will gain unique insight into the emerging trends that will impact your programs over the next few years.
Download the PDF program or view the full agenda below.

Keynote Speaker: Seth Mattison

ac19_mattisonInternationally-renowned expert on workforce trends and generational dynamics, Seth Mattison is the Founder of FutureSight Labs. He advises the world’s leading brands on the key shifts happening around talent management, change and innovation, leadership, and the future of work. His innovative ideas have been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and The Globe.

Seth will speak about his mantra to ignite the light within and his mission to facilitate a shift in consciousness around leadership and work in the 21st centuryWatch a sneak peek of Seth speaking.

Monday | August 5

8:00 am-5:00 pm Registration Open
Preconference Workshops: Mental Health in the Workplace
9:00-10:00 am Mental Health at Work: Costs and Benefits 
Employers recognize the importance of effectively addressing mental health in the workplace. To ignore it, results in high costs from rising disability rates, poor retention, lost productivity, and sub-optimal performance. It also hits the bottom line in healthcare costs, not just for mental health conditions, but for other common and chronic health conditions. Costs alone are not the only drivers of change, but also the recognition of the interplay between mental health and well- being are resulting in improvements. Case studies show an increasing number of employers engaged in innovative practices in workplace mental health. Join us as we explore those innovative practices and the positive results that come with the investment.

Darcy Gruttadaro, JD, Director, Center for Workplace Mental Health, American Psychiatric Foundation
Michael Klachefsky, Principal, Absence, Productivity & HR Consulting
10:00-10:30 am Break
10:30-11:30 am PTSD Frontline: Providing Treatment to Florida’s First Responders 
In 2018, Florida passed a law covering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for first responders, making it one of the first states to adopt a law requiring workers’ compensation benefits for first responders affected by PTSD. Exposure to traumatic events can trigger depression, anxiety, drug abuse, and a high-level of suicide. This session will delve into early lessons learned from treating Florida first responders, including the development of the regulatory factors, employer response, coverage, and provider services.

Michael Coupland, RPsych, Network Medical Director, Registered Psychologist, IMCS Group Inc*Qualifies for CLMS credit
11:30 am-12:30 pm Lunch on Your Own
12:30-1:30 pm The Suicidal Employee: Managing Real Issues and Real Risk with Practical Solutions 
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. On average, 44,965 Americans die by suicide each year, and suicide costs the United States $69 billion annually. Suicide remains an area of occupational concern that can have wide-ranging impacts on employees, supervisors, and the overall work environment. If an employee walked up to you tomorrow and expressed suicidal thoughts, what would you say? How prepared is your company to manage suicide risk? Does your organization have strategies for effective suicide prevention? During this session, we will describe the problem and impact of suicidality and suicide attempt on the work environment and employee functioning. We’ll review warning signs and behaviors that signal the person may be at immediate risk or serious risk for suicide, and we’ll discuss strategies for responding to statements and other indicators of suicide risk in occupational settings.

Katie Connell, PhD, ABPP, Chief Clinical Officer, PsyBar
1:30-2:00 pm Break
2:00-3:00 pm Mental Health at Work: An Employer’s First Year of Program Development 
Mental health support is available through medical insurance, employee assistance programs, and other resources, but many employees in need do not access services. After a year of researching mental health offerings available to employers, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) began a journey to expand mental health awareness, education, and access for their employees. During this session, we will cover the decision-making process for PSE and explore the customized program, including communications and training, that was developed to foster an environment where both knowing about and accessing resources is the “norm” rather than the exception.

Jenny Haykin, MA, CRC, Integrated Leaves & Accommodations Program Manager, Puget Sound Energy
3:00-3:15 pm Wrap-Up & Announcements
3:15-3:30 pm Break
3:30-4:30 pm Industry Roundtable Discussions 
Join your industry peers for small-group discussions on hot topics within your industry. Share challenges, opportunities, and best practices from your organization’s experience.
5:00-6:00 pm First-time Attendee Orientation & Mixer  
First-time attendees can join us for a beverage and an overview of what to expect at this year’s conference.
6:00-8:00 pm DMEC Opening Welcome Reception 
Kick off your 2019 DMEC Annual Conference experience with a chance to connect with old friends and fellow attendees at the opening welcome reception. Everyone is invited to join the festivities for a special evening of great food and fun.Sponsored by
National Sponsors

Tuesday | August 6

3:35-4:00pmF2. Launching Your Organization’s Self-Audit Checklist 

Most organizations understand the importance of conducting an internal compliance audit, but not many understand what an effective self-audit really entails. Gain actionable insight into what components are needed for a thorough self-audit, what employees should – and shouldn’t – be involved at every step, and how to course correct when you find issues. If you’ve ever wondered how to launch a self-audit process for your organization or questioned whether your current process is effective, this session is for you!

Teri Weber, ACI, PMP, Partner, Spring Consulting Group
7:00 am-5:00 pm Registration Open
7:00-8:00 am Breakfast with Exhibitors 
General Sessions
8:00-8:30 am Welcome & Opening Remarks 

Marcia Carruthers, MBA, CPDM, Chairman of the Board, DMEC
Terri Rhodes, CCMP, CLMS, CPDM, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, DMEC
8:30-9:30 am Opening Keynote Session: The War at Work – Building a Next-Generation Enterprise for a Next-Generation Workforce 
For future-focused organizations to succeed in the age of the networks, a bold approach to leadership is needed. An approach where freedom, trust, and experimentation are not only embraced, but encouraged.Unfortunately, while our advancement in technology has equipped us to navigate the disruptive waters of change, our leadership ethos has not. Today, many of our organizations still operate from a 19th century industrial age management mindset that undervalues unconventional thinking, discourages full transparency, deters initiative, frustrates experimentation, and allows people to “play small.”During this energy-packed session, Seth Mattison will provide a road map for anticipating the strategic challenges that demand fundamentally new thinking, inspire leaders to break free from obsolete mental models that limit success, and help leaders build tomorrow’s best practices today to compete and win in the new networked world of work.

Invited Speaker
Seth Mattison
9:30-10:00 am Coffee & Conversation Break with Exhibitors
10:00-11:00 am Empowering Employees to Thrive in the Ever-Changing Work-Life World 
As the workplace continues to change, leaders are left wondering how they should help employees navigate competing priorities in a more dynamic world. Employees’ expectations are shifting, and they’re looking to organizations for a holistic benefits package that supports their needs now and for the future. During this session, we will share meaningful insights from MetLife’s annual Employee Benefit Trend Study as well as actionable guidance for supporting the value of a holistically-well workforce that empowers employees and their families to thrive in this new work-life world.

Joseph Heaney, Senior Vice President, MetLife*Sponsored session
11:00 am-12:00 pm How Advocacy Can Elevate the Employee Experience 
Advocacy is a concept that has been introduced as a way to improve disability and absence management, and elevate the overall employee experience. While taking many forms, advocacy programs are rooted in making the employee a priority and showing concern for the individual’s health and well-being. This can involve explaining the process and available benefits, using technology to improve communications, or offering access to additional resources. Advocacy proponents claim that this approach not only improves an employee’s satisfaction, it can also create financial dividends by reducing litigation rates, medical costs, and leave durations. In this session, we will provide a practical, in-depth look into leading advocacy programs and their resulting performance. We’ll explain how these programs work and how they are evolving; what components and resources are needed to support these programs; how management and employees have reacted to this integrated disability model; and what qualitative and quantifiable results have been achieved.

Scott Daniels, JD, Senior Director of Disability, Comcast, NBCUniversal and Comcast Spectacor
Shawn Johnson, Managing Director, Sedgwick*Sponsored session
12:00-1:30 pm Lunch with Exhibitors 
Sponsored by

Concurrent Sessions
1:30-2:30 pm A1. The Employee Resiliency Initiative: A Guide to Improving Behavioral Health 
CenturyLink. Inc., the second largest U.S. communications provider with over 40,000 employees, experienced absence incidence rates, exceeding the 90th percentile, due to high employee stress and turnover. During this session, learn how their commitment to helping employees improve their health and wellness drove measurable reductions to incidence and duration of behavioral health claims. They’ll share insights into how to build a culture of wellness through effective integration and education; design effective programs that encourage employee resiliency and support; create proactive claims review and claims management processes; and accommodate employees with behavioral health issues through a multi-tiered approach.

Anne Mileham, MS, CRC, CEES, Disability and Productivity Consultant, The Standard
Tamara Parker, PHR, Lead Benefits Analyst, CenturyLink
Andrea Weiner, LPC, CRC, Mental Health Consultant, The StandardModerator
Dan Jolivet, PhD, Workplace Possibilities Practice Consultant, The Standard*Sponsored session
B1. Getting the Most Out of EAPs: What That Means for Productivity 
While most employers have employee assistance programs (EAPs) within their benefits plan, they often don’t utilize the full scope of their programs. Employees can wind up on leave, and in some cases, for longer than is necessary. When employers leverage relationships with their brokers and providers, they can get the full value of their benefits, and ultimately, have a more positive impact on their employee’s outcome. This can mean shorter disability leave, or in many cases, a stay-at-work scenario. In this session, we’ll discuss the impact of EAPs and how employers can leverage their full capabilities including for mental health and addiction issues, which are often less obvious than a physical injury.

Dale Grenolds, Executive Vice President, ComPsych
Dr. Tracy Hamill, Medical Director, Sun Life Financial Group*Sponsored session
C1. “It’s Complicated”: The Always-Evolving ADA/FMLA Relationship 
Outside forces — from technological advances to business shifts — are changing work, and case law interpreting the FMLA’s interaction with the ADA is evolving to keep up, with real implications for the workplace. In this session, we will discuss the advantages and challenges that telecommuting has created, and best practices for ADA and FMLA compliance for when employees can — or want to — work from home. We’ll also address employee surveillance, call-in policies, and tips for dealing with managers who don’t want to play by these rules.

Matt Morris, JD, VP of FMLASource, ComPsych
Jeff Nowak, JD, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson, PCModerator
Kate Tornone, Senior Editor, HR Dive, Industry Dive*Qualifies for CLMS credit
D1. Tools and Techniques to Implement Effective Reasonable Accommodations 
Responding to stay-at-work and return-to-work accommodation requests has become increasingly complex. Employers need to establish a process, train employees on the process, and consistently use the process. In this session, real-life examples of complex accommodations will be presented to illustrate practical strategies for negotiating and implementing effective reasonable accommodations. We’ll discuss returning from leave, modified duty, using various technologies to accommodate, service animals, managing situations where the employee or manager is resistant to change, tools for training front-line managers, and tips for gathering metrics to track accommodations. You will come away better prepared to support both employees and managers in implementing effective reasonable accommodations.

Linda C. Batiste, JD, JAN Principal Consultant, Job Accommodation Network
Anne Hirsh, MS, CPDM, Co-Director, Job Accommodation Network
*Qualifies for CLMS credit
E1. A Case Study: Developing a Paid Parental Leave Program 
To promote and protect family time, Halliburton implemented a paid parental bonding leave program. This program allows eligible employees to elect one of two paid parental bonding options: an employee can choose to take up to eight weeks of paid leave to bond with his or her newborn child or newly adopted child, or the employee can choose a two-week bonding payout in lieu of the paid bonding leave. The program is intended to help employees better balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of their families by providing them with two options to choose from. During this session, they will discuss the implementation challenges including payroll, funding, and scheduling, and how they successfully adopted the program for their employees.

Kevin Curry, Chief Revenue Officer, ReedGroup
Jennifer Mericle, PHR, Manager, Global Benefits, Halliburton*Sponsored session
2:30-3:00 pm Dessert & Conversation Break with Exhibitors 
Sponsored by

3:00-4:00 pm A2. Opioids and the ADA/FMLA 
Prescription opioid use by employees is a growing challenge for employers. Of 10.6 million Americans with opioid use disorder in 2016, over 62% were employed. The costs to employers in terms of absence, poor work quality and productivity, occupational injuries, health care costs, and other losses are considerable. During this session, we will dive into this growing challenge and provide real advice on what employers can and cannot do.

Glenn Pransky, MD, MOccH, Scientific Advisor, Lincoln Financial Group
Kimberlee Rudeen, AVP, Group Products, Lincoln Financial Group*Sponsored session
*Qualifies for CLMS credit
B2. Reducing Your ADA Burden by Implementing a Return-to-Work Strategy 
The evolution of the ADA brings additional complexity to an employer’s return-to-work (RTW) strategy. While most HR professionals are skilled at managing employees on short- or long-term disability, understanding how the RTW program can satisfy obligations under the ADA is a new frontier. Can RTW discussions and reasonable accommodations developed serve as your interactive process? Are you obligated to consider all RTW accommodations as an ADA request? Can your RTW policy have a time limit? Developing a robust RTW strategy today includes a culture shift, strategy development, and integration with your ADA process. Join us for this session to better understand why and how your organization can implement successful return-to-work strategies working “in step” with ADA requirements.

Daris Freeman, Assistant Vice President, Legal Counsel, Unum
Marcy Ledford, MS, CRC, CEAS, Director, Workforce Solutions Group, Unum*Sponsored session
*Qualifies for CLMS credit
C2. Devil in the Details: How to Design a Compliant Paid Sick Leave Policy 
Paid sick leave (PSL) laws continue to pop up around the country, on state and local levels. Some employers are finding challenges in how to approach designing policies and modifying current policies to comply with all of the laws. Other employers are trying to decide whether to have separate policies for each law, and yet others are trying to decide on whether a piece-meal approach will work. In this session, we will discuss the key elements to consider when designing programs to comply with the various paid sick leave laws. We’ll explore how the “devil is in the details” on discreet issues such as notice requirements, reasons for time off, and interplay with other laws.

David Mohl, JD, Principal, Jackson Lewis PC*Qualifies for CLMS credit
D2. Decipher Your Leave Data: A Focus on Quality and Reporting 
Leave management programs generate a huge amount of valuable data; however, few employers know how to effectively leverage it. In this session, we will provide an overview of the types of data needed for leave management and how leave systems integrate with other data sources, such as HR and time & attendance systems. We’ll explore the importance of data integrity for leave compliance, providing examples of common pitfalls, and share types of reports employers can use to assess workload, productivity, leave trends, and day-to-day operations. You will leave this session ready to decipher the data from your own leave programs and apply it for a more strategic approach to leave management.

Geoff Simpson, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Presagia
Short Quick-Dive Sessions
3:00-3:25pm E2. How to Effectively Communicate with Your C-Suite 
Have you ever wondered what it takes to really be heard by your C-suite? Have you lamented with colleagues about what it takes to get the CFO to sign off on funding for programs you’ve waited years to get off the ground? These answers – and more – are out there, and now within your reach. Hear directly from C-suite leaders as they give actionable tips and tools to build your business case and communicate effectively with this level of the organization.

Sandy Callahan, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, ReedGroup
Kevin Curry, Chief Revenue Officer, ReedGroup
4:00-4:15 pm Break
Concurrent Sessions
4:15-5:15 pm A3. Marijuana Misinformation: The Truth About Cannabis in the Workplace 
It’s impossible to ignore the evolving legal landscape surrounding marijuana, but that’s only a piece of the puzzle. Most employers are in the dark about the evolution of the drug itself, and are unclear how recent changes have impacted its effect in the workplace. From understanding the higher THC concentration in modern marijuana to debunking common misconceptions about the drug, we’ll get you up to speed on the truth about cannabis in the workplace and what your legal responsibilities are to address it. We’ll discuss the far-reaching touches cannabis has to safety, workers’ compensation, return-to-work efforts, employer drug testing practices, and more. You’ll leave armed with a true understanding of marijuana’s workplace impact and practical takeaways for what you can and cannot do under the current marijuana legal landscape.

Stuart Colburn, Shareholder, Downs Stanford, PC
Marcos Iglesias, MD, FACOEM, FAAFP, Chief Medical Officer, Broadspire*Sponsored session
*Qualifies for CLMS credit
B3. Employer Input Wanted: U.S. DOL RTW Initiatives 
The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is leading two initiatives aimed at improving stay-at-work (SAW)/return-to-work (RTW) outcomes among people with work disabilities: 1) the Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN) demonstration grants, and 2) the State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED). Eight states are currently implementing RETAIN pilot projects that coordinate health and employment services and adopt occupational health best practices to improve SAW/RTW outcomes. Employers represent a critical piece of the SAW/RTW puzzle and are key stakeholders in RETAIN. The SEED initiative recently launched a SAW/RTW Toolkit with the support of the ODEP and the Council of State Governors. During this session, we will discuss the RETAIN pilot program designs, implementation challenges, and lessons learned to date, and we’ll also discuss the development and use of the SAW/RTW Toolkit. Come hear about these unique initiatives and provide critical feedback for future development.

Meredith DeDona, MPH, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Labor
Nadia Mossburg, MA, MSW, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of LaborModerator
Chris McLaren, PhD, Senior Economist, U.S. Department of Labor
C3. Development and Implementation of Medically-Approved Intermittent Work Leave Guidelines 
More than half of Americans live with at least one chronic condition, yet traditional disability duration guidelines were developed to set return-to-work goals for acute conditions and do not take into consideration the intermittent nature of chronic conditions. In this session, we will present a joint research project with Kaiser Permanente and ReedGroup’s MDGuidelines on the development of intermittent time-off work guidelines. The diagnosis-specific, intermittent time-off guidelines provide a treatment plan by taking into account the complex nature of chronic conditions including comorbidities, treatment, work environment, and past medical history. We will conclude with an interactive exercise where you will be presented with various chronic condition case studies and be asked to formulate a treatment/work-leave plan. The discussion will center on incorporating the patient’s voice, along with time-off guidelines, to produce a treatment plan that works for all parties.

Carrie Davino-Ramaya, MD, Medical Director, Northwest Permanente, PC Physicians and Surgeons
Martha Garcia, CPDM, Project Manager Lead, Kaiser Permanente
Fraser Gaspar, PhD, MPH, Epidemiologist, ReedGroup’s MDGuidelines*Qualifies for CLMS credit
D3. Driving Results with Data in Healthcare Organizations 
As a healthcare employer, learn how you can use data and analytics to measure and improve the effectiveness of your leave policies, programs, processes, and leave management team. We will focus on developing metrics for your healthcare organization, evaluating results versus metrics, and making adjustments to the process and team structures to improve leave durations and employee health.

Seth Turner, MBA, VP, Business Development, AbsenceSoft*Sponsored session
*Qualifies for CLMS credit
E3. The Tapestry of Absence Management 
Absence management involves laws, regulations, and benefits that may overlap and cause confusion for the employer and the employee. Absence management in education settings tends to be more complex and require collaboration and communication between various programs and offices. Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) employs a cooperative model, and recently implemented a bi-monthly case review process where cases are reviewed and discussed, and information is shared among team members. Working collaboratively, the team weaves the pieces together to create a tapestry that provides a full picture so that effective strategies can be developed and appropriate actions taken. During this session, BCPS will provide an overview of their absence management program and the offices involved, and conduct a “role-play” of the case review process. You’ll be asked to provide input on the steps to take once the case is presented.

Michelle Dacey, Manager, Employee Absence and Risk Management, Baltimore County Public Schools
Karen Miles, CEBS, MBA, SHRM-CP, SPHR, Retirement and Leaves Specialist, Baltimore County Public Schools
Vickie Mohney, Integrated Disability Management Representative, Baltimore County Public Schools
Amber Watson, BSN, RN, Nurse Case Manager, Office of Employee Absence and Risk Management (OEARM), Baltimore Public Schools
Toria Williams, Employee Absence Representative, Office of Employee Absence and Risk Management, Baltimore Public Schools

Frances Allen, PhD, PHR, SHRM-CP, Executive Director, HR Operations, Baltimore County Public Schools*Qualifies for CLMS credit

5:30-6:30 pm Happy Hour with Exhibitors

Wednesday | August 7

7:00 am-5:00 pm Registration Open
7:30-8:30 am Breakfast with Exhibitors
General Sessions
8:30-8:45 am DMEC Announcements & Awards Presentation 

Terri Rhodes, CCMP, CLMS, CPDM, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, DMEC
8:45-9:30 am The Power of Perseverance: A Journey to Triumph 
Returning to life after an illness can be challenging not only physically, but mentally. Hear from two-time U.S. Paralympic medalist, Jamie Whitmore, as she talks about how she not only overcame a life-threatening illness, but also found the mental toughness to persevere and continue her quest to be an elite athlete. Discover how Jamie accepted her disability and adversity with tremendous strength to rise above the challenges, focus on what was possible, and reach her goals. Jamie’s story will challenge your perception of people with disabilities and illustrate the power of the human achievement.

Jamie Whitmore, U.S. Paralympian
Kimberly Mashburn, National Accounts Practice Lead, The Hartford
*Sponsored Session
9:30-10:00 am Coffee & Conversation Break with Exhibitors 
Sponsored by

10:00-11:00 am FMLA/ADA Lessons Learned: Recent Court Cases, Jury Verdicts, and Settlements 
Hundreds of court decisions interpreting employer obligations under the ADA and the FMLA are decided each year as well as frequent jury verdicts and settlements of ADA and FMLA claims. In this session, we will discuss key verdicts and settlements, and advise employers about the “do’s” and “don’ts” with regard to ADA/FMLA compliance challenges. Learn what makes courts and juries sympathetic to employers and what does not. Explore how to improve your policies, practices, and processes for handling ADA accommodation issues to help avoid liability, and how to ensure you are up to date in this hotly-litigated area.

Megan Holstein, JD, SVP Absence and Claims Management, FINEOS
Marjory D. Robertson, JD, AVP & Senior Counsel, Sun Life Financial Services Company, Inc*Sponsored session
*Qualifies for CLMS credit
11:00 am-12:00 pm DOL Audits: What Employers Need to Know 
The U.S. Department of Labor is empowered to conduct audits of employers to enforce labor standards and assure compliance with labor laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For the past 10 years, the DOL has conducted an average of 1,500 FMLA audits per year. On-site investigations have been increasing and can lead to substantial fines and penalties if the DOL identifies compliance issues. It is critical for an employer to ensure that its FMLA records and practices are compliant. In this session, we will discuss what employers can do to clean house now as well as strategies for handling the DOL once it is on their doorstep.

Janet Lee, JD, Employment Counsel, Cigna Corporation
Jeff Nowak, JD, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson, PC*Sponsored session
*Qualifies for CLMS credit
12:00-1:30 pm Lunch with Exhibitors
Concurrent Sessions
1:30-2:30 pm A4. ROI: Building the Business Case 
When we have inefficient or non-compliant absence programs, we often know what we need to do to fix them but don’t know where we will get the money. Whether your plan is to outsource to a third party, centralize the process and license absence software, or hire additional staff, you still need to find the budget and get approval. During this session, we will discuss how to find funding and push the executive leadership to make the investment. We’ll walk through how to build a business case and show a return on investment, discuss what needs to be included in the business case, and explore what resources are available to assist you in building one.

Patty Borst, National Practice Leader – Disability and Absence Management, The Partners Group*Sponsored session
*Qualifies for CLMS credit
B4. Let’s Do More than Survive HR: Using CPR to Thrive While Managing Difficult HR Matters 
Why is this Human Resources gig so darn hard? Do you catch yourself day dreaming about your next job or retirement? If so, sit back and prepare to recharge your HR soul in this session. Recalling the reason that you started down this path and why this work is so important is vital to continuing to do it well. We’ll talk about how knowing your stuff isn’t enough; you also have to build excellent processes, retool your brain, and recharge your soul! You’ll leave feeling ready to get back to the challenging work that you have chosen to do.

Rachel A. Shaw, MBA, President, Shaw HR Consulting, Inc
C4. Staying Out of the Doghouse: Addressing Employee Service Animal Accommodation Requests 
Service animal accommodation requests are on the rise. The myriad issues surrounding these requests increasingly hound HR professionals who must balance the needs of those who have requested the accommodations, and other employees who may or may not feel comfortable around animals. In this session, we will cover these topics and more, with an eye toward keeping you out of the doghouse.

Joanne Lambert, JD, Office Managing Principal, Jackson Lewis PC*Qualifies for CLMS credit
D4. How to Use Absence and Disability Data to Understand Your Workforce 
Employers can use absence and disability claims data to answer a range of questions about their workforce and improve their experience. The key to success, however, is to use the right information. Companies must first understand the strengths and limitations of the data collection. During this session, we will walk you through how the claims management process has evolved towards a data-centric approach and how to take advantage of non-traditional data points for broader power of prediction. We’ll also discuss how to clean data, interpret the findings, understand its pitfalls, and improve future data gathering efforts.

Ian Bridgman, Executive Director, The Claim Lab
Carol Harnett, MS, GBDS, President, The Council for Disability Awareness
Ed Quick, MA, MBA, CDMS, Senior Manager, Global Time Away from Work Programs, Technology Organization
E4. Capturing the Benefits of Change: A Catalyst for Uncovering Your Best Career and Life 
Change is ubiquitous, constant and ever-present. But as much as we know it’s always coming, why is it we feel caught off-guard when it arrives? Whether it’s a personal, professional or major life transition, or even all three at once, we can find ourselves stuck and unable to move forward, feeling lost and out of control. But it doesn’t need to be this way! During this session, we will explore how change impacts us, how we can take advantage of its rejuvenating potential, and what tools we need to not just survive it, but to grow through it.

Kelly Marinelli, JD, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Principal People Strategy Consultant, Solve HR, Inc
2:30-3:00 pm Dessert & Conversation Break with Exhibitors
3:00-4:00 pm A5. The RFP Process: A Deep Dive 
Request for Proposal (RFP) processes are a means to an end: selecting or maintaining a carrier or third-party administrator for outsourced absence management services. Conducting an RFP can be a timely, costly process, so it’s important that employers get it right. In this session, we will do a deep dive into the world of RFPs and cover the who (to include), the what (process to follow), and the how (to level the playing field and ensure that neither the employer nor the respondent has an advantage over the other). We’ll provide guidance on what kinds of questions should be answered throughout the process, and how to structure them. And finally, we’ll showcase two employer case studies, highlight what went well, what they’d do differently next time, and general best practice advice.

Laura McCormick, Manager, Disability and Leave Management, Baystate Health Systems
Claudia Ruggiero, Team Lead, Disability Management, Chevron Corporation
Teri Weber, ACI, PMP, Partner, Spring Consulting GroupModerator
Karen English, CPCU, ARM, MBA, Partner, Spring Consulting Group*Sponsored session
B5. Winning the War for Talent by Perfecting the Employee Experience  
You want to secure the best talent, but so does everyone else. In a world where the war for talent is real, and effective recruitment is an art form, it’s crucial to create a positive employee experience that attracts, develops, and retains the right people to help your organization grow and be productive. Engagement is just one part of the puzzle. It’s also about the physical environment you create and the technology and other resources you provide to give your workforce what it needs to be successful. During this session, we’ll offer practical solutions to help you embark on the employee experience journey and how to get it right along the way.

Danielle McMahan, EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer, YorkModerator
Heather Luiz, Senior Vice President, Absence Management, York Risk*Sponsored session
C5. Creating an LGBTQ Inclusive Workplace: Going Beyond Policies 
While most companies have a nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, 46% of LGBTQ workers remain closeted at work. In order to create a culture of inclusiveness, improvements need to be made in communications, reporting system accountability, and workforce education. Through personal storytelling and experiences, we will share practical steps on creating an inclusive environment for LGBTQ employees. We’ll explore how employers can increase visibility and make inclusiveness a part of their culture by supporting employees who are transitioning/coming out, addressing language that is included in benefit programs, ensuring biases and issues are raised and addressed, and increasing engagement and effectiveness of employee advocates.

Ryan K. Sallans, LGBTQ Speaker, Consultant & Author
Kristina Kishbaugh, Team Leader, New Business & Benefit Services – Projects, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Gene Lanzoni, AVP, Group & Worksite Marketing, Thought Leadership, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America*Qualifies for CLMS credit
D5. Predictive Modeling: Leveraging Data Science to Improve the Customer Experience 
Learn how leveraging technology, analytics, and predictive modeling throughout the life cycle of a disability event can optimize the employee and employer experience. During this session, we will focus on current and future application of analytics to simplify and add precision to the process of transitioning claims from short-term to long-term disability, identifying fraud and misrepresentation, and utilizing cutting-edge data science techniques to supplement claim management practices. You’ll walk away with an understanding of how to leverage data and insights to improve the customer experience.

John Aschenbrenner, PgMP, Vice President, Data Science Program Management, The Prudential Insurance Company of America
Douglas Elfers, Manager, Data Scientist, The Prudential Insurance Company of America
Kenneth Hallden, Vice President, Long Term Disability Claims, The Prudential Insurance Company of America

Evan Scarponi
Vice President, Disability and Absence Claims, The Prudential Insurance Company of America*Sponsored session
*Qualifies for CLMS credit
E5. Women’s Leadership Panel: Forging the Path for Future IDAM Leaders 
During this lively discussion, a diverse group of female leaders will share their personal career journeys, including how tough life lessons and failures have helped get them to the next level. They’ll talk about how they are forging a path for future generations of women to succeed, and share the secrets to successful IDM leadership. You’ll walk away with solid lessons you can put into practice to advance your own career.

Kymberly Y. Alexander Clay, CPDM, Integrated Absence and Disability Management Administrator, City of Long Beach
Ophelia Galindo, Global Director, Leave & Accommodation, Amazon
Sandy Garner, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Director, Human Resources & Operations, SanMar

Maria Henderson, MS, CDMS, Chief Innovation Officer, WorkCare, Inc
4:00-4:15 pm Break
4:15-4:40 pm or 4:50-5:15 pm Breath Like a Boss 
We’ve all been there; you just got out of a frustrating meeting that left you feeling raw, and you have to shift your focus to a high-stakes conversation with your boss. Often, we struggle to control our mindset – and ultimately our effectiveness – when we’re coming off of a stressful experience. This can be damaging, especially to our mental and physical health. During this session, we’ll teach you practical tools and techniques you can implement immediately to control your response, energy, and perspective, all through the power of your breath and mindset. Whether you need to calm yourself from a tense situation or get energized and empowered for the daunting tasks before you, utilizing these simple and powerful tools will get you ready for what’s next in your day, help you take control of your daily energy, and maximize your effectiveness.

Sandy Abrams, Author of Breathe to Succeed
4:15-5:15 pm Hot-Topic Roundtable Discussions 
Join your peers for small-group discussions on hot topics in the industry. Share challenges, opportunities, and best practices from your organization.
8:00-11:00 pm Washington D.C. Live!  

There’s no better way to let loose and relax after several busy days of new ideas than to join your fellow conference attendees at our popular Wednesday night event. This year, get ready to party, sing, dance, and laugh the night away at Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar. Come for an hour or stay for the whole evening!

  • Located steps from the conference hotel
  • Complimentary drink ticket(s) provided at the event
  • Great food, entertainment, networking, and fun

Sponsored by

Thursday | August 8

7:00 am-12:00 pm Registration Open
7:30-8:30 am Breakfast
General Sessions
8:30-9:30 am They’re Here! A Deep Dive into Paid Family and Medical Leaves 
Paid family and medical leave laws are now a reality in several states. Your organization must be ready for these job-protected, paid leaves as more states begin to adopt new laws. What do employers need to know about these leaves? What decisions need to be made? How do these leaves interact with other existing state leaves, company policies, and the FMLA? During this session, we’ll take a tour of the latest information regarding employee rights and employer obligations, options, and considerations for these mandatory leave benefits.

Marti Cardi, JD, Vice President, Product Compliance, Matrix Absence Management, Inc
Chris Smith, AVP, Practice Leader – Leave, Disability & ADA, Matrix Absence Management, Inc*Sponsored session
*Qualifies for CLMS credit
9:30-9:45 am Coffee & Conversation Break
9:45-10:45 am Got ROI? 
Many employers are outsourcing portions of their absence management program to a carrier or third- party administrator. If you’re one of them, you may have found that your management team quickly shifted focus from providing support to proving return on investment (ROI). As a result, you may feel like you’ve just gotten the program up and running, and you’re already being faced with questions like, “Was it worth it?”, or, “Have costs decreased?” Like almost every other type of progress, the efficiencies of outsourcing don’t happen overnight, and the financial impact takes time. You’re not alone in this challenge. In this session, we’ll uncover a savings and ROI framework that you can set and measure against over time. You’ll hear how companies like Chevron and Baystate have implemented a framework, and the success they’ve seen.

Karen English, CPCU, ARM, MBA, Partner, Spring Consulting Group
Laura McCormick, Manager, Disability and Leave Management, Baystate Health Systems
Claudia Ruggiero, Team Lead, Disability Management, Chevron Corporation

Teri Weber, ACI, PMP, Partner, Spring Consulting Group
10:45-11:45 am Real-Life Robocop: Meeting “Impossible” RTW Goals in Catastrophic Cases 
Technological advances are helping people with spinal cord injuries go from wheelchair to walking. Yet, with a hefty price tag, payers have been reluctant to approve these new devices for injured workers. In this session, you’ll hear from Jeremy Romero, a police officer who sustained an on-duty spinal cord injury, yet returned to policework six months after his incident. Jeremy will discuss the details of his accident, fight for survival, physical and psychosocial challenges of adapting to life after a spinal cord injury, and his determination to “walk” again through an exoskeleton device. He’ll detail how case management helped him navigate complicated healthcare bureaucracy, communicate and educate his needs with providers, and advocate with insurance companies to gain financial commitment for the device.

Patricia Elizalde, LPN, CRC, CDMS, CCM, Branch Manager, GENEX Services, Inc
Jeremy Romero, Retired Deputy, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office*Sponsored session
11:45 am-12:00 pm Closing Remarks and Grand Prize Drawing 

Sponsored by