SERMA Conference is Thursday, May 25; mark your calendars!
Join us for the Annual 2017 SERMA Conference & Awards Presentation at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center on May 25, 2017. We have an excellent program of speakers and topics planned, including a discussion of Rx opioids in workers' comp.
"The Cost of Prescription Opioid Abuse in Workers' Compensation" will be discussed by Robin Iachini, MS, RN, CCM, Health Services Manager for IWIF/Chesapeake Employers' Insurance Co. This presentation will provide an overview of the opioid crisis and its costs, and outline the strategic initiatives implemented by IWIF/Chesapeake in addressing opioid abuse in workers' compensation cases.
For additional topics and presentations, please click here.
There is no charge for the Conference but early registration is encouraged as space is limited. A continental breakfast and buffet lunch are included. Register online here.
Nominations for SERMA Safety Awards now being accepted; deadline is April 26
The SERMA Conference Planning Committee is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Safety and Risk Management Awards, to be presented at this year's SERMA Conference. The awards recognize employees for working safely, promoting safety, and encouraging safe work practices at all levels of employment at State of Maryland agencies. The deadline for submitting nominations is Wednesday, April 26, 2017.
The Committee is specifically looking for individuals and teams whose efforts have made a valuable contribution to safety and/or health at a Maryland state agency or sub-agency. The work must have taken place during calendar year 2016 (CY 16), which is Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2016. There are several categories of awards, including individual awards and group awards.
Information on the awards program and selection criteria can be found here. The 2017 Awards Nomination Form, which can be filled out online, can be found here. Once completed, please email the completed form and all supporting documentation to
Kristin Klein at
WorkPro replaces Concentra, effective April 1
The contract to provide occupational medical services to State of Maryland agencies has been awarded to WorkPro Occupational Health Network, effective April 1, 2017.
Under the provisions of the contract, WorkPro will provide a State Medical Director and occupational medical services for State of Maryland employees. The services range from pre-employment physicals to drug and alcohol tests for commercial drivers. WorkPro has locations in Elkridge, Westminster, Salisbury, Cumberland and Waldorf.
With the help of the Maryland Department of Budget and Management (DBM), State agency risk managers and human resources managers have been preparing for this change since the beginning of the year. A more detailed presentation on this topic is being planned for the May 25, 2017 SERMA Conference (see separate story, this issue).
This change does not affect IWIF's management of workers' compensation claims for the State of Maryland. All IWIF claims adjusters and claims management processes will remain intact.
Further questions can be directed to Sherreon Washington, Contract Manager, DBM Office of Personnel Services Division, at 410-767-8006 or via email at
April is Work Zone Safety Month
Spring and summer mark the beginning of roadway construction season, and April is Work Zone Safety Month.
Work Zone Safety Month is a national initiative designed to promote public awareness on the dangers of driving distracted and speeding through work zones. Work zones can present an unfamiliar situation to drivers. Changes in traffic patterns, closed or narrowed lanes, and the presence of construction equipment and personnel can cause challenges for motorists as they travel through work zones.
In Maryland, you may have seen the big orange signs on the roadways. MDOT and SHA are warning drivers to "slow down and stay alert" because "Work Zone Safety is in everyone's hands."
Chesapeake has published a safety tip sheet on this topic, "Work Zone Safety for Motorists." Download it here.
Claims Adjuster Tip of the Quarter
Attention State agency risk managers, supervisors and payroll specialists: After you have promptly reported an injury to IWIF, always complete and submit a 14-week Wage Statement form to your Claims Adjuster.
According to the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission (WCC), the average weekly wage (AWW) is determined at the first hearing and is maintained for the duration of the claim. Therefore, if a wage statement for your injured worker is not submitted by the first hearing, the wage cannot be amended at a later date.
IWIF submits wage statements to the WCC as part of the litigation process. If IWIF does not submit an accurate document citing your injured worker's accurate wages for the 14 weeks prior to the date of injury, the WCC reserves the right to approve the wages submitted by the injured worker, even if those wages are higher than stated on the Employee Claim Form (ECF).
For questions regarding this issue, please contact your dedicated IWIF Claims Adjuster.