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In association with the International Workers' Compensation Foundation

© Copyright 2017 - Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission

2017 VWC Educational Conference Speakers

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2017 VWC Educational Conference Maps

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2017 VWC Educational Conference Schedule

Full schedule with Concurrent Sessions

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 Wednesday, October 25, 2017
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2017 VWC Educational Conference Materials

Conference materials will be posted here as they become available.

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2016 VWC Educational Conference Attendees

A list of attendees will be posted here when available.

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2017 VWC Educational Conference Registration

https://www.compevent.com/virginia

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2017 VWC Educational Conference Hotel & Parking

Richmond Marriott

Parking Info

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Claims Processing Best Practices

Representatives from a Carrier/Claim Administrator organization, a Self-Insured Employer and two Attorneys will participate in a moderated discussion on effectively managing claims and the importance of communication and timely filings.

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Common Workplace Injuries - Head, Neck, and Back

Dr. Pateder will begin with a brief description about the anatomy and movement of the spine. He will then transition to common problems of the spine and how they relate to the anatomy and motion of the spine. Commonly used diagnostic studies will be discussed and images of common spinal pathology (fractures, disc herniation, spondylolisthesis, etc) will be shown. Dr. Pateder will transition into differentiating acute injuries from pre-existing spinal changes as seen on imaging studies and show corresponding MRI images. Common treatment modalities, recovery times (including role of PT, work hardening, etc), and outcomes for common spinal injuries will be discussed. He will end by emphasizing the importance of also treating the injured worker’s psyche and the power of reassurance.

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Common Workplace Injuries - Shoulder and Elbow Injuries

Orthopaedic surgery is a rapidly advancing field, from medical devices to orthobiologics. Patients have benefited greatly from these new treatment options, with faster and more complete recovery from injury. There are still challenges with realizing similar gains in the workplace injury arena. We will explore factors affecting this and make recommendations for maximizing outcomes for this patient population.

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Ethics

A panel discussion of ethical dilemmas presented in workers’ compensation cases. Topics will include representing undocumented workers, conflicts of interest, attorney communication with physicians, use of private investigators, settlement negotiations, and more.

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Getting Back to Work - Physical Therapy, Work Hardening, and FCEs

A discussion on Physical Therapy, Functional Capacity Evaluations, and Work Hardening to return an injured worker back to work or to the highest level of function. Components of each program will be reviewed along with expected outcomes.

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"Hearing Nuts and Bolts" - What You Need to Know in Preparing Your Case. Do's and Don'ts.

New technology has enabled claimants’ and employers’ counsel to acquire information that can make or break the case. Efficient preparation of the case for Hearing requires systemization and the flexibility to alter course when new facts dictate. This presentation will cover what to do when you get the case, how to maximize resources and how to get the biggest bang for the buck. We will also look at strategies for eliminating the “landmines” that too often derail Virginia workers comp claims.

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Injury by Accident - Has Van Buren v. Augusta Co. Changed the Landscape?

In Van Buren v. Augusta County, the Court of Appeals ruled that a firefighter's 45-minute rescue (involving many discrete actions) of a large man who had fallen in his shower was an "identifiable incident." The panelists will discuss their respective views regarding whether the decision simply applies longstanding legal principles or marks a dramatic change in the law.

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Issue Mediation - Resolving Disputed Issues Before a Hearing

A panel discussion of what works and what does not work in Issue Mediation.

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Managing the Needs of Aging Injured Workers

Given current demographic trends, the number of workers age 55 and older is set to increase significantly over the next few decades. According to the Department of Labor, this segment accounted for 40% of the workforce in 2013, and it will only increase as baby boomers reach age 65 at a rate of 10,000 a day until 2030. We’ll outline the impact this trend will have on claims severity, costs, and outcomes We’ll also outline common types of injuries among aging workers, and complexities regarding treatment, recovery, and return to work, particularly due to pre-existing medical conditions.

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Managing the Pandora's Box of Comorbid Conditions

In workers’ compensation (WC), a proverbial Pandora’s Box is filled with many perils—chief among them are a plethora of comorbidities that adversely affect claim results. For example, obesity is on the rise; 36.1 million Americans have diabetes; and exacerbating these conditions is a sedentary lifestyle. After all, sitting is now considered the ‘new smoking.’ In this session, we will define today’s top comorbid conditions and how they impact WC claims. We’ll also outline risk management strategies that help contain these challenges—including return-to-work programs and wellness initiatives.

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Marketing in the Aftermath of the Court of Appeals Decision in King William Co. v. Jones

A panel discussion of the decision in Jones v. King William County, including case background, application of the decision, recent decisions addressing the decision and successful marketing in light of the decision.

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Mediation - Preparing Your Case and Preparing Your Client

Specific advice for lawyers as they and their clients change the tone from litigation to mediation.

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Medical Fee Schedule - Advisory Panel Update

A discussion with Advisory Panel members that puts the efforts to design the fee schedule into perspective and identifies next steps for exclusions from the fee schedule.

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Medical Fee Schedule - Is Change Always a Challenge

A panel discussion with the Commission, Oliver Wyman, Certified Coders and introduction to the new Virginia Workers Compensation Medical Fee Service Department that discusses each facet of the process to becoming a fee schedule state.

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Opioid Addiction - The Script Starts and Stops Here

A panel to discuss managing the influence of medication prescribed to treat acute pain that results in prolonged use, pain-relieving effects lessen and pain can become worse. Opioid addiction results when dependence interferes with daily life.

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Undocumented Workers in the Workplace

This panel discussion will describe the workers’ compensation rights available to undocumented workers who are injured in the commonwealth of Virginia.

Furthermore, the panelists will address the challenges facing undocumented workers in pursuing a workers compensation case from both the claimant’s and defense perspective.

Lastly, the panelists will propose methods of overcoming these challenges both through litigation and alternative dispute resolution.

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"Violence in the Workplace" - Issues On Compensability

Violence, crime, and terrorism are threats to modern Virginia workplaces. The panel will focus on factors that can determine whether or not a workplace violence claim is compensable, and how to investigate and handle these difficult claims. In addition to identifying emerging trends such as psychiatric or psychological claims resulting from workplace violence, the panel will discuss unique issues involving the intersection of crime and terrorism with the workplace.

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Vocational Rehabilitation - Benefits and Limitations

The panelist will discuss growing challenges in the job market including the way companies utilize social media marketing for recruiting, the increased use of online applications, and how the changes make it increasingly difficult to contact human resource departments. They will also discuss how new hiring trends can impact non-compliance issues with job search activities. Finally, the success of vocational rehabilitation in Virginia as opposed to other jurisdictions (MD and DC), including comparisons between the states, will be discussed.

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Workshop - Awards and Calculation Issues

Provide general overview and assistance to participants on completing Agreements, Terminations, Wage Charts and forms for Permanent Partial disability benefits. Participants can also receive help with calculation issues and have the opportunity to ask questions and get an immediate response from the Claims Services Techincal Liasion.

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Workshop - WebFile Forum

Join the Commission's WebFile Support team for an open discussion about WebFile functionality, issues, and future development. Team members will answer questions as well as document feedback and suggestions to be considered by the Commission

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Workshop - EDI

A general overview of the Commission’s EDI program to include a review of the EDI Training Aids. Participants will also have an opportunity to ask questions and get an immediate response from a member of the Commission’s EDI Quality Assurance Department.

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Workshop - Impact of Forms, Notices, and Filings

A brief discussion on the impact of Forms, Notices, and Filings (including EDI transactions) on the Commission Claims Processing System and how EDI is used to update information and generate notices to all parties.

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Workshop - Insurance Online Services

The Insurance Department is now offering many of our paper form filing services online. This session will give attendees an opportunity to learn what forms they can now submit online, and how our paperless processes can increase efficiency for all of our stakeholders. We will also discuss the Virginia Employers Non-Compliance Alert System (VENCA) and how this tool can be of value to both employers and employees.

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Amanda Abernathey

Amanda Abernathey

Amanda Abernathey is an EDI Compliance Analyst in the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s EDI Quality Assurance Department. Since she began her employment with the Commission in 2010, she has served as an Administrative & Office Specialist, a Compliance Specialist and a Team Lead while working in the Commission’s Insurance Department. She previously served as an Office Coordinator at Richmond Magazine.

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Annette Spearman

Annette Spearman

Annette Spearman is a Team Leader/Facilitator in the Claims Services Department and has been with the Commission for 27 years. Annette has held numerous positions with an extensive background in awards technical issues. Ms. Spearman is a native of South Carolina and presently resides in the City of Richmond.

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Aubrey Chigwada

Aubrey Chigwada

Aubrey currently serves as the Insurance Department Manager for the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Commission. The Insurance Department is responsible for ensuring that employers required to insure under the Act for workers’ compensation do so. It also serves the public by processing and approving Rejection of Coverage filings and by providing information and guidance on coverage requirements, regulations, existing coverage and other insurance questions. Insurance also ensures proper and timely insurer filings such as policies and cancellations, and also oversees professional employer organizations. The Insurance Department is staffed with 15 professionals that are split into two units; Compliance and Investigations.

Aubrey graduated from VCU with a B.Sc. in Finance with concentration in Risk Management. Prior to joining the Commission Aubrey spent time as a Worker’s Compensation Adjuster, a Corporate Risk Management Analyst and most recently the Director of Risk Management for a P& C Brokerage.

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Barbara Saunders

Barbara Saunders

Barbara Balogh Saunders is Assistant Ethics Counsel for the Virginia State Bar. She has held this position since June 2001. Ms. Saunders is responsible for review and investigation of unauthorized practice of law complaints and, along with other Ethics Department counsel, staffs the Ethics Hotline, providing informal advice by telephone and email to members of the bar and their staff regarding application of the Rules of Professional Conduct and Unauthorized Practice of Law Rules. Ms. Saunders graduated from Mary Washington College and earned her law degree from T. C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond. Before coming to the bar, Ms. Saunders practiced law for four years as an associate at SandsAnderson, in Richmond, and for eight years at Poindexter & Schorsch in Waynesboro, VA, where she was a partner. Her areas of practice included insurance defense, workers compensation (claimants and employers/carriers), domestic relations and social security disability.

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Brad Young

Brad Young

Brad Young was born and raised in Arkansas. He attended college there, served in the Army as an armor officer, and then attended law school at Washington and Lee. He was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1990. Early in his career he clerked for two federal judges. He joined HammondTownsend in 2014.

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Brandi McAteer

Brandi McAteer

Brandi McAteer is a Senior Analyst in the Claims Services Department and has been with the Commission for 22 years. Brandi has held numerous positions, in various capacities, with an emphasis on finding resolutions to complex awards issues. She resides in Chesterfield County with her husband and two children.

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Charles F. Midkiff

Charles F. Midkiff

Charles F. (Chuck) Midkiff is the founding attorney of the law firm Midkiff, Muncie & Ross P.C. Mr. Midkiff earned his J.D. from the College of William and Mary School of Law and his B.S. from Old Dominion University. He has established his law practice in the areas of workers’ compensation, insurance defense, and complex civil litigation. Mr. Midkiff is AV-rated by Martindale and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® since 1995, and has been named a “Super Lawyer” and “Legal Elite”. He will be talking about ethics in the practice of Workers’ Compensation Law.

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Christen W. Burkholder

Christen W. Burkholder

Christen W. Burkholder is the managing Deputy Commissioner for the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Bristol Regional Office. He graduated from Emory & Henry College, B. A., 1984, and the University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1988. Prior to joining the Commission in 2012, he was an attorney in private practice in Bristol, Virginia for 24 years.

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Coleen Vaughan

Coleen Vaughan

Coleen Vaughan is a Team Leader with ESIS (Chubb company), a third party administrator for Workers’ Compensation. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. She has been employed with ESIS for 20 years and previously worked for the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Risk Management Department.

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Darla Croce

Darla Croce

Darla Croce is the Director of Business Development with REHAB AT WORK. She graduated from Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiotherapy. The last twenty-five years have been spent primarily in the workers’ compensation field. Twenty-four of those years have been with REHAB AT WORK, where she has held the positions of a work hardening coordinator, a clinic manager, and a regional manager. Darla also lends her experience to quality assurance, and in-house training for REHAB AT WORK. Darla has also presented at the IARP National Conference, as well as the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Educational Association Conference.

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David Falcon

David Falcon

David Falcon is a founding partner of the law firm Ackerman and Falcon, LLP and his practices focuses exclusively on the representation of injured workers. Mr. Falcon is a frequent lecturer and has also authored articles on the subject of workers’ compensation. He is currently the Secretary of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation American Inn of Court, and also serves on the executive board. He is also a member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (VTLA) and the Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG). Mr. Falcon received his undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary and his law degree from the University of Richmond.

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David Griffin

David Griffin

Born in the highlands of Augusta County Virginia, Griffin attended the University of Virginia undergraduate majoring in public administration and obtaining a minor in Southern History. He then attended Vermont Law School to focus on environmental law, which he used while serving as a Captain in the United States Army JAG Corps as the Chief of Claims and Administrative Law for the Army of New England before returning to the Valley of Virginia. He is licensed in Virginia, South Carolina and the District of Columbia. He has three children and his wife of 30 years is also an attorney, which makes family dispute resolution something like trying to reason with Commissioner Marshall on why he should pay for the next beer. He is an avid backpacker, river keeper, apiarist, rider of all things Harley Davidson and for 38 years has volunteered as a leader with the Boy Scouts. He also serves as a Town Attorney for three localities among other sectors of his practice.

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David Bennett

David Bennett

David began his career with the Commission in 2010 with the rollout of WebFile for Attorneys. He currently coordinates WebFile support, research, and documentation for Claimants, Attorneys, and Claim Administrators. As the Online Specialist in the Commission’s Outreach Services Department, he also develops the Commission’s websites and serves as the Webmaster.

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Deborah Woods Blevins

Deborah Woods Blevins

Deborah Wood Blevins is the Managing Deputy Commissioner of the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission Alternative Dispute Resolution Department. She is a 1980 honors graduate from Swarthmore College and a 1983 graduate of the University Of Virginia School Of Law. Deputy Commissioner Blevins was a partner in Gilmer, Sadler, Ingram, Sutherland, & Hutton, LLP in Pulaski, Virginia prior to joining the Commission in 2004. She is a mediator certified by the Judicial Council of the Virginia Supreme Court and a mediator mentor and trainer. Deputy Commissioner Blevins is Vice-Chair of the Joint ADR Committee of the Virginia State Bar/Virginia Bar Association and Co-chair of the Dispute Resolution Committee of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards & Commissions (IAIABC).

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Debbie Moreau

Debbie Moreau

Debbie Moreau, Certified Case Manager (CCM), Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), Certified Disability Management Specialist (CDMS). Debbie is the President of Rehabilitation Perspectives, Inc., in Burke, Virginia. She earned her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from West Virginia University and has over 36 years of experience in all facets of vocational rehabilitation, medical case management and expert testimony. Debbie provides her expertise in each of these areas to diverse populations with physical and psychological disabilities covered by Federal, local government, private insurance companies and self-insured programs. As an innovative leader in the Vocational Rehabilitation services industry, Debbie was an honored presenter at the 25th Anniversary MWCEA Conference in 2009 and Keynote Speaker at the Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals Conference in 2012. Debbie is a Certified Rehabilitation Provider for Virginia/Maryland and is a Member of the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals and Virginia Association of Rehabilitation Professionals in the Private Sector.

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Deborah Rhodes

Deborah Rhodes

Deborah C Rhodes graduated from Manchester High School in June of 1973, after having worked her senior year at the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission as a Cooperative Office Education participant. Deborah has been employed with the Commission for combined total of 39 years and is now serving as the Claims Services Technical Liaison providing training on awards and claims issues to our trading partners and internal employees. During Deborah’s (Debbie) employment with the Commission she has held numerous positions including, Claims Services Team Leader in the Claims Services Department, Awards Team Leader in the Awards Department, Microfilm/Imaging Lead Clerk in the Imaging Department and First Reports Specialist in the previous First Reports Unit.

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Doug Landau

Doug Landau

Doug Landau of ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., in Herndon, Virginia went to college, grad & law school and is a member of the Florida, Connecticut, Virginia, New Jersey, & the
 District of Columbia bars. Doug teaches, tries cases & helps injured people. The only lawyer on this continent with an “open book” policy, his clients regularly come to court, his races, classes & speeches to watch him “in action.”

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Dr. Gaurav Bhatia

Dr. Gaurav Bhatia

Dr. Bhatia is a Harvard trained board certified pain management physician and a board certified anesthesiologist. He specializes in treating patients with spine related back and neck pain disorders, and has extensive training in treating patients with chronic pain conditions. His area of expertise encompasses RSD/CRPS, cancer-related pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis related pain, and sports related injuries. He is proficient in performing several advanced surgical and interventional techniques including epidural injections, imaged guided joint injections, radiofrequency ablation treatments, spinal cord stimulator, sympathetic nerve blocks and vertebroplasty.

Dr. Bhatia also serves as chair of the pain committee at UVA Culpeper hospital and is a valued consultant for both acute and chronic pain service. His clinical research has been published in leading medical journals such as JAMA, ACOG, and Hindawi. He has also authored chapters in several pain medicine textbooks. He has been a member of the International Society of Interventional Pain, American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, and American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Dr. Bhatia firmly believes that chronic pain affects patients in more ways than just physical discomfort. It affects a person's mood, their lifestyle, and puts a strain on their psychosocial and socioeconomic quality of life. Therefore, it is imperative that treatment is initiated early on in a thoughtful, meticulous and efficient manner to minimize the impact on an individual's lifestyle. As a physician, it is very gratifying and satisfying for him to help patients at the time of an acute need, and to see a patient improve and get back to his/her activities. He stresses on the importance of educating his patients about their medical ailments and treating them with the same integrity and honesty if the roles were reversed. His primary focus is to utilize both interventional and non-invasive options to design a treatment based on evidence based multi-modal therapy approach. With collaboration with other therapeutic modalities such as physical therapy and surgical options, the advancements have truly resulted in patient's ability to return to their functionality as early as possible.

Dr. Bhatia completed his pain management training at Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston after completing his Anesthesia and Critical Care training at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Dr. Bhatia obtained his Doctor of Medicine from Medical College of Virginia at VCU in Richmond after earning his Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry at Virginia Tech.

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Dhruv B. Pateder

Dhruv B. Pateder

Dhruv B. Pateder is a board-certified orthopedic and neurosurgical spine surgeon with Town Center Orthopaedic Associates in Northern Virginia. He graduated the orthopaedic surgery residence program at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and the neurosurgical spine fellowship program at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. He has been in practice for over 10 years and specializes in non-operative and operative spinal care. While his surgical practice encompasses all techniques, his major focus is on minimally invasive cervical and lumbar surgery. He had done extensive research on spinal conditions, lectured nationally and internationally on a myriad of spine related topics. Dr. Pateder is also an instructor of minimally invasive spinal techniques to other surgeons in the US and internationally.

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Lonnie D. Davis, MD

Lonnie D. Davis, MD

Lonnie D. Davis, MD is an Orthopaedic Surgeon with a focus on sports and occupational orthopaedic injuries with Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. He graduated from University of Virginia School of Medicine. He completed his orthopaedic residency at Indiana University and went on to do a fellowship in Sports Medicine at Georgetown University / Nirschl Orthopaedics. His practice is located in Northern Virginia and he has worked with athletes at all levels from professional to recreational.

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Sarah T. Melton

Sarah T. Melton

Sarah T. Melton is Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the Gatton College of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University. She is the Clinical Pharmacist at Highpower, PC in Lebanon, Virginia and the Johnson City Community Health Center in Johnson City, TN. Dr. Melton received her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (1991) and Doctor of Pharmacy (1994) degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia School of Pharmacy (VCU). She completed a Fellowship in Psychiatric Pharmacy at VCU in 1996. She has been a board certified psychiatric pharmacist since 1997 and a board certified ambulatory care pharmacist since 2011. She has been a Certified Geriatric Pharmacist since 2005 and is a Fellow of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. She performs Medication Therapy Management in the areas of psychiatric and neurologic pharmacy, addiction, and other primary care disorders. She works directly with patients and an interdisciplinary team in the area of substance abuse at Highpower, PC.

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Dr. William Platt

Dr. William Platt

Dr. William Platt is a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician who has been in private practice since 1990. He received his medical degree from the University of Tennessee in Memphis and completed a residency program in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Platt is Board Certified in Pain Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Addiction Medicine. He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Independent Medical Evaluators and the Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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Drema Thompson

Drema Thompson

Drema Thompson has over 25 years of successful experience fostering positive social change in administration for banking, insurance, finance, and healthcare industries. She possesses a Bachelor of Business Administration from Averett University, a Master in Healthcare Informatics from Walden University, and is currently completing Doctorial Studies in Business Administration with specialization in Healthcare Information Management. She has taken her passion for excellence along with experience managing workers’ compensation medical bill reimbursement methodologies, adjudication processes, and provider relations for over 2 million medical bills to join the Workers Compensation Commission as Manager of the Medical Fee Services Department.

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Elizabeth Blowe

Elizabeth Blowe

Elizabeth Blowe is one of the EDI Compliance Analyst in the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s EDI Quality Assurance Department. Since she began her employment with the Commission in 2007, she has served as one of the EDI Specialist within the EDI QA Department and also held various positions within different departments at the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, including the former Awards and First Reports Departments.

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Eric Patten

Eric Patten

Eric Patten, RN, BSN, is senior director of clinical at One Call Care Management. He has over 24 years of nursing experience in critical care, emergency care, diabetes education and catastrophic case management. Prior to joining One Call in 2011, Eric served as a catastrophic nurse case manager for 12 years. He has a rich understanding of the daily challenges that workers’ compensation claims adjusters and nurse case managers face and a unique ability to offer them support on complex, high-exposure files. His clinical specialists team also helps to address issues related to comorbid conditions and identify opportunities for savings, improved care and optimal return-to-work results.

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Erin Bishop

Erin Bishop

Erin currently serves as the Supervisor of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Department at the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Erin manages the day-to-day operations of the ADR Department to provide the workers' compensation system with an expeditious and efficient alternative to litigation for the resolution of disputes. The Department answers questions and provides assistance regarding workers' compensation benefits and Commission procedures and works to quickly resolve issues and disputes by facilitating the exchange of information between the parties. The ADR Department currently has 23 certified mediators conducting mediations daily in six locations throughout Virginia.

Erin graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Conflict Transformation and a Minor in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. She continued on to obtain her M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Erin is a Virginia Supreme Court Certified Mediator and member of the Virginia Mediation Network. Prior to joining the Commission, Erin worked at the Office of the Attorney General as a Dispute Resolution Specialist in the Consumer Protection Section. She also worked for a number of years at the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator, where she focused on conciliating and mediating Fair Housing complaints of discrimination. Additionally, Erin serves as a volunteer mediator for the Office of Employment Dispute Resolution under the umbrella of the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management.

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Greg Harbison

Greg Harbison

Mr. Harbison has practiced law in Virginia since 1998, handling thousands of worker’s compensation and Social Security Disability cases, from minor injuries to complex cases involving catastrophic injuries and death. He brings a blend of compassion, personal attention, and legal prowess to each of his clients’ cases.

Recognized by Super Lawyers® Since 2007 & "Best Lawyers" in U.S. News & World Report Greg Harbison has served as the Legislative Chair for the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, where he advocates at the General Assembly on behalf of injured workers. A speaker and consultant for workers’ compensation law, he also contributes to the Annual Workers’ Compensation Advanced Practice Retreat education program for other lawyers who represent injured workers. Because of this dedication, he has been recognized with numerous honors, including recognition in Super Lawyers® Magazine from 2007 to 2016, and being named in the “Best Lawyers” list in U.S. News & World Report in 2015.

Gregory Harbison graduated from the University of Virginia in 1993 with a degree in Economics. He graduated from Widener University School of Law in 1997, with honors, where he served as Internal Managing Editor of the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law. An active community member, Mr. Harbison is a member and trustee at Shady Grove United Methodist Church and supports the United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. He lives just outside of Richmond with his wife Brenda and two children.

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Helen Conley

Helen Conley

Helen Conley has worked for the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2012. She serves as a Systems Analyst within the Project Management Office, supporting the Judicial, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and Correspondence Management departments. She graduated from the Honors Program at Randolph-Macon College with a double major in Psychology and Spanish. Prior to coming to the Commission, she was a business analyst and then implementation manager with a Fortune 500 healthcare logistics company.

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James E. Swiger

James E. Swiger

James E. Swiger of THE LAW OFFICE OF JAMES E. SWIGER received his J.D. with distinction from George Mason University School of Law and his B.A. from Villanova University. After clerking for the USDC Richmond Division, Jim has been in private practice since 1982.

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Jeff Shreve

Jeff Shreve

Jeff Shreve oversees the Walmart Workers’ Compensation for Claims Management Inc in both Virginia and Massachusetts. During his seven years at Claims Management he has also managed the states of Arkansas, Wyoming, Kentucky, Wyoming, Mississippi and Missouri. He completed his undergrad at the University of Arkansas and is currently completing his Masters with American Public University.

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Jeffrey W. Saunders

Jeffrey W. Saunders

Jeffrey W. Saunders has a longstanding career in insurance defense litigation, with extensive experience in, and specific emphasis on, workers’ compensation litigation. Jeff has practiced in the insurance defense arena as both staff and panel counsel, formerly serving as counsel with Sands Anderson P.C. and Taylor Walker P.C. Prior to his legal career, Jeff worked as an exercise physiologist in the Richmond area, primarily in a clinical setting at Johnston-Willis Hospital, where he develop rehabilitation programs to help injured workers return to work. In his 19 years of practice, Jeff has represented scores of Employers, Insurers and Third-Party Administrators in all aspects of workers’ compensation issues. His experience includes defending matters involving fatalities, occupational disease, hearing loss, disfigurement, psychiatric injury and permanent total disability claims.

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Jimese Pendergraft Sherrill

Jimese Pendergraft Sherrill

Jimese Pendergraft Sherrill is a Deputy Commissioner in the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Judicial Department and certified mediator and mediator mentor for the Commission’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Department. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Shippensburg University in 1984 and a Juris Doctorate from the T. C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond, in 1987. She began her career representing claimants, but ultimately specialized in workers’ compensation defense. She also served as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Portsmouth, Virginia, where she handled personal injury, employment and workers’ compensation matters.

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Jonnie L. Speight

Jonnie L. Speight

Jonnie L. Speight is with the Roanoke law firm of Lucas & Kite, P.L.C., where she practices workers' compensation defense. She is a 1983 magna cum laude graduate of Old Dominion University, and a 1986 cum laude graduate of Washington and Lee School of Law. She served as a law clerk to Supreme Court of Virginia Justice Roscoe B. Stephenson, Jr., before entering private practice. She was the 2003 chair and the 2002 vice-chair of the Workers' Compensation Section of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys. Jonnie has been voted by her peers to Best Lawyers® in America since 2006 in Virginia workers' compensation law and was voted by her peers in 2017 as Roanoke Workers' Compensation Law - Employers "Lawyer of the Year.” She has taught numerous seminars, published numerous articles, and counseled countless employers and insurers on Virginia workers' compensation law. She served as an Adjunct Professor teaching trial advocacy at Washington and Lee School of law from 2007 to 2012. Jonnie has represented self-insureds, employers and insurers for decades.

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Josh Wulf

Josh Wulf

Josh Wulf is the managing partner of the Northern Virginia office of Midkiff, Muncie & Ross. He graduated from Duke University with degrees in Political Science and History, and he is a graduate of William and Mary Law School. Josh has 20 years of experience handling Virginia workers' compensation cases. Working closely with local businesses, global corporations, and insurance companies, he helps develop policies, investigate accidents, and litigate claims. Josh is a frequent speaker on various workers' compensation topics.

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Kathleen Grace Walsh

Kathleen Grace Walsh

Kathleen Grace Walsh is the owner of Law Office of Kathleen Grace Walsh in Occoquan, Virginia. She obtained her undergraduate degree from George Washington University and her law degree from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University. She has practiced on behalf of claimants in workers’ compensation claims for over 30 years. She is the chairperson of the Virginia Trail Lawyers Workers’ Compensation Committee for 2017-2018 and serves on the Executive Committee of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Inn of Court.

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Lauren M. Hill

Lauren M. Hill

Lauren M. Hill is a staff attorney in the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Judicial Department and a certified mediator for the Commission’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Department. She graduated magna cum laude from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and then attended the University of Richmond School of Law, where she graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree. Before joining the Commission, Lauren completed internships with two circuit courts in Virginia, the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia and the Virginia Employment Commission.

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Kevin Glennon

Kevin Glennon

Kevin Glennon, RN, BSN, is vice president of clinical programs at One Call Care Management. He has over 30 years of experience in healthcare, encompassing clinical and claims management for workers’ compensation, auto and general liability. His background includes medical case management of complex and catastrophic injuries and long-term disabilities. In his current position, Kevin manages an extensive clinical education and quality assurance program for home care providers, and an in-house staff that oversees medical care coordination for post-discharge injuries. He also partners with One Call’s rehab specialists to provide solutions for both short and long-term claims.

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Lesley S. Wagner

Lesley S. Wagner

Ms. Wagner delivers over 16 years of successful experience in the healthcare industry. As the Practice Advocacy Manager for the Medical Society of Virginia, she devotes her efforts and skills toward changing practice paradigms, shaping new market approaches and driving meaningful training for the next generation of medical practice staff in today’s ever-evolving landscape. With in-practice experience in her background, she is valued for her insightful knowledge, coupled with patience and professionalism in providing the most relevant and necessary curriculum to practices across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Her professional certification designations are a result of intense study and mastery of programs from The American Academy of Professional Coders and Practice Management Institute. She is a sought after instructor and advisor for programs and service training including Professional Medical Coding Curriculum, ICD-10 Coding, collections, auditing and documentation.

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Dr. Lonnie Davis

Lonnie Davis

Lonnie D. Davis, MD is an Orthopaedic Surgeon with a focus on sports and occupational orthopaedic injuries with Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. He graduated from University of Virginia School of Medicine. He completed his orthopaedic residency at Indiana University and went on to do a fellowship in Sports Medicine at Georgetown University / Nirschl Orthopaedics. His practice is located in Northern Virginia and he has worked with athletes at all levels from professional to recreational.

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Linda Slough

Linda Slough

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LINDA D. SLOUGH, from the Roanoke office of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, previously represented claimants in workers’ compensation cases. She received her B.A. from James Madison University and her J.D. from the University of Richmond’s T.C. Williams School of Law. She has received some awards and recognition while practicing, but the majority of the audience has “been there and done that”, so it was not worth mentioning. She does want to give a shout out to her two Yorkies, Samson and Newton.

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Mechelle Esparza-Harris

Mechelle Esparza-Harris

Mechelle Esparza-Harris has served as Insurance Financial Examiner of Self-Insured’s at the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission since March of 2015. Mechelle received her B.A. from Hampton University and holds an Associate in Risk Management, Associate in Underwriting and is Certified as an Insurance Counselor. Prior to working with the Commission, Mechelle worked as a Large Account Manager & Agency Management Specialist for an insurance company; providing insurance protection and risk management services for large, mid-size and small employers.

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Michael Allen

Michael Allen

Michael Allen has worked for the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association since 1998. He serves as the General Manager of the VADA Group Self Insurance Association which provides workers compensation insurance to roughly 80% of Virginia’s franchised dealers, insuring approximately $1 Billion in payroll. Michael also serves as Chief Information Officer for the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association (VADA) and has served on the Board of Directors of DRIVE SMART Virginia since 2006 where he is currently the Chairman of their Government Relations Committee. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech and served in the United States Marine Corps.

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Michael Meade

Michael Meade

Michael Meade has worked for the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2011. He serves as a Systems Analyst within the PMO supporting the QA-EDI and Outreach Services departments. Prior to coming to the commission, he worked in the printing industry as an Analyst supporting the online content of one of the largest publishers of Science and Medical journals in the world.

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Mike Paladino

Mike Paladino

Michael Paladino is the Director of Claims and Insurance Operations at the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (VCUHS) in Richmond, VA. He is also the founder of MJP Risk Management, LLC, an insurance and healthcare consulting company working with clients such as Partners Healthcare and Johns Hopkins Hospitals. Mike has more than thirty-five years of workers’ compensation, managed care and business experience; 25 of these years have been spent working for two major national insurance carriers; Crum & Forster Insurance Companies and Zenith National.

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Mike Jones

Mike Jones

Mike Jones is the President of MAJOR Security Consulting & Design. Mike is a retired law enforcement executive, having served as Chief of Police for the Va Capitol Police as well as Chief of the Town Police for Chatham and Altavista Virginia. Mike's public safety practices specializes in workplace violence and physical security with an emphasis on courthouse security. Mike also serves as the security consultant for the Commission.

In addition to his security consulting practice, Mike is an adjunct professer for the VCU WIlder School of Government and a member of the Board of Directors of the Chesterfield-Colonoal Heights Crime Solvers. Some of Mike's "MAJOR" projects include consulting for the Baltimore City Police, the Pan American Health Organization (A branch of the World Health Organization), multiple state & local agencies as well as private industry.

Mike lives in Midlothian Va and is married to a reitred social worker - Ginger and they have one son - Nick - who is studying government and sociology at the College of William & Mary.

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Ramesh Murthy

Ramesh Murthy

Ramesh Murthy is an officer in Penn Stuart’s Abingdon, Virginia office. He graduated from the T.C. Williams School of law at The University of Richmond in 1990, and King University in 1987. His twenty six years of practice have been devoted to the defense of employers and carriers in human resource matters. He has consistently been listed in Best Lawyers in America and Virginia Super Lawyers in the field of workers’ compensation defense.

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Richard Gallanti

Richard Gallanti

Richard Gallanti, MSC - Rick served in the United States Marine Corps and earned his Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling from The Johns Hopkins University. He is a rehabilitation counselor, computer career specialist and subject matter expert with over 20 years of counseling experience. Rick has evaluated over 1,800 disabled Veterans in the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Services program, and hundreds of injured workers and long-term disability clients seeking alternative employment. He also specializes in workplace ergonomics, home modifications, and assistive technologies for individuals with special needs. Rick is a Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the United States Department of Labor, a Rehabilitation Service Provider for the Maryland WCC, and a member of the American Counseling Association. Currently, he is the Program Director for Rehabilitation Perspectives’ specialized Vocational Testing and Assessment services.

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Richard D. Lucas

Richard D. Lucas

Richard Lucas is the President of Lucas & Kite, PLC. Mr. Lucas earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Richmond. Mr. Lucas is AV-rated by Martindale and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 1995, Best Lawyers’ 2011 Roanoke Workers’ Compensation Lawyer of the Year and listed as “Super Lawyer” in 2006. He is fellow of the Roanoke Law Foundation, was past chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section, Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, and a member of the Virginia State Bar, Virginia Bar Association, Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, American Bar Association and Roanoke Bar Association.

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Robert Flax

Robert Flax

Bob Flax has practiced law in Virginia since 1981; Mr. Flax attended the University of Richmond. Mr. Flax is a member of the Virginia State Bar, family law section and the Member’s Insurance Committee. Mr. Flax is former Chairman, general practice section, of the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service and former member of Publications Committee. He has been recognized by CancerLinc as “Volunteer Attorney of the Year” (2015) and by the Virginia State Bar for “Outstanding Achievement” for service as Chairman of First Day in Practice Program and General Practice Section Chairman (1993, 1994)

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Ryan Duke

Ryan Duke

Ryan Duke is the Assistant Manager in the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s EDI—QA Department. Since he began his employment with the Commission in 2006, he has served as a Team Leader in the Customer Contact Center and a Specialist in the Claims Services Department.

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Sarah Himmel

Sarah Himmel

Sarah Himmel is a principal in the firm of Two Rivers Law Group, PC, and practices in the firm’s Southwest Virginia office located in Christiansburg, Virginia. With over 25 years of workers' compensation experience, Sarah provides daily advice to insurance carriers on a broad spectrum of issues including claims involving occupational disease claims, cumulative trauma versus injuries by accident, compensable consequence and change-in-condition claims, statute of limitation defenses, de facto awards, willful misconduct, negotiating lump sum and structured settlements, and fraud and other credibility defenses.

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Scott Johnson

Scott Johnson

Scott Johnson is a Director with the Law firm of Hancock, Daniel, Johnson & Nagle, PC. He graduated with honors from University of Richmond in 1988 with a BA in Political Science and Communications. He graduated from the TC Williams School of Law at University of Richmond in 1991.

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Seth Carroll

Seth Carroll

Seth Carroll is a founding partner of CLG. He focuses his practice on litigation for clients and their families who have suffered serious injuries or death, catastrophic on-the-job injuries, and for those who have been discriminated against or deprived of their constitutional rights. Seth has tried to verdict or settled numerous personal injury, discrimination, and workers’ compensation cases. Seth has successfully represented his clients against companies of all sizes, including large multi-national corporations.

Seth is skilled in handling a large number of catastrophic cases. He has administrative experience in the EEOC, the Department of Labor and the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. Seth has litigated cases at all levels of Virginia state court and has litigation experience in federal court in both the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia. Additionally, Seth has experience in appellate work at both the Virginia Court of Appeals and the Virginia Supreme Court.

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Stephanie Sweeney

Stephanie Sweeney

Stephanie Sweeney is the EDI QA Manager in the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s EDI Quality Assurance Department. Since she began her employment with the Commission in 2000, she has served as an Awards Specialist and Team Leader in the Commission’s old Awards Department. Prior to accepting a position in the EDI QA Department, Stephanie also served as a Subject Matter Expert during the Commission’s Technology Alignment Program where the Commission’s new Claims Processing System was developed and the EDI Program implemented.

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Suzanne T. Soule

Suzanne T. Soule

Suzanne T. Soule is the Assistant Manager of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Insurance Department. During her 17-year tenure with the Commission, Suzanne has held positions in various departments. Before joining the Commission, she was a paralegal for a general practice law firm in Richmond, Virginia.

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Tammy Tomczyk

Tammy Tomczyk

Tammy is a Senior Principal in the Healthcare Practice of Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting, Inc. She has 25 years of actuarial experience and specializes in actuarial and strategic consulting to health plans, managed care organizations, providers, and state and Federal regulators. Her present responsibilities include product development and pricing for many types of managed care and traditional health insurance plans, Medicare Advantage pricing, development of provider capitation rates and support for other risk based contracts, fee schedule analysis, financial management and forecasting, and underwriting process reviews. She also works with payers and providers in the design and review of risk sharing arrangements and other value-based contracts. In addition, Tammy also provides significant support to several state regulators in areas such as rate review, legislative analysis, special studies, and performing microsimulation modeling to assess market-wide impacts of proposed and passed legislation. She is considered an industry expert on the Affordable Care Act and is currently assisting states assess the impact of various options available to stabilize their insurance markets. Prior to joining Oliver Wyman, Tammy was an actuary with a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan.

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Patricia Sherron

Patricia Sherron

Patricia Sherron is a staff attorney in the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Judicial Department. She is also a certified mediator and conducts issue mediations. Ms. Sherron graduated magna cum laude with honors from Westminster College, PA in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She graduated from T.C. Williams School of Law, cum laude, in 1996. Prior to joining the Commission in 1998, Ms. Sherron clerked for the Honorable Elizabeth B. Lacy of the Supreme Court of Virginia and the Honorable James W. Benton of the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Trish also spent ten years as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Richmond.

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Vivian Lane

Vivian Lane

Vivian R. Lane currently serves as the manager of the Claims Services Department. Prior to that she has held over 12 administrative positions in her 29 year career with the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission. In 2012 Ms. Lane served as the agency's Executive Director in an interim capacity during a brief change in leadership and is a member of the Southern Association of Workers' Compensation Administrators (SAWCA).

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Lynne Ferris

Lynne Ferris

Lynne M. Ferris is a Deputy Commissioner in the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission's Judicial Department and certified mediator and mediator mentor for the Commission's Alternative Dispute Resolution Department. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo in 1988 and a Juris Doctorate from Union University at Albany Law School in 1991. Ms. Ferris has been admitted to the Virginia, New York, and Connecticut Bars. She is a former clerk for the Department of Labor Office of Administrative Law Judges in Newport News, Virginia, and was engaged in the private practice of law in Norfolk, Virginia.

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Renee Marks

Renee Marks

Reneé Marks is the Assistant Manager of the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission's Claims Services Department. During her 26-year tenure with the Commission, Renee has held positions in various departments. Renee also serves as the Administrator of the Uninsured Employer's Fund on behalf of the Commission.

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William R. Culbreth

William Culbreth

William R. “Bill” Culbreth is a Deputy Commissioner in the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Judicial Department and certified mediator for the Commission’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Department. He received his B.A. from Wake Forest University in 1984 and his J.D. from the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond in 1990. Prior to joining the Commission in 1996, Bill was in private practice in Richmond specializing in workers’ compensation and medical malpractice issues. Deputy Commissioner Culbreth is also an adjunct faculty member at Eastern Mennonite University and previously was an adjunct faculty member at James Madison University.

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