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Why I love the CWCI Conference

The 9 reasons I love CWCI’s annual conference.

  1. Consistently great content– timely, up-to-the minute data is analyzed and presented by experts who really understand the California work comp system, have deep experience in that system, and use that experience to draw inferences and conclusions that are highly relevant. No one does it better.
  2. Topics are different than you find most anywhere else – this is a huge challenge for conference organizers, yet every year Swedlow & Co. focus our attention on key issues.
  3. Example – Dr Kathryn Mueller’s discussion of what’s needed to obtain the best possible care and outcomes for work comp patients. Dr Mueller described what good “evidence” is, how it should be used in developing guidelines, and the integration of guidelines with utilization review. She also walked thru different approaches to best practices for RTW, the critical importance of functional outcome measures, and ended with a discussion of the latest thinking on pain management.

    That’s about 4 sessions’ worth of education in an hour, delivered by one of the nation’s leading experts. Damn she’s good.

  4. It’s not just about California. While the focus is on the Golden State, we learn a lot that is just as useful wherever you work. CWCI was one of the first to come out with definitive proof that physician dispensing is a costly scam, focused our attention on compounds before most of us had heard of them, researched spinal fusion claims, and examined the impact of the new ICD-10 coding scheme on work comp.
  5. They do all this in less than a day, yet…
  6. There’s plenty of time built into the agenda to meet and catch up with colleagues built.
  7. You get to hear Alex Swedlow, who may be the best presenter in the business. I’m biased as Alex is a good friend, but his dry-as-Death Valley wit, the way he weaves in lessons learned decades ago, and ability to pick out the one most important takeaway and ensure you understand it is unmatched.
  8. There’s a bar. I don’t mean a bunch of lawyers, altho there’s plenty of them, but an actual place to get cocktails. At lunch.
  9. It’s in Oakland, which means I have to travel to the west coast, where two of our kids are living, so I get to see them!
    Molly says hello from Santa Monica


One thought on “Why I love the CWCI Conference”

  1. Hi Joe,
    This is a rare post (from me) and maybe a somewhat of an unusual post. Thanks for your blog. I’ve followed CWCI research for years; their excellent work has filtered down over the years and has helped me in my career. That career started 31 years ago in San Francisco working as a clerk for the “Division of Industrial Accidents” (I’m pretty sure that is what the agency was called – wow time flies). I’d like to say to the CWCI, and the likes of Alex Swedlow, that there are folks doing business in Wisconsin and Illinois who have benefited from their work. Thank you! My wife was homesick in 1988ish and we moved back to Wisconsin. Joe, I too have a “kid” in CA, as well as a retirement place in Ventura (not quite retired – still in Wisconsin). California might get some bad press, but it is an incredible and beautiful state! Glen

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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