Propagating the new work disability paradigm for disability benefits & workers' comp systems


First Summit - May, 2006

The first of the 60 Summits ever held occurred in May, 2006 -- the same month that ACOEM officially adopted its work disability prevention guideline. The local chapter of the Disability Management Employer Coalition produced this prototype event, which was hosted by Kaiser Permanente.

The ACOEM work disability prevention guideline served as the framework for disussion. After a keynote presentation by Dr. Jennifer Christian, the roughly 75 attendees were broken into 16 small groups, each of which worked with one of the 16 recommendations made in the guideline. The groups were told to work together to come up with ways to implement the recommendation they had been assigned. Following the reports by the small groups, a group of 7 local panelists, each representing a different stakeholder group, reacted to the ACOEM guideline and to the ideas for action that had come out of the small groups. The panelists were an executive from Standard Insurance, a rehab professional from Liberty Northwest, the worker's compensation manager for Oregon Safeway Stores, an occupational medicine physician, a rehabilitation psychologist, a nurse case manager, and an employee working despite a chronic illness (a nurse who was a member of a union). The DMEC chapter considered this event their annual conference and planned no special follow-up.

Second Summit - May, 2007

Based on the success of the first Summit, Oregon decided to hold a second Summit in May, 2007. This had a different format from the first one. Following a keynote address by Dr. Jennifer Christian, two panel sessions were the highlight of the day. In the morning, a panel of five local physicians from different specialties described their perception of their role in the stay-at-work and return-to-work process, and in an interactive session with the audience, gave the employers and insurers ideas for how to work together more effectively. In the afternoon, panelists from organizations that have implemented various of the recommendations in the ACOEM work disability prevention described their programs and results obtained. The panelists came from Matrix Absence Management, Kaiser Permanente, the State of Washington's Centers of Occupational Health Excellence (COHE) Pilot Project, and Broward County Public Schools from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. At the close of the event, a sign-up sheet was passed around to encourage people to stay in touch with one another afterwards.


Both the first and the second Oregon Summits occurred prior to the realization that Action Groups should be formed to carry out the action plans developed during the Summits. No on-going grass roots activity specifically related to the Summits is occurring as of 2010. However, the local chapter of the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) which put on the events is still in active operation. In addition, personnel from Kaiser Permanente which provided the Oregon venue are participating actively in the California Consortium to Promote SAW/RTW, a 60 Summits affiliated group.

Additionally, the website of the Oregon Division of Workers' Compensation now now has a publication for healthcare providers on their website entitled "Keep your patients healthy: help them stay at work and return to work."

Effective Jan. 2, 2008, podiatrists, chiropractors, physician assistants, and naturopathic physicians who treat patients with Oregon workers’ compensation claims must certify to the director of the Department of Consumer & Business Services that they have reviewed and read informational materials developed by the Workers’ Compensation Division. The required materials include the Introduction to the ACOEM Guideline on Preventing Needless Work Disability by Helping People Stay Employed as authored by Dr. Jennifer Christian.

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