Thank you state mediators!
There is a developing trend in workers' compensation. Mediation is becoming the norm rather than the exception. Florida went this way a long time ago, with mediations occurring in the early 1990s and the mandatory mediation model becoming a reality in 1994.
The International Association of Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) has noticed the trend toward mediation. Georgia has been offering mediation for a number of years. Virginia has recently implemented an expansion of their mediation process, which now includes both issue mediation and case resolution. Washington State has a very successful mediation program.
If you have never heard of the IAIABC, it has been around almost as long as north American workers' compensation. Workers' compensations celebrated its 100th anniversary on this continent in 2011, and the IAIABC celebrates its 100th this fall at their annual convention in Austin, Texas. Their first meeting was in Lansing Michigan back in 1914 when leaders from seven jurisdictions gathered to discuss their challenges and best practices.
Since then, the IAIABC has tried to provide educational opportunities and to build collegiality among the regulators who run workers' compensation programs.
There is an IAIABC training program on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) being offered in July at the University of Pittsburg School of Law. They are going to review best practices, and address subjects including the reasons for using mediation, the skills mediators need, and the various theories of how to understand and facilitate negotiations. They will progress through theory and then present demonstrations and hold discussions. It is an avenue by which Pennsylvania will make their way towards greater prevalence of ADR in workers' compensation.
I became aware of the IAIABC efforts when they contacted us to contribute to the faculty for this program. I am proud that Mark Hill from the Melbourne/Sebastian District will travel to picturesque Pittsburgh to provide insight as to how workers' compensation mediation has developed and expanded in the last thirty-five years. Mr. Hill has been a part of our Melbourne District team for the last few years and I receive many positive comments on his knowledge, demeanor and dedication.
The fact is that Florida is a market that has been imaginative and innovative in terms of many subjects. That is in large part due to the imaginative and focused individuals who have practiced workers' compensation here over the years. I think we can be proud of our mediation process, and the many individuals who labor for you each day providing mediation services in the various offices around the state.
Thank you state mediators!