The Chamber’s health forum to focus on changes |

The Chamber’s health forum to focus on changes

John Seelmeyer

The effects of the changing face of healthcare in America on employers and workers alike will be spotlighted during the Sixth Annual Employer Health Forum sponsored by The Chamber.

And the region’s healthiest workplaces again will be recognized during the forum, which is scheduled from 7 a.m. to noon on Nov. 6 at the Silver Legacy Downtown Reno Ballroom.

About 300 people are expected to participate.

Much of the forum’s discussion will focus on the effects of the Affordable Care Act on employers and workers, said Sarah Sommers, chief executive officer of Solutions at Work, a Reno-based human resources consulting firm, and co-chair of the forum. The other co-chair is Melissa Davies, a benefits consultant at Clark & Associates in Reno.

“Companies are having to take a look at what ACA is doing to their bottom lines, what it is doing for their employers, and how they can manage it,” said Sommers.

Karen Kirkpatrick, a senior compliance advisor with Infinisource, will discuss employer-benefit strategies during the forum.

Jon Hager, executive director of Nevada Health Link, will discuss the operation of the state’s health insurance exchange.

Other speakers will examine steps that employers can take to improve the health and safety of their workers — an important step to help them recoup higher costs that may accompany the federal healthcare law.

“There is a direct ROI in that for companies,” said Sommers.

Dr. Tracey Green, the chief medical officer of the State of Nevada, will discuss ways of mitigating employer costs through prevention. Ray Gagne, national director of U.S. Physical Therapy Inc., will review innovative programs to reduce workplace injuries. A panel of mental health and HR specialists will review workplace-oriented mental health resources. Panelists will include Dr. Leah Steckline, director of behavioral health at Northern Nevada Medical Center, attorney Anthony Hall of Holland & Hart and Alexandra Crockett of the Crisis Call Center.

Finalists in the Healthiest Place to Work Awards sponsored by Humana include:

Small employers (25 or fewer employees): A Master Mechanic and Bosma Group PC.

Medium-sized employers (26-150 employees): Lumos & Associates and Noble Studios.

Large (150 or more employees): Caesars Entertainment (Harrah’s in Reno and Lake Tahoe and Harveys Lake Tahoe) and Saint Mary’s Health Plans.

This is the third year of the competition, and Sommers said the number of companies that were nominated — 21 this year — has grown each year.

She said participants in past health forums have reported that they’ve taken some of the best practices from nominated companies back with them to their own workplaces.

For registration information, see the events section at Cost is $40 for members of The Chamber, $60 for non-members and $75 at the door.