Managed Care

RTW Strategies that work!

Andrea Kiener
Return-to-Work Strategies
Reading time 4 Mins
Published on Nov 17

Ohio employers are faced with difficult tasks regarding their Ohio workers’ compensation programs, especially when it comes to getting an injured employee back to work. Studies show that the longer an injured employee is off work, the more difficult it is for them to return to their job. That’s why early intervention and return-to-work strategies are critical to lessening the impact lost days have on a business’s premiums and production.

Here are some tried and true methods to help get injured employees back to work:

Consistent Communication

When your company experiences a workplace injury, you can’t communicate too early or too often. Early communication with all relevant parties leads to early intervention by the experts. Open lines of communication with your Managed Care Organization (MCO) and any other appropriate parties immediately and utilize them frequently as needed. Your MCO can begin managing the injury and strategize on how to minimize lost days.

Creative Thinking

It’s commonplace to think that an injured employee must return to work in the exact same position they were in when their injury occurred. That’s not always the case though and there are often other options available. If both the employer and the MCO brainstorm ideas, together they can usually come up with good creative alternatives that may work out better for the returning employee.

For example: An employee who worked for a construction company suffered a shoulder injury. Because of the limitations resulting from his injury, he was unable to return to the same position right away. However, the employer worked with their MCO, the treating physician, and the therapists to develop a modified duty position for the employee. Part of his duties included sweeping up the shop, which also served as therapy for his injured shoulder. Not only did the temporary modified-duty position allow him to continue working and being productive, but his duties were also therapeutic in nature. 

Accurate Job Descriptions

A key component that helped make the above scenario successful was the fact that the MCO had the job description of the injured worker, along with descriptions for other positions within the company. There are often duties from other positions that can be incorporated into a modified-duty position. Your MCO may be able to discuss a hybrid approach with the treating physician, where the injured employee would perform a portion of their normal job duties as well as some of the duties from other positions.  Job descriptions are an essential tool in the development of effective modified-duty strategies.

Working with your MCO experts to develop a modified-duty position will not only help reduce excess lost days from your workers’ compensation experience, it will also help keep your premiums lower. Lost time claims are the most expensive claims for employers and keeping them to a minimum will have a direct impact on claims costs.

Utilize Available Programs

In Ohio, there are several programs available to employers to facilitate return to work for injured employees. Your MCO can assist you with these programs, such as:

  • Creating a modified-duty position,
  • Developing and implementing a Transitional Work Program,
  • Utilizing a Non-Profit Organization for return to work when you are unable to accommodate restrictions, and
  • Vocational Rehabilitation especially when the injured employee is unable to return to their normal position.

Lost time is the one factor that has the most impact on Ohio workers’ compensation premiums.  Therefore, it is essential that employers utilize all of the tools and strategies available to them as quickly and as often as possible.

Your MCO Partner

An MCO partner like Sheakley UniComp can guide you in creating and implementing return-to-work strategies that work. We can also help you understand more about the BWC and its processes. Your MCO serves both the best interests of your company and your employees by keeping your workers’ compensation costs down and returning injured employees to work quickly.

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