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Published on Jun 13
Over the last few months, we’ve been working on building your Return-to-Work Toolkit. We’re going to provide the last piece needed to help you return injured employees to work in a safe and timely manner – vocational rehabilitation.
But first, let’s take a look at the strategies we’ve outlined previously. They are:
- Collaborating with your Managed Care Organization (MCO)
- Communicating effectively
- Using creative thinking
- Utilizing available programs
- Creating modified-duty job positions
- Writing effective job descriptions
- Transitional work programs
Now let’s discover how vocational rehabilitation can provide you with additional flexibility in your return-to-work strategies.
What is Vocational Rehabilitation?
Vocational Rehabilitation is a series of services designed to facilitate the entrance into or return to work by people who have experienced an injury or disability. The program is intended for lost time claims only.
Before an injured worker can enter the program, they must be referred either by their employer, the physician of record, a third-party administrator (TPA), the MCO, or another authorized party. If referred to vocational rehabilitation and accepted, the injured employee must agree to participate.
Here are some key factors to consider when determining if vocational rehabilitation is a good option:
- The claim must be a lost time claim.
- The injured worker must be off work at the time of the referral.
- The Injured worker is experiencing a significant impediment to maintaining employment due to the allowed condition.
- The injured worker has work restrictions.
Vocational rehabilitation programs offer many different services, including:
- Job development
- Job retention
- Job placement
- Job search
- Work hardening
- On the job training
- Transferable Skills Analysis
Remain at Work Program
Employers also have access to a Remain at Work program for their Ohio Workers’ Compensation claims. The Remain at Work program is for injured workers’ who have medical-only claims but are experiencing difficulties that could lead to lost time.
If this is the case, contact your MCO right away to discuss the situation and collectively determine if the injured worker needs any specialized services. Remember, early intervention is key to a quick and safe recovery.
Your MCO will document the difficulties the injured employee is having and then develop a remain at work plan that meets their needs. Services covered under the remain at work plan include:
- Ergonomic Study
- Job analysis
- Transitional work
- Physical or occupational therapy offered on-site
- Job modification
- Tools and equipment
- Remain-at-work field case management
- Gradual return to work
- On the job training
It’s important to remember that if your organization experiences a workplace accident, it is imperative that you communicate with your MCO early and often, discuss the different return to work options, and determine the best strategy to address the injury and ensure a safe and effective recovery.
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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