Ohio workers are injured in the workplace every day. For many, these injuries can be life-altering, especially when employers choose to work with a Managed Care Organization (MCO) that doesn’t provide timely comprehensive vocational case review in addition to medical case management. Through vocational case management, your MCO and vocational case manager can help identify opportunities for injured workers to return to work, aiding in the employee’s recovery and helping keep your claims’ costs in check.

The basics

When a worker is injured, the ultimate goal of your MCO is to help that individual remain at work or return to work as soon as the worker is released. Returning an injured employee quickly gives them the best possible outcome for full-recovery, while also reducing overall claim costs.

With vocational case management, your MCO works with the case manager to develop and coordinate successful restorative strategies for each injured worker. The strategy is individualized for specific case, taking into account the type of injury, the role the employee holds within the company, the skills the worker has, the needs of the company, and how the strategy can ultimately aid the employee’s recovery needs.

Job placement or modification

Vocational case managers also offer job placement and development services that help identify alternative work solutions for injured workers. Job placement and development services take into account the injured worker’s vocational skills and specific restrictions with the ultimate aim of identifying how their job might be modified to accommodate their restrictions or other roles that the worker can fill while healing from their injury. These services allow employees to recover while still working, which can help combat the feelings of helplessness that come with prolonged injury periods.

Vocational evaluations

To help identify the positions or modifications that best suit the needs of the injured worker, vocational case managers conduct vocational evaluations to gather information about the injured worker’s most current role and capabilities. Case managers then use the information to determine vocational directions, with input and consultation from the injured worker’s medical provider.

Taking into account the worker’s current physical capacities and limitations, their transferable skills, and their work experience, the case manager will then develop realistic return-to-work options – whether through modified-duty with the current employer, if possible, or through an off-site modified-duty program.

How vocational case management helps your business

Vocational case management offers a variety of benefits for your business, allowing employers to control medical costs and lost-time claim costs.

An aggressive vocational case management strategy allows injured employees to return to work faster. Not only does this reduce the likelihood that they will experience a total disability situation, but it also helps reduce the amount of lost-time claim costs. When an employee is doing alternative or modified-duty during their recovery, the employer pays them at their regular rate so the claim doesn’t incur additional lost-time costs.

Additionally, employees who participate in modified-duty or alternative work programs are more likely to heal faster and have lower medical claim costs than those employees who do not. When employees feel that they can contribute meaningfully to their employment and participate fully in their healing process, they can focus on the necessary physical and occupational therapy tasks to help them return to their former positions or transition permanently to a new position.

Know your partner

An MCO partner like Sheakley UniComp can guide you and your workers through the often confusing world of workers’ compensation, helping you learn and 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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