The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) understands the value of returning an injured worker to the job as soon as safely possible. Not only does earlier return to work help lower your workers’ compensation costs, it can also help boost the morale of your injured worker and speed their recovery. To that end, the BWC created Transitional Work Grants to encourage employers to develop transitional work programs to help you return injured workers back to the workplace sooner. Read on to learn more about Transitional Work Grants from the BWC.

The basics

The grant program is designed to help employers develop a transitional work program that meets the needs of the business and its employees. Working with a BWC-accredited transitional work developer, employers utilize the Transitional Work Grants to establish a customized transitional work program that takes into account the company’s industry, jobs performed, policy and procedure development, management and supervisor training, and ongoing evaluation to determine the program’s effectiveness.

Transitional work programs provide an interim step for employees during their recovery from a workplace injury, allowing them to return to work with job restrictions while continuing under the care and supervision of their medical provider. These programs utilize real job duties to allow the injured worker to gradually return to their original job, if at all possible.

Transitional Work Grants are matching grants for companies of 11 to 200+ employees. The 3-to-1 matching grants are awarded based on the total number of employees working for the company. The maximum grant amounts are:

  • $2,900 for 11-49 employees;
  • $5,200 for 50-199 employees; and
  • $6,300 for 200+ employees.

Benefits for your company and employees

Transitional work programs provide an array of benefits for companies. By decreasing medical costs paid per claim, reduce time away from the job, premiums, and lost-time claims, these programs can provide significant cost-savings for companies. Meanwhile, returning workers to work sooner can help companies maintain productivity levels and lessen the need for recruiting and hiring new workers.

The opportunity to decrease temporary total disability (TTD) days paid can even help your company remain in or qualify for a group-rating plan. Transitional Work Programs better prepare employers to manage claims and keep costs lower. Better management can lead to reduced premiums and a decline in lost time claims.

Eligibility

State-fund participating employers with 11 or more employees can apply for Transitional Work Grants from the BWC. Corporations with multiple policy numbers may also apply for Transitional Work Grants. Employers wishing to receive a Transitional Work Grant must complete the Application for a Transitional Work Grant (TWG-1). Employers awarded grants will receive an approval email with instructions on next steps.

BWC-Accredited program developers

Approved employers must hire a BWC-accredited transitional work program developer to design their program. The services provided by and plans developed by the program developer are covered the employer’s Transitional Work Grant. Your third-party administrator (TPA) can help you select a transitional work developer to help craft a customized program for that best fits the needs of your company.

The program developer will work with you, your TPA, provider network, and unions if applicable, to understand your business operations and the rehabilitation needs of your workers. Your program developer will also provide training to your supervisor and managerial staff to help you identify and develop transitional work tasks that are appropriate for the injured worker to perform.

Grant reimbursements

The BWC reimburses employers 75% of the total costs paid to the transitional work developer for all covered services. While there is no limit on the number of program developer hours or the number of job analyses per employer, the reimbursement costs will not exceed the maximum amount of the employer’s grant. The maximum rate per service is $200 per hour for transitional work developer labor and $200 per job analysis.

To receive reimbursement, employers must submit their transitional work plans to their BWC disability management coordinator (DMC). The DMC will decide if the plan meets the grant guidelines. Once approved, the employer must submit five documents to receive grant reimbursement:

Upon receipt of these documents, the BWC will reimburse the employer for 75% of the covered charges, up to the maximum grant amount.

Implementation

Grant monies left over after the development of the transitional work plan will be place in the employer’s implementation fund to be used at any time as long as the Transitional Work Grant Program is still active and grant funds are available. Monies in the implementation fund may be used to reimburse four services:

  • Assistance with an employer’s claim participating in their transitional work plan;
  • Updating or adding job analyses;
  • Training for employer’s new transitional work coordinator, management, union, employees;
  • Program improvement.

The BWC reimburses implementation fund expenses at a rate of 75% until the balance reaches $200. At $200, the amount is paid at 100 percent.

Advocating for you

As your business’ advocate in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) process, your TPA plays a critical role in reducing risk and costs for your company. Your TPA partner will help you decide if the Transitional Work Grant from the BWC is the right choice for your company.

While the Ohio BWC may not require your company to use a TPA, the cost-savings and expertise of these groups can lead to reduced risk and lower costs for your company. Partnering with a TPA is an investment in your business’ future that can create a safer workplace for your employees and lead to lower premiums for your business.

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