What's New for Vocational Counselors

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Email VocRehabProgram@Lni.wa.gov to request archived What's New postings.

VSS staff updates

May 17, 2018

The Claims VSS staff are happy to announce that Teri Wohlers, CDMS, joined our team on 1/16/18 and John Martinez, CDMS, joined us on 5/15/18.

Please check Contact Us to find the most up-to-date unit coverage assignments.


Plan Modification Tips

May 15, 2018

The VSS team cannot approve over 50% of plan modifications as submitted. Here are the most common reasons for phone calls and denials.

  1. Encumbrance Forms: When submitting a plan modification request, be sure to include all of the encumbrance forms (time, cost, and transportation). Even if the change is only to one form, we can reduce bill-paying issues if every plan modification includes all the forms.
  2. Missing Accountability Agreements: If the modification changes anything that the worker is responsible for, such as changes in time spent retraining, the curriculum, or the order of courses, then a new accountability form should be included with the request. Use the Option 1 Plan Modification Accountability Agreement version and if the worker is Spanish speaking (and not legally represented), be sure to use the Spanish version.
  3. Wrong type of request. If equipment is needed to accommodate restrictions due to the industrial injury, request these using the Pre-job Accomodation Assistance Application.

If you are unsure of the request, please call your unit VSS before submitting the plan modification.


Accountability Agreement Updated — AGAIN

May 10, 2018

Last month we announced changes to the Accountability Agreement for retraining plans. The changes had to do with clearly identifying behavior at school as it relates to a school's policies as one of the accountability expectations for injured workers.

We are removing that change. We determined that in some cases the new language could be construed as problematic. We are leaving the reference to RCW 51.32.096 as it provides one of the bases for actions if a worker is non-cooperative during a retraining plan.


Learn about the Preferred Worker Programs Continuous Employment Incentive

May 8, 2018

An eligible employer who continuously employs a certified preferred worker at a medically approved job without reduction in base wages for at least 12 months may receive a one-time Continuous Employment Incentive (CEI) payment of 10% of the workers wages or $10,000 (whatever is the lesser amount).

Employers can find the form to apply for the CEI on the Preferred Worker Programs Apply and Get Benefits webpage. Please call 1-800-845-2634 with questions or assistance with completing the form.


Register now for L&I conference, June 1: What do workers need?

May 7, 2018

Join us on June 1 to learn more about L&I's new focus on engagement and return to work. We have an exciting line-up of speakers and we will be talking about the Vocational Recovery Project. The conference is a great time for you to network and sharpen a few professional skills while earning CEUs.

→ Register for the conference. Friday, June 1, 2018, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the L&I Building Auditorium.

Some highlights

  • The Perils of Anti-Engagement -

    Bob Wilson explores the importance of engagement by looking at the flip side: the cost of not engaging all parties in the return-to-work effort. He is an accomplished speaker for the workers' compensation industry. Bob participates on the Return to Work and Disability Management Committee of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) and is President and CEO of WorkersCompensation.com.

  • How DVR Helps People - Rob Hines is the Director of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation at the Department of Social and Health Services. In line with our emphasis on engaging workers, Rob will share how DVR approaches their clients by working with the whole person and helping them overcome barriers.
  • Basic Education for Adults - Ha Nguyen is a Policy Associate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. She will share innovations in basic skills and workforce-training programs that can help our workers succeed. She will discuss opportunities for collaboration between workforce training programs and L&I to provide individuals with the academic and workforce skills they need to return to work in living-wage employment.
  • Tying Professional Standards of Practice to Vocational Recovery - A panel of vocational professionals will share their perspectives on how emerging best practices in the Vocational Recovery Project are also found in the standards of practice for CRC, CDMS, ABVE and IARP. We will explore vital topics such as disclosure, informed consent, and soft landing as they relate to ethical considerations.
  • The Vocational Recovery Project - The project goal is to create a culture focused on vocational recovery. To succeed, all parties must be engaged in return to work and preventing work disability. You will hear about how private-sector vocational providers are collaborating with L&I to develop solutions. Get up-to-date information on the project teams, the pilot, and the group of advisors.

We will also be asking you what you need to move ahead in understanding and embracing L&I's new focus on engagement and return to work.


VTSG Meeting May 29 - Canceled

April 23, 2018

Due to the Memorial Day holiday on May 28 and vocational provider activities scheduled that week, including the L&I vocational conference on June 1, the May 29 VTSG meeting has been canceled. Thank you for your understanding.

The next meeting is scheduled for July 10 in Tumwater. We hope to see you there! Remember to regularly check the vocational website to stay up to date on the Vocational Recovery Project and other important issues.


Coordinating return to work: A message to employers

April 16, 2018

L&I has sent an important message to employers and our claims staff. The message provides helpful information about how all parties can coordinate efforts to help injured workers heal and return to work.


ADMX Pilot Clarification & Resolving Barriers

April 16, 2018

On 3/26/18, Return to Work Partnership VSS staff began loading ADMX once they receive an EVOC request. VRCs no longer need to submit EVOC updates on the ADMX once it has been granted. However, it is critical that the department and vocational community strengthen their efforts to identify and resolve barriers as soon as they appear. Therefore, the expectation is for VRCs to immediately contact their VSS, preferably using EVOC, when barriers are identified and partnership is required to overcome them. This applies to all referral types.


Resume Services Payments Change

April 12, 2018

Weve changed how we pay for resume services on L&I-covered claims. For each referral, L&I will now pay up to a maximum of $300 for VRC and/or intern time.

Please use the code(s) below when providing resume services; it helps us track utilization.

0844V Resume services (VRC)
0845V Resume services (intern)

For more information on resume services, see the Medical Aid Rules & Fee Schedules (MARFS) Updates and Corrections webpage.


You Asked, We Responded.

March 26, 2018

At the 1/23/18 VTSG meeting and subsequent firm visits, VRCs shared with the department their concerns regarding the ADMX process. As data shows, keeping vocational services involved with injured workers helps them continue to think about returning to work and assists in moving the claim forward. In order to streamline the ADMX process, starting on 3/26/18, VRCs will only need to send an EVOC requesting the ADMX code when they are within two hours of the fee cap. Once received, a department VSS will load the ADMX.

RLOG note:

ADMX is loaded per EVOC request. Please contact the department to staff any barriers and continue your efforts to bring the referral to successful resolution.


The Vocational Recovery Project has launched 6 teams

February 8, 2018

Private-sector vocational providers are now working alongside L&I staff from our vocational and claims sections. About 30 vocational providers and 30 L&I staff attended a Dec. 12 kick-off. Participants had an opportunity to meet with their project teams. Going forward, these teams will develop recommendations to create a culture focused on vocational recovery. The six teams are:

  1. Best practices
  2. Education and training
  3. Complaints
  4. Referral process
  5. Firm and VRC registration
  6. Vocational recovery referral pilot

Teams rolled up their sleeves in January

Conversations in these meetings were candid and free flowing a good start to co-creating realistic proposals for improving our system. The teams will meet every couple of weeks to develop recommendations, which they will share with the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee includes 10 vocational providers and 10 L&I members, including Ryan Guppy and Vickie Kennedy.

This is just the beginning

Together, we will improve our partnership and create a new system. To keep you posted on VRP progress, watch Whats New. Here are some other ways to stay informed:

  • Contacting your representatives at VTSG, IARP, or IMG.
  • Attending VTSG as an audience member.
  • Attending L&I and IARP conferences.
  • Emailing your questions or comments to VocRecoveryProject@Lni.wa.gov.

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