What's New for Vocational Counselors

The latest news

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

Back by Popular Demand- Brown Bags!

May 23, 2017

Starting June 1st Ryan Guppy and other department staff will be coming out to discuss the departments new initiatives, share good news, and answer your questions. CEUs will be available.

There is room for approximately 20 VRCs at each meeting, so please register and reserve your seat.

Here are the dates and locations:

  • 6/1 - Tacoma Service Location, Room 504 12:00-1:00
  • 6/7 - Kennewick- WorkSource Columbia Basin, Benton/Franklin Room 11:30-1:30
  • 6/8 - Spokane Service Location, Conference Room 2 12:00-1:00
  • 6/27 - Everett Service Location, Conference Room 3 12:00-1:00
  • 6/28 - Tukwila Service Location, Conference Room 1 12:00-1:00
  • 6/29 - Vancouver Service Location, Training Room 12:00-1:00

Enhancing communication with Limited English Proficiency injured workers

May 11, 2017

L&I is launching a new pilot for enhancing communication with injured workers who have limited English proficiency and who live outside of Washington State. The pilot will allow selected vocational providers to communicate with their client using services from a third party interpretive services vender. We hope to gain insight into the usefulness of the service as well as identify key issues that may need to be considered as part of a system-wide rollout. The pilot begins June 1, 2017, and ends August 31, 2017. Pilot results will be reported here and at VTSG. Please note that the VRCs selected for this pilot are those who have worked most often on out of state cases in the last year.


CAC access to all claims for a worker

May 1, 2017

A VRC with an open referral can access all prior claims for that worker in the Claim & Account Center. Access includes any CAC page, including the imaged file, for all the workers other open and closed claims. VRCs should not call the department to request time-limited access to prior claims; such requests create unnecessary work and cause delays.

Weve updated the Review a Claim webpage to include instructions on how to use CAC to view a workers other claims.


Rare opportunity to be part of implementing PGAP

May 1, 2017

L&I Private Sector Rehabilitation Services Program Specialist (GovernmentJobs.com) - located in Tumwater. We are looking for a licensed or credentialed rehabilitation professional to include occupational therapist, physical therapist, nurse, or vocational counselor. This position will oversee the Progressive Goal Attainment Program to implement this innovative best practice to help workers increase their quality of life and facilitate return to work.

Click HERE to view full job announcement and apply.


Reminder: SNA3 Not able to work or participate in vocational rehabilitation due to unaccepted conditions

April 13, 2017

Documentation may support that unaccepted conditions arising from unrelated events (post-injury motor vehicle accident, a post-injury illness, a post-injury progression of a pre-existing condition, or non-cooperation) prevent a worker from participating in vocational services (SNA3).

To support a vocational outcome SNA3, please provide the following information, regardless of the phase of vocational services:

  1. Documentation of the occupational possibility the worker could benefit from were it not for the unrelated conditions or barriers.
  2. A medically-approved job goal.
  3. The methodology for acquiring the skills.
  4. A labor market survey demonstrating the job goal exists.

VSS staff updates

April 13, 2017

Please note the following staff changes:

  • Lara Drabek has promoted to VSS supervisor.
  • Kelly Leber has accepted a transfer to the Vocational Dispute Resolution Office.

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


Early AWA Referrals: A Sea Change

April 10, 2017

In partnership with you, our early AWA referrals are improving vocational outcomes and reducing long-term disability.

The charts below tell the story.

What weve done

AWA referrals are going out earlier than ever before.

Since December 2013, the days of time-loss benefits paid before the first AWA referral have plummeted- from 245 to 84! Line graph shows the Median Time-loss days paid at 1st AWA Referral beginning in January 2003 at about 200 days fluctuating down before peaking in November 2008 at about 275. The days stayed up there until a marked downward trend in July 2013 that has continued to the current state of below 100.

Since July of 2016 claim managers have:

  • Kept AWA referrals going out around our 90-day goal.
  • Sent out an average of 550 first AWAs every month, a rate not seen in 7 years!
What youve done

As a result of your hard work, outcomes are the best weve ever seen:

  • Return to Work and Able to Work Job of Injury outcomes have never been higher.
  • Able to Work Transferrable Skills outcomes have never been lower.
Line graph shows the First AWA referral made with less than 90 days of time-loss (12 month moving average) beginning in January 2004 measuring the Return to Work, Able to Work Job of Injury and Able to Work Transferable Skills statistics. Return to Work starts at 20%, Able to work job of injury and Able to work Transferable skills both begin at 15%. All three fluctuate until the new process is put in place in January 2014 when the Able to Work Transferable Skills trends downward to about 8% in January 2017. Return to Work and Able to Work Job of Injury both trend upwards to over 30% in January 2017.

Thank you for providing better outcomes for workers and employers! Our goal is to continue working with you to maintain these improvements, prevent long-term disability, and help our workers heal and return to work.


L&I has several opportunities for Vocational Services Specialists, located in Tumwater and Mt. Vernon

March 29, 2017

Come work for L&I and fulfill your dream of having a work-life balance!

  • No more billable hours!
  • A consistent paycheck!
  • Evenings and weekends free again!

Additional benefits:

  • Opportunities for continuing education units.
  • An active tuition reimbursement program for continuing education.
  • Flexible work schedule opportunities, including teleworking.
  • Medical, dental, and vision benefits.
  • Paid holidays, vacation, and sick leave.

Opportunities available

L&I Private Sector Rehabilitation Services Vocational Services Specialist (GovernmentJobs.com) Located in Tumwater: This Vocational Services Specialist investigates complaints to help ensure the delivery of quality private vocational services for injured workers and employers. This is your opportunity to be part of an amazing team who supports L&I's cutting-edge Return-to-Work Partnerships (RTW) Program that helps injured workers heal and return to work, makes it easy to do business with L&I, and helps honest providers by cracking down on dishonest ones.

L&I Vocational Services Specialist, Return-to-Work (GovernmentJobs.com) Located in Tumwater: This Vocational Services Specialist supports the agency claims units. You'll use your professional and technical vocational services expertise and partnerships to ensure injured workers return to work as quickly and safely as possible. Assist workers in receiving the right services at the right time. Become a part of an amazing team who supports L&I's cutting-edge Return-to-Work (RTW) program.

L&I Vocational Services Specialist WorkSource (GovernmentJobs.com) Located in Mt. Vernon: This Vocational Services Specialist will work out of the Mt. Vernon WorkSource service location and provide Return-to-Work (RTW) assistance to injured workers. Assist with access to WorkSource services; resume writing assistance, and job search assistance. Additionally, you'll participate in WorkSource activities such as attending all-staff meetings and contributing to WorkSource partner services.

Questions or to learn more about L&I and our opportunities contact Phyllis Gallegos at 360-902-4903 or by email at Phyllis.Gallegos@Lni.wa.gov.


PGAP Training Opportunity Advanced Registration Extended to April

March 29, 2017

The University Centre for Research on Pain and Disability is pleased to announce an upcoming Progressive Goal Attainment Program (PGAP) training workshop opportunity. The workshop will be held in Bellevue, WA on September 15 & 16, 2017.

There is an advanced registration opportunity for WA vocational and therapy providers using the PGAP Workshop Registration Form (484 KB PDF). Registrations will be accepted by fax up until open registration online is available at PGAPworks.com (www.PGAPworks.com) in April. Registrations will be accepted in the order in which they are received.

L&I has a strong need for bilingual (English/Spanish) PGAP Providers and for PGAP Providers who are trained in the telephonic delivery of PGAP. The telephonic portion of training will take place following the 2-day workshop on Monday, September 18, 2017 and is open to newly trained and previously trained PGAP Providers (3rd edition and 4th edition only). Details about this portion of training will be available in April.


VRCs Continue to Exceed Standard Work Expectations

March 14, 2017

Back in December we reported that the vocational community was doing an excellent job meeting the VRC Standard Work guidelines. Were very happy to say that a quarter later the VRCs continue to exceed those expectations.

Based on information the VRCs are documenting in their progress reports:

  • The initial vocational intake is being performed in an average of 13 days.
  • The job analyses are being sent to the appropriate providers in an average of 23 days.
  • The providers are reviewing those job analyses in an average of 38 days.

These are all still well within the 15, 30, and 42-day time frames we were hoping for!

Please continue to:

  • Fill in these fields in the Ability to Work Assessment progress report based on the first time you send the job of injury Job Analysis to the appropriate provider.
  • Keep reporting the barriers you are encountering so we can help you get these referrals resolved and the workers back to work.

This further demonstrates the value of our shared efforts to reduce delays in our system.

Thank you and please keep up the great work!


New Preferred Worker Request (Part A) Pilot to Roll Out March 1, 2017!

February 28, 2017

When a Claims Unit VSS finds a worker eligible for training, they will use the information found in the Ability to Work Assessment Eligible Closing Report to grant preferred worker status. The VRC will not need to complete the Preferred Worker Request Part A application in this instance. You and the worker will receive a letter confirming the workers status. You can help by ensuring the documentation required for supporting your recommendation is attached to the report. Continue to use the Preferred Worker Request Part A application to request preferred worker status in all other circumstances once your workers meet eligibility requirements. If you have questions about the Preferred Worker Program, please go to the web site www.Lni.wa.gov/PreferredWorker. If you have a specific question call 800-845-2634 or email VocRehabProgram@Lni.wa.gov.


Ability to Work Non-Eligible Assessment Closing Report Template - update

February 23, 2017

We've updated page 1 of the Ability to Work Non-Eligible Assessment Closing Report template (77 KB PDF) to improve clarity. The field titled "Job Possibilities the Worker is Qualified for:" was causing confusion, so we've renamed it.

The new field title is "The worker is able to work as:" In this field, enter only the jobs you are supporting in your ability to work recommendation.

Please discontinue using the previous version. Ability-to-Work templates are located on our Ability-to-Work Assessment webpage.


Partnering with Third Party Representatives (TPAs)/Retro and What You Should Know

February 21, 2017

L&I is working to partner with the TPAs and Retro groups when it comes to facilitating return to work for their aligned employers. Check out this PDF (320 KB PDF) to learn more.


New Tools for the ADMX Pilot!

January 23, 2017

In response to questions from the VRC community, and in an effort to increase collaboration and reduce delays, weve created some additional tools to assist the VRC with their ADMX referrals.

Please use these new tools:


New travel mileage rate effective January 1, 2017

January 23, 2017

Effective January 1, 2017, the personal vehicle mileage rate is $.54 per mile.


VocLink Connect is going away because LINIIS is moving to the web!

January 19, 2017

What is VocLink Connect and how does it relate to LINIIS?

VocLink Connect is the remote access system Labor & Industries (L&I) uses to transmit vocational referrals. Vocational providers who are assigned State Fund referrals use VocLink Connect to receive vocational referrals and enter an outcome recommendation at the conclusion of their work on a referral. The vocational referral and outcome information are stored in L&I's computer system called "LINIIS."

What will change from your perspective?

In the next couple of months, instead of using VocLink Connect via Secure Access Washington (SAW), you'll be able to access LINIIS through My Secure L&I, an easier and more efficient way for customers to sign up for L&I secure services.

We'll be posting instructions for accessing LINIIS in the coming weeks.


ADMX pilot process-AWA referrals nearing fee cap

August 30, 2016

Beginning March 2, 2016, the claims unit VSS have collaborated with VRCs in a pilot to keep AWA referrals moving toward resolution. As of the end of July 2016, VSS have used the ADMX outcome on 545 AWA referrals. Of the 545 AWA referrals that were closed with the outcome of ADMX and re-referred for AWA, 124 referrals have been resolved within an average of 43 days.

In light of the data obtained in the pilot thus far, we have updated the pilot process in an effort to increase collaboration and reduce delays.


Vocational referral closure upon Option 2 election actions needed

April 14, 2016

Effective today, the following new procedure will be used when closing a vocational referral upon Option 2 election.

The Vocational Services Specialist (VSS) will:

  • Determine whether the Option 2 election is timely.
  • If elected timely, enter the Option 2 information closing the vocational referral.
  • Call the vocational provider and inform them that:
    • Option 2 was elected.
    • The vocational referral is now closed.
    • They have 14 days to submit closure.

The vocational provider should have a conversation with the worker about Option 2, including reminding the worker that the:

  • Vocational award will be reduced by any time-loss received since the beginning of the Option 1 retraining plan.
  • Option 2 training fund will be reduced by the amount expended for Option 1, including costs incurred if the worker fails to withdraw from courses.

The vocational provider will then submit a vocational closure with the following information:

  • What was the approved retraining goal?
  • Did the worker start the retraining before electing Option 2?
  • If the worker started the retraining, what date did they start?
  • Outline discussion with worker about their Option 2 intent. Did they withdraw from courses? Outline any skills gained.

Note: The VRC does not need to submit a recommended vocational closure code as the vocational referral closes when the Vocational Services Specialist enters the Option 2 outcome.

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