What's New for Vocational Counselors

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

Vocational Technical Stakeholder Group (VTSG): Join us this week on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

March 19, 2018

Join us as an audience member and earn CEUs for your participation! You can view the agenda here.

You can also visit the VTSG webpage for additional information on upcoming meeting dates, times, and locations and to review meeting notes.

Vocational Technical Stakeholder Group (VTSG): new meeting notes posted online

February 27, 2018

The most recent VTSG meeting notes are here. You can learn more about VTSG, find the meeting schedule, and read previous meeting notes on the VTSG webpage.

Statement for Retraining and Job Modification Services form updated

February 21, 2018

Weve updated the form Statement for Retraining and Job Modification Services (F245-030-000) to remove discontinued codes R0315 and R0340. The updates also help clarify:

  • Who should sign the form.
  • Code R0312 applies to supplies, equipment, tools, and books.
  • For Option 2 training expenses, the worker or vendor uses the form Statement for Option 2 Training (F245-446-000).

Important reminders:

  • RECYCLE all prior versions.
  • Do NOT use codes R0315 or R0340.

*For information on reports and billing for Option 2 vocational counseling or job placement services, see our webpage Option 2 Services; How to provide Option 2 services.

Option 2 resources updated

February 21, 2018

Weve updated more resources for workers and providers about Option 2.

2017 Medical Aid Rules and Fee Schedules (MARFS) Updates.

The update to Chapter 30 Vocational Services Payment Policy explains:

  • Option 2 vocational services and limits
  • Reports required
  • How to bill for services

Option 2: What You Need to Know brochure (F280-036-000).

The updated brochure gives workers details on how to obtain Option 2 vocational counseling and job placement services.*

*For information on reports and billing for Option 2 vocational counseling or job placement services, see our webpage Option 2 Services; How to provide Option 2 services.

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.

New travel mileage rate effective January 1, 2018

January 9, 2018

Effective January 1, 2018, the personal vehicle mileage rate is $.55 per mile. The rate in 2017 was $.54 per mile.

L&Is Vocational Services Specialist (VSS) at King County WorkSource: new contact information

January 9, 2018

Erin McPhee, L&Is King County WorkSource VSS, has moved from Renton WorkSource to Auburn WorkSource.

Erins new contact information is:

  • Work phone/text: 206-305-0168
  • Fax: 253-333-4901

Access to telephone interpretation services expanding to include in-state clients

January 2, 2018

Effective January 1, 2018, for all L&I-insured claims, vocational providers will be able to use an over-the-phone interpreter when speaking with injured workers with limited English proficiency. The service is available for both in-state and out-of-state workers. Its easy and fast to get an interpreter on the line, with access to more than 240 languages and dialects.

In-person contact is still preferred

L&I considers in-person interpretation to be the gold standard because interpreters can see body language and facial expressions. However, for unusual languages or in remote areas, it can be hard to arrange in-person interpreters. In addition, sometimes it just makes more sense to use an over-the-phone interpreterfor example, when you need to reschedule a meeting, or are sharing time-sensitive information. Over-the-phone interpreters are available in seconds.

How to access telephone interpretation services

Vocational providers can request telephone interpretation services at:

When requesting telephone interpretation services, the vocational provider must tell Language Link:

  • Vocational provider name
  • Vocational firm name
  • Claim number
  • Workers name
  • Language needed

How to access Language Link

ADMX pilot supports vocational providers in helping injured workers

December 19, 2017

Our vocational provider partners are having success by actively engaging workers and assisting them with identifying and overcoming barriers starting the first day they receive an AWA referral! Sometimes, in spite of great effort, more time is required. The ADMX pilot supports those vocational providers who are committed to these efforts to actively engage workers while providing a clear path to return to work.

Updated ADMX pilot process

September 28, 2017

We've updated the ADMX pilot guidelines, templates, and stakeholder engagement resources. Our goal is to create a culture focused on vocational recovery that engages all parties in preventing workplace disability while improving the worker's return-to-work opportunities. Please use the following updated resources:

Maximum vocational retraining amount effective July 1, 2017

July 7, 2017

The maximum vocational retraining amount is reviewed annually and adjusted as needed according to the statute governing vocational rehabilitation services. For plans approved July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, the maximum vocational retraining amount is $17,885.

Computer Purchases for Retraining Plans: Things to Consider

June 22, 2017

Many of the proposed retraining plans include a request for a computer. The Vocational Service Specialist team has outlined some considerations for these requests.

  1. Is a computer required by the retraining program?
    • If so, ask the school to provide minimum requirements.
    • If not, L&I will consider a computer purchase if the worker cannot use a school lab to submit homework online.
  2. Talk with the worker about L&I requirements.
    • Prior approval is required.
    • Workers cannot pay the difference between a required computer and a desired one. For example, if the desired computer costs $2,000 and only $750 is approved, the worker cannot pay the difference.
  3. Does the worker need internet access in the home?
    • L&I will only reimburse for internet service if the worker doesnt currently have the service. (A set up bill will be required after the plan has been approved.)
  4. Reminders:
    • If special/ergonomic equipment is needed, the equipment/software can be requested as a Pre-Job Accommodation provided it is related to the industrial injury. (Examples: Dragon NaturallySpeaking, wave keyboard, ergo mouse, etc.)
    • Most internet providers offer FREE antivirus software.
    • Call your unit VSS during plan development if you have any questions.

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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