What's New for Vocational Counselors

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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!


PGAP Training Opportunity Advanced Registration Open until March 20th

March 13, 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 this form. Registrations are only accepted by fax up until March 20th, after which registration will be open access and available online to anyone interested at www.PGAPworks.com. 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 after April 01, 2017.


Register Now for the L&I Spring Vocational Conference!

March 7, 2017

The L&I spring 2017 conference will bring back Jason Parker of Centrix Disability Management Services Inc. to take a deeper dive into engaging workers in their recovery and return to work. You will learn the 3-step process of preventing work disability and some new techniques for increasing successful return-to-work outcomes. We are designing the new training to be useful to vocational counselors who have taken previous training with Jason, as well as those who have not. Mark your calendar for March 31, 2017, L&I Tumwater building, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Register here.


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.


Testing Credentials

December 22, 2016

With the exception of self-administered test such as Career Scope, most vocational tests require the test administrator to possess specific credentials to administer, score, and interpret the test. Depending on the test, the qualifications may range from a bachelor's degree (usually in a specific field such as psychology) to Master's degree with 1 or 2 graduate level courses in testing administration and psychometrics. Psychological tests such as intelligence tests can only be administered by a licensed psychologist (Ph.D. or Psy.D.). It is the responsibility of both the referring VRC and the testing administrator to be sure that the tester's qualifications meet the requirements of the test publisher. This is both a legal as well as an ethical consideration.

It should be noted that few vocational tests allow for the test to be administered by a proctor, even when supervised by a credentialed counselor.

Qualifications can be found in both the testing manual and from the test publisher's website.

The information in this announcement has been added to the Aptitude and Interest Testing vocational Web page.


Learn about Option 2 vocational services

November 8, 2016

A worker can use up to 10 percent of their Option 2 training fund for vocational counseling and job placement services if both of the following are true:

  • The worker's plan was approved on or after 7/31/2015.
  • L&I has granted the workers Option 2 election.

L&I's new web pages about Option 2 vocational services explain:

  • What services qualify.
  • Who may deliver services.
  • How to submit reports.
  • How to submit bills.

You can find this information under the Option 2 Benefits heading on the Vocational Services page (previously called Referral Types).


Submitting Vocational Progress Reports and CAC Availability

October 7, 2016

It can be frustrating when youre trying to submit progress reports and CAC isnt working. To reduce the chances of this happening, it may be helpful to know:

  • Due dates for progress reports always occur on a workday. The timely if received by date is five calendar days afterwards and may fall on weekends or holidays. Waiting until the last day and then encountering CAC access problems can increase both stress and workload.
  • CAC is unavailable during regular maintenance hours:
    • 11:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday nights to 6 a.m. the next morning.
    • 6 p.m. every Sunday night to 6 a.m. Monday morning.
  • CAC may be unavailable on some weeknights or weekends due to other scheduled upgrades or fixes.
  • If you are unable to use CAC to submit an electronic progress report, you must fax the progress report by the timely if received by date in order to get credit for a timely report. Please be sure to:
    • Fax the report to the claim file. (Do not fax or email a copy to Janice Orcutt.)
    • Keep a copy of the fax confirmation.
    • Notify Janice Orcutt the report was faxed, providing the claim number and your contact information.

If you have any questions, please contact Janice Orcutt at 360-902-4854 or Janice.Orcutt@Lni.wa.gov.


Learn about the Preferred Worker Program

October 5, 2016

Visit the updated Preferred Worker Program (Lni.wa.gov/PreferredWorker) webpages to learn about:

  • eligibility
  • how to apply and get benefits
  • preferred worker certification
  • vocational and medical provider responsibilities
  • job and accommodation resources

Questions?


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.


New Preferred Worker Request form is now available

August 26, 2016

VRCs now have a more active role in assisting workers and employers benefit from the Preferred Worker Program. Instead of waiting until the end of the claim, the VRC can request preferred worker status as soon as:

  • The specific, permanent work restrictions are known, and
  • No further curative treatment is planned OR the worker is at or near maximum medical improvement.

At the same time, the VRC can now help the employer of injury or a new employer qualify for preferred worker incentives by assisting in the development of a new, medically-approved job that will continue to be available into the foreseeable future.

To assist VRCs with their new role, weve revised the preferred worker forms. The new Preferred Worker Request (F280‑060‑000), effective August, 2016:

  • Combines two old forms (Preferred Worker Status Request and Intent to Hire Preferred Worker) into a single form - the status request is on the front and the job approval request is on the back.
  • Requires specific attachments to prevent delays.
  • Gives instructions at each step and lists examples of attachments needed.

The new form, dated 8-2016, is listed on the Preferred Worker Program webpage, which will be revised to reflect the new rules soon.

Do NOT attach the Preferred Worker form and supporting documents to other vocational reports. If you attach the form to other vocational reports, send incomplete information, or use outdated versions of the form, services to the worker and/or hiring employer will be delayed.

Please recycle all discontinued forms.


Tired of living your life in six minute increments?

April 14, 2016

  • Are you tired of worrying about billable hours?
  • Do you long for weekends free from billable work?
  • Are you passionate about making a positive difference in injured workers lives?
  • Do you yearn to belong to a collaborative, innovative team?

Come work for L&I!

  • Our Vocational Services Specialists just got a 7.5% pay raise!
  • We offer several opportunities for continuing education units
  • We have an active tuition-reimbursement program for continuing education.
  • Learn about our flexible work schedule opportunities

For a summary of state employment benefits, please visit the state's Human Resources website (hr.wa.gov).


As a VSS located in Tumwater, or one of our Regional Offices, you will be part of a multi-disciplinary team assisting employers and injured workers in returning to work. Your team may include claim managers, field representatives, occupational nurse consultants, and account managers.

You will contribute to Washingtons culture shift, focusing on:

  • Innovative approaches to tackle unnecessary workplace disability.
  • Achieving return to work outcomes for injured workers and employers.
  • Collaborative partnerships with injured workers, employers, private vocational providers, and medical providers.

We need vocational professionals to contribute skills and ideas to our success. Please contact us if you would like to have an informal conversation about this exciting opportunity, or apply directly using these links: Tumwater; Tacoma (ERTW); Spokane (ERTW). You can read more about the benefits of working at L&I.

In the .1 it took you to read this and click on the links, you could be on your way to getting your weekends back.


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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