What's New for Vocational Counselors

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Vocational Technical Stakeholder Group (VTSG): Join us Tuesday, September 25, 2018

September 19, 2018

Join us as an audience member at our September 25 VTSG meeting and earn CEUs for your participation! You can view the agenda here (457 KB PDF).

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


Save the date for the November 2, 2018, L&I Fall Vocational Conference

September 4, 2018

The L&I Fall Vocational Conference will be held on November 2, 2018, at the L&I Tumwater building. The theme will be "Tools to Prevent Work Disability." Topics will include Vocational Recovery Project, Preferred Worker, and Helping Workers Maximize Option 2 Benefits, among others. There will also be an hour of ethics CEUs available.

Please watch this site for additional information, including how to register.


Plan Modification Tips

August 27, 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 (F280-056-000) version and if the worker is Spanish speaking (and not legally represented), be sure to use the Spanish version (F280-056-999).
  3. Wrong type of request: If equipment is needed to accommodate restrictions due to the industrial injury, request these using the Pre-job Accommodation Assistance Application (F245-350-000).

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


2018 Workers' Compensation Conference in Olympia

August 15, 2018

Advance your knowledge of workers' compensation while earning CEUs! Join us October 4 5 for the "Meeting of the Minds" Workers' Compensation Conference, presented by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Project Help, and the Department of Labor and Industries.

Industry professionals will share information such as:

  • Calculating Benefits
  • Vocational Recovery
  • BIIA Topics
  • Serving our Workers with Catastrophic Injuries
  • Mock Trial
  • Occupational Hearing Loss Claims/Related Services

Location:
Hotel RL Olympia by Red Lion
2300 Evergreen Park Drive SW
Olympia WA 98502

Get more details and register online at Project Help (www.projecthelpwa.com).


Vocational Professionals and Claims Investigations

July 18, 2018

Labor and Industries recently shared important information (123 KB PDF) with our Claims staff, clarifying who investigators may contact for assistance.


L&I and Workforce Board partner to ensure quality education

July 10, 2018

Three years ago L&I partnered with the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (Workforce Board) to help them change their statute and subsequent rules so that agency-sponsored students could also be included under the Workforce Boards oversight jurisdiction.

Investigation

As a result of the new rules, last year the Workforce board investigated a complaint from an injured worker who attended Zale Technical Institute (no longer in business). The worker alleged that Zale created a "Parking Lot Attendant" program specifically for him and that the courses he was promised were not taught.

Findings

The Workforce Board's investigation found two unfair business practices:

  1. The worker should not have been admitted to the original plan (Business- Customer Service) because of very low academic skills and significant language barriers.
  2. The Parking Lot Attendant program had not been approved by the Workforce Board. This approval is required under the Workforce Board's school licensure agreement.

Outcome

The Workforce Board initially ordered Zale to pay L&I a refund of all the worker's retraining costs billed by Zale. After learning that Zale had closed, the Workforce Board used their Tuition Recovery Trust Fund to refund the costs to L&I directly.

Our continued partnership with the Workforce Board will help ensure that workers receive quality education now and in the future.


Maximum vocational training fund adjustment

June 11, 2018

The maximum vocational training fund is increasing. This change is the result of an annual adjustment required under the statue governing vocational rehabilitation services.

The training fund amount is directly linked to the plan approval date.

If the plan is or was approved:

  • July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, the amount is $18,294.57.
  • July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, the amount is $17,885.00.

The amount of the maximum training fund applies regardless of whether a worker chooses Option 1 or Option 2 after plan approval.


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.

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