Early Return to Work

Help your patient get back to work as soon as medically possible.

Returning to work speeds an injured worker's recovery and reduces the financial impact of a claim on the worker, the employer and the workers' compensation system. The key is to act quickly.

What is L&I’s Early Return-to-Work program?

When an injured worker has received time-loss benefits for 14 days, the claim is assigned to the Early Return-to-Work (ERTW) program. ERTW staff include Vocational Services Consultants, Therapist Consultants, and Nurse Consultants. These experienced professionals know how to talk with doctors, employers, and workers to explore medically appropriate options for return to work.

ERTW services include:     

  • Helping employers identify modified-duty options.
  • Working with health-care providers to clarify physical conditions and restrictions.
  • Coordinating with therapy professionals to implement job-site modifications.
  • Working with claim managers to authorize necessary services.


How can attending doctors help?

  • Ask your patient about their employer and work duties.
  • Contact the employer to discuss return-to-work possibilities, including light duty.
  • Encourage your patient to stay active and seek light-duty opportunities.


Can providers get paid for phone calls and secure messages?

Yes, L&I reimburses attending doctors for communicating with employers, claim managers and vocational providers.

Use the correct billing code

Telephone calls

Secure messages through L&I’s online Claim and Account Center

99941 – 9443  Physicians only

99444 – 99443 Physicians only

98966 – 98968 Non-physician

98969 – Non-physician


Additional information

Contact the Early Return to Work program

Attending Doctor's Return-to-Work Desk Reference

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