What's New for Vocational Counselors

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

Invitation to VRCs to Request Whats New Topics

April 24, 2018

Can you think of a topic you would like to see posted on Whats New?

We are trying to improve the relevance of Whats New for Vocational Counselors by posting short messages (less than 200 words) on a variety of topics every week. So far, the posts have included information on retraining plans, evidence-based best practices, and voicemail reminders.

We have five categories of messages: Forms and Processes, Best Practices, VSS Team Suggestions, VRC Suggestions and From the Chief, written by Ryan Guppy.

Since we want these posts to be helpful to our vocational partners, we need your help. Please send your topic requests to Ilana Lehmann.

VTSG Meeting May 29 - Canceled

April 23, 2018

Due to the Memorial Day holiday on May 28 and vocational provider activities scheduled that week, including the L&I vocational conference on June 1, the May 29 VTSG meeting has been canceled. Thank you for your understanding.

The next meeting is scheduled for July 10 in Tumwater. We hope to see you there! Remember to regularly check the vocational website to stay up to date on the Vocational Recovery Project and other important issues.

Voicemail Tips

April 17, 2018

According to research (Robinson, 2014) an effective voicemail consists of 5 basic components.

Greeting (name)

Contact information (phone number, count 2 beats between digits.)

Subject (Claim number and workers name)

Relationship of topic to recipient [VSS] (I am calling to request an 812 authorization. Or, I am calling to request a staffing about . . .)

Closing (Repeat name, subject, claim number, and phone number.)

Important considerations regarding voicemails:

  1. Emails can be planned, composed, edited, and reviewed. Since the majority of calls during business hours go to voicemail, it is a best practice to anticipate you might be leaving a voicemail and should therefore make an outline before calling.
  2. Only leave a voicemail if you have a good connection. This is especially true if you are calling from a cell phone.
  3. Speak slowly. Spelling your name for the recipient is a best practice.
  4. When providing a claim number, use words to help identify which letters are involved. Having a list of words can be helpful so that you dont need to think of them on the spot (A Alpha, B Bravo).

Robinson, R. (2014). Communicating with technology: A guide for professional digital interactions BookBoon.com

Coordinating return to work: A message to employers

April 16, 2018

L&I has sent an important message to employers and our claims staff. The message provides helpful information about how all parties can coordinate efforts to help injured workers heal and return to work.

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.

Accountability Agreement Updated

April 16, 2018

We have updated the Accountability Agreement in English (F280-016-000) and Spanish (F280-016-999). Effective immediately, use these updated versions dated 03/2018, available online.

What's changed?

  • Adds reference to RCW 51.32.096 on page 2 (a).
  • Adds the word behavior to the description of a training providers policies (in addition to attendance and performance) on pages 2 (c) and 4 (d).

How does this change affect vocational providers?

  • The vocational provider must be aware of the training providers attendance, behavior, and performance policies and review them with the worker as stated in the Accountability Agreement on page 4 (d).
  • Use of outdated versions of the Accountability Agreement may result in a temporarily denied plan.

  • Resume Services Payments Change

    April 12, 2018

    Weve changed how we pay for resume services on L&I-covered claims. For each referral, L&I will now pay up to a maximum of $300 for VRC and/or intern time.

    Please use the code(s) below when providing resume services; it helps us track utilization.

    0844V Resume services (VRC)
    0845V Resume services (intern)

    For more information on resume services, see the Medical Aid Rules & Fee Schedules (MARFS) Updates and Corrections webpage.

    What Is an Evidence-Based Best Practice?

    April 10, 2018

    Several years ago, many organizations moved from best practices to evidence-based best practices as a requirement for grants and insurance coverage. The term evidence-based refers to the statistically significant results of research studies conducted using the scientific method. The interventions we are testing in the Vocational Recovery Project were gathered from scholarly journals and methodology that has been through a peer review process.

    While these interventions were found to be effective in other settings and with other populations, we need to measure how effective they are for L&I workers in Washington. This is one of the reasons we are collecting so much data during the Vocational Recovery Project and Pilot.

    How to Ensure Youre Using the Current Version of L&Is Form(s)

    April 9, 2018

    It important to use the current version of L&Is forms; doing so increases accuracy and avoids delays.

    To get the current version, find the form on L&Is website and download it from there each time you need to use it.

    Avoid saving the form to your computer for later use; your saved copy will become obsolete whenever we do an update. For example, in late March we discovered the form Statement for Retraining and Job Modification Services (F245-030-000) displayed the wrong billing code for rent. In early April, we corrected the error online. Any saved copies may contain the erroneous code.

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

    April 6, 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.

    Dispute Rights Update

    April 4, 2018

    The following decisions no longer have dispute rights to the Vocational Dispute Resolution Office (VDRO).

    • Validity of 15-day job offer following an eligible for plan development decision
    • Vocational determination Plan Failed Beyond the Control of the Worker

    Contact the assigned claim manager if you have questions about disagreements with:

    • Job offer following an eligible determination.
    • Failed plan.

    Getting Retraining Plans Approved

    April 3, 2018

    Here is a handy checklist to help the vocational services specialist (VSS) approve your plans quickly.

    • Are the time, cost, and travel encumbrance forms the first attachments?
    • For private schools, is the tuition divided into quarters?
    • Have you explained mileage requests? (Remember reimbursement rates may change.)
    • Is there a signed Accountability Agreement (F280-016-000) with initials by all that apply on page 3(n)?
    • If equipment is being purchased, is the ownership agreement included?
    • Do the job goal, retraining program, and labor market match? (If not, does the narrative explain how they work together?)
    • Is the labor market where the worker currently lives?
    • Is the medically-approved job analysis (JA) for the job goal attached?
    • Is the retraining curriculum attached?

    There is no need to include copies of vocational testing or the instructions for completing the plan template.

    If you have questions about any of these, be sure to call your unit VSS. We are here to help you.

    Registration Now Open for the Washington State IARP Conference!

    March 26, 2018

    Register now for the annual Washington Chapter IARP conference on May 17-18. Earn 15 CEUs by attending both days of the conference. Exciting changes this year include:

    • 2 days of vendor participation
    • Thursday night (hosted) socializing and networking event
    • Reduced conference rate for IARP members
    • Variety of interesting speakers covering a plethora of subjects on vocational rehabilitation.

    Location: Emerald Queen Casino in Fife, in its separate, smoke-free conference center building.

    Conference costs: Early bird registration cost for IARP members is ONLY $120 for both days! Early bird registration ends on 4/15/18.

    One Day Registration: Thursday OR Friday
    Early Bird Rate (through 4/15/2018) Members: $75 / Non-members: $185
    Normal Rate (after 4/16/2018) Members: $100 / Non-members: $225
    Two Day Registration: Thursday AND Friday
    Early Bird Rate (through 4/15/2018) Members: $120 / Non-members: $350
    Normal Rate (after 4/16/2018) Members: $160 / Non-members: $430
    Thursday Night Event: Members: Free / Non-members: $20

    Register: https://connect.rehabpro.org/washington/home


    Emerald Queen Casino Hotel has reserved 20 rooms for IARP conference attendees. Make your reservation by 4/26/18; the rooms will be released to the public at that time. Smoking is allowed on the casino floor. The IARP conference room rate is $109 + tax; use the booking ID # 8385. Contact EQC at 1-888-831-7655 to make a room reservation.

    If you would rather not stay at the EQC, there are other hotels in the neighborhood.

    You Asked, We Responded.

    March 26, 2018

    At the 1/23/18 VTSG meeting and subsequent firm visits, VRCs shared with the department their concerns regarding the ADMX process. As data shows, keeping vocational services involved with injured workers helps them continue to think about returning to work and assists in moving the claim forward. In order to streamline the ADMX process, starting on 3/26/18, VRCs will only need to send an EVOC requesting the ADMX code when they are within two hours of the fee cap. Once received, a department VSS will load the ADMX.

    RLOG note:

    ADMX is loaded per EVOC request. Please contact the department to staff any barriers and continue your efforts to bring the referral to successful resolution.

    Save the Date for the June 1, 2018 L&I Spring Vocational Conference.

    March 22, 2018

    The L&I spring vocational conference will be held on June 1, 2018 at L&Is Tumwater building. The theme is, What do workers need? The conference will feature Bob Wilson, a nationally recognized expert on injured worker issues in workers compensation. A variety of speakers will discuss other topics; an hour of ethics CEU will be available.

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

    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.

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