What's New for Vocational Counselors

The latest news

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


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

October 18, 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.


L&I is recruiting an at-large member for the Vocational Technical Stakeholders Group (VTSG)

October 15, 2018

These are exciting times and this is your chance to help make a difference! We are seeking a front-line, direct service provider to serve on the VTSG as an at-large member. Expectations include:

  • Serve a 3-year term.
  • Attend 3 to 5-hour long, quarterly meetings, alternating between Tumwater and Tukwila.
  • Participate in discussions and provide input concerning vocational services policies.
  • Participate in subgroups tasked with exploring policy options.

Note: L&I may be able to assist members with transportation costs.

How will members be selected?

L&I will select the new member by an application process. We are looking for a vocational provider who:

  • Can add diversity to policy discussions.
  • Has experience assisting clients with L&I-insured or self-insured claims, or both.

If you are interested in being considered for this opportunity, please complete the Application for Membership Vocational Technical Stakeholder Group (F280-049-000) and fax to Erin Moncada at 360-902-6706 by December 21, 2018.


Canceled: Vocational Technical Steering Group (VTSG) meeting November 15

October 12, 2018

Based on feedback from external and internal VTSG participants, we are canceling the November 15 VTSG meeting. Many VTSG participants are attending other meetings in November, such as L&I's Fall Vocational Conference on November 2 and Vocational Recovery Project (VRP) meetings.

Please mark your calendars to attend the first VTSG meeting in 2019, on January 22 in Tukwila.

Thank you for your understanding. We appreciate your participation in VTSG meetings and hope to see you on January 22!


Recommendation for plan development - new letter

October 10, 2018

Sometimes we don't receive enough information to support a VRC's recommendation for plan development (SAS3). When this happens:

  • We'll send the VRC a letter outlining the specific information we need.
  • The VSS will continue to call the VRC to discuss the CLSAW report.
  • The new letter will not affect the vocational performance measure called "Eligible Recommendations Approved First Time." If you have questions, please contact Janice Orcutt at 360-902-4854.

Register now for the L&I Fall Vocational Conference

October 5, 2018

The L&I Fall Vocational Conference is November 2, 2018, in the Tumwater L&I auditorium. The theme is "Tools to Prevent Work Disability." Topics will include Vocational Recovery Project, Preferred Worker, and Helping Workers Maximize Option 2 Benefits, among others.

There are six CEUs pending, including one for ethics, through CRCC, CDMS, and ABVE. To learn more about the conference, read the agenda (320 KB PDF).

Registration

To register, submit a completed Online Registration form. The registration deadline is Monday, October 22. Seating is limited, so register now as we will end registration when full. The conference is free for all registered attendees.

Parking

Free parking is available in L&I's visitors' parking lot outside the main entrance. Overflow parking will be available in the church parking lot one block north of the L&I building. Parking is limited so we recommend carpooling to the conference.

Questions about the conference?

Contact Jennifer Santos, Conference Planner, at Jennifer.Santos@Lni.wa.gov or 360-902-6576.


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.


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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