What's New for Vocational Counselors

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

Proposed payment model clarifications

December 6, 2018

Our message on November 30, 2018, announced proposed payment modernizations effective January 1, 2019. We want to clarify that:

  • The fee cap increases will apply to all open referrals.
  • The proposal allows a vocational provider to bill professional time for a 30-day progress report up to a cap of $50 per report.

How to submit comments

If you have comments or questions about any of the payment modernizations L&I is proposing, please send them to the Vocational Recovery Project at vocrecoveryproject@lni.wa.gov.

WorkSource Pierce is moving!

December 4, 2018

The Pierce County WorkSource office will be moving on December 10, 2018. You can find them at the following address:

2121 S. State Street
Suite 300
Tacoma, WA 98405

This location will:

  • Enhance services for our customers by bringing all WorkSource partners together in one location.
  • Provide easy access to public transit, with a bus stop on Pierce Transit Route 57 right outside the building.

Please note that as of December 10, 2018, WorkSource Tacoma Avenue South and South Cedar Street buildings will be closed. Customers will need to receive services at the State Street location.

You will be able to reach Gillian J. H. Fox, VSS for the Region 3 L&I WorkSource Partnership Program, at 253-593-7384.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Gillian Fox.

2019 Vocational Technical Stakeholders Group (VTSG) meetings update

December 3, 2018

In 2019, VTSG will meet quarterly instead of every other month. This scheduling change will:

  • Allow us more time to act on feedback from the vocational community and VTSG members.
  • Support VRCs who participate regularly at VTSG and in the Vocational Recovery Project.
  • Help us create robust agendas for future meetings.

You can review the 2019 meeting schedule on the VTSG webpage.

L&I proposes changes in payment model for vocational services

November 30, 2018

L&I is modernizing certain payment policies to encourage the provision of worker-centric services envisioned under the Vocational Recovery Project. These changes follow several years when the hourly rates for vocational services did not increase.

Effective for services provided on or after January 1, 2019, payment policies will change in 5 areas, as summarized below.

  1. Professional rate: Increases the rate 4% for VRCs and interns
  2. Travel: Changes the starting point of the trip to the vocational provider’s primary branch office instead of the office where the referral was made. L&I staff will be working with firms to confirm the primary branch offices for their vocational providers. In many cases, the primary branch office will be the firm’s office located closest to a provider’s home. 
  3. Fee caps:
    1. Increases the fee cap for AWA to $6,760. This change is based on the experience of the ADMX pilot of the past few years. (All other fee caps increase 4%, consistent with the change in the professional rate.)
    2. With the exceptions of forensic referrals and stand-alone job analyses, the ADMX process applies to all other referral types.
  4. Job Modification and Pre-Job Accommodation: Clarifies and expands activities covered under consultation services 0823V/0824V. This includes exploring any type of modification and discussing L&I’s Stay at Work and Preferred Worker return-to-work incentive programs. 
  5. Progress reports: Limits billing for progress reports to $50 per 30-day report.
For additional details, you can review the updates to Chapter 30 Vocational Services on L&I’s 2018 MARFS Updates and Corrections webpage.

Self-employed workers and preferred worker benefits

November 26, 2018

In light of questions raised at the Fall Vocational Conference, there may be some confusion about self-employed workers eligibility for preferred worker benefits. Please note the following clarification.

Washington State law RCW 51.32.095(4) excludes self-employed workers from receiving preferred worker benefits. This means that:

  • Self-employed workers cannot be certified as preferred workers.
  • The Preferred Worker Program cannot pay employer incentives based on self-employed work.

Vocational conference slides are now available

November 20, 2018

Thank you to all those who attended the L&I Fall Vocational Conference on November 2, 2018. You can view the slide presentation here (PDF 1.7MB).

To address questions you asked about Disability Prevention and Management (DPAM), we are refining that portion of the slides and will post them on this webpage at a later date.

Vocational Technical Stakeholders 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 web page.

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 Stakeholders Group (F280-049-000) and fax to Erin Moncada at 360-902-6706 by December 21, 2018.

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.

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.

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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