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 Recovery Project featured in national blog

June 15, 2018

One of the highlights of our June 1 vocational conference was a talk by Bob Wilson, president and CEO of WorkersCompensation.com. Bob stayed around after his talk and got to hear VRCs and L&I claim managers talk about their experiences on our Vocational Recovery pilot. Their comments inspired him to write a blog, With Vocational Recovery Project, Washington L&I Returns to Return to Work. The Private Sector Should Pay Attention to Their Results.

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.

Activity Coaching Referral form updated

June 11, 2018

We have updated the Referral for Activity Coaching Program form (F245-413-000). Effective immediately, use this updated version dated 04/2018, available online.

Changes include:

  • Moved activity coach fax to top of page and added program information.
  • Added Activity Coach Preference to Other Information area.
  • Added a For Department Use Only section to bottom of page.

How does this change affect vocational providers?

  • Vocational Counselors should discontinue use of the old form and start using the updated one.
  • Clarifies it is the attending provider who signs the form.

New process: Employment Security Department records

June 11, 2018

We heard you! L&I has a new process that eliminates delays in obtaining records from the Employment Security Department (ESD).

By signing box 43 of the Report of Accident, a worker authorizes L&I to get ESD records. So now, within 10 days of an Ability to Work Assessment referral, our team member will obtain up to 10 years of the workers employment history and send it to the claim file.

If after 10 days, the records are not in the claim file and box 43 is signed, please contact the claim manager to request the records.

Please note that although the ESD records only go back 10 years, vocational counselors should continue to document a complete work history and address any gaps in employment.

Vocational conference slides now available

June 7, 2018

Thank you for attending our June 1 vocational conference, What Do Workers Need? Attendance was larger than ever!

Heres a link to the conference slides (2 MB PDF).

If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Santos at Jennifer.santos@lni.wa.gov or call 360-902-6576.

New website for Vocational Recovery Project

May 30, 2018

Read about how the work of the project is getting done. The site includes Frequently Asked Questions that will be updated as the project progresses.

You can revisit the site in coming months to learn about proposals emerging from the project. This work will shape how vocational services are provided to workers in the future.

VSS staff updates

May 17, 2018

The Claims VSS staff are happy to announce that Teri Wohlers, CDMS, joined our team on 1/16/18 and John Martinez, CDMS, joined us on 5/15/18.

Please check Contact Us to find the most up-to-date unit coverage assignments.

Plan Modification tips

May 15, 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 version and if the worker is Spanish speaking (and not legally represented), be sure to use the Spanish version.
  3. Wrong type of request. If equipment is needed to accommodate restrictions due to the industrial injury, request these using the Pre-job Accomodation Assistance Application.

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

Accountability Agreement updated — AGAIN

May 10, 2018

Last month we announced changes to the Accountability Agreement for retraining plans. The changes had to do with clearly identifying behavior at school as it relates to a school's policies as one of the accountability expectations for injured workers.

We are removing that change. We determined that in some cases the new language could be construed as problematic. We are leaving the reference to RCW 51.32.096 as it provides one of the bases for actions if a worker is non-cooperative during a retraining plan.

Learn about the Preferred Worker Programs Continuous Employment Incentive

May 8, 2018

An eligible employer who continuously employs a certified preferred worker at a medically approved job without reduction in base wages for at least 12 months may receive a one-time Continuous Employment Incentive (CEI) payment of 10% of the workers wages or $10,000 (whatever is the lesser amount).

Employers can find the form to apply for the CEI on the Preferred Worker Programs Apply and Get Benefits webpage. Please call 1-800-845-2634 with questions or assistance with completing the form.

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.

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.

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.

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