Inquire On-line at www.INDUSTRIALHYGIENENEWS.com Working with Workers’ Compensation Ten Costly Return-to-Work Mistakes Kevin Ring
modifications of examinations, training materi- als or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommoda- tions for individuals with disabilities.
Return-to-Work is a proven business strategy in both prosperous and difficult times. Properly implemented, RTW programs can reduce costs and improve the bottom line.
Moreover, if a physician’s training is not specif- ically in the treatment of occupational injuries they may not adhere to evidence-based guide- lines. The employer must be proactive and take the lead role with both the physician and the injured worker.
Mistake #8. Don’t take time to understand the laws governing mandatory comprehen- sive medical exams before returning to work. This is one of the most confusing aspects of RTW with the ADAAA, the FMLA and state Workers’ Compensation laws having different and sometimes conflicting requirements. Understanding the laws and how they apply to your specific circumstance is critical.
However, the FMLA only creates an entitlement to unpaid leave, and therefore, in most cases, the Workers’ Compensation indemnity pay- ments may discontinue with the refusal to return to work. The employee retains the right to rein- statement to the position held when FMLA leave was taken.
Mistake #10. Believe Workers’ Compensation settlements resolve ADA liabilities. Under the ADAA, more injured employees will qualify as “Qualified Individual with a Disability” and as such can assert their right under the ADA to a reasonable accommodation, irrespective of any Workers’ Compensation settlement. During settlement negotiations, close coordi- nation is necessary between the company’s
Kevin Ring is the Director of Community Growth for the Institute of WorkComp Professionals, which trains insurance agents to help employers reduce Workers’ Compensation expenses. He joined the Institute in 2003 after having managed IT systems for a mid-sized manufacturing company. A licensed property and casualty insurance agent, he is the co-devel- oper of a new Workers’ Comp software suite that will help insurance professionals in work- ing with employers. He can be contacted at 828- 274-0959 or