Return to Work Analysis


What key indicators can you look during the Fact Find process to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative duty programs?


1. Does a formal program exist? This would include a policy statement by the owner and a statement in the handbook.

2. Are new hires advised that an alternative work program exist during new hire orientation? This should be covered with other benefit programs.

3. Are the supervisors aware of their role in alternative duty? They have the first contact with the employee and frequently the only contact before the employee goes to the doctor. They should be responsible for advising the injured worker that alternative work will be made available.

4. Are key individuals in the organization aware of the premium impact of lost time claims? A dollar paid in lost time claims costs at least three times what a dollar paid in a medical only claim.

    • Does the owner/CFO know?

    • Does the individual responsible for processing claims know?

    • Do the supervisors know?

    • Does the adjuster handling your claims know?

    • Does your current agent know

5. When the injured worker leaves to see the doctor do they take anything with them to advise the doctor of the employers RTW Program? If the doctor is not aware that alternative duty exists we cannot fault the doctor for not giving restrictions. A WC Accident Kit kept at strategic places in the employer work site can solve this problem.

6. Does a list of alternative duty tasks exist? When an injured worker shows up with restrictions from the doctor the employer must know immediately what work is available. If the list is prepared ahead of time then the tasks can be circled and given to the employee immediately as their job description. It also adds credibility with the medical community in securing their cooperation on setting restrictions. This is a good job for safety committees and supervisors. You don't want to scramble calling around the company asking if anyone has work at the last minute.

7. Is there a preferred medical clinic and has a relationship been developed with the clinic? The employer should be a "consumer" and tell the clinic what level of service and communication they expect.

8. Have the physicians toured the employer’s plant and observed the work being done? This helps the physician diagnose injuries, decide on whether or not the injury is work related and if the employee can return to some type of work.

The answers or lack of answers, to these questions can tell us if R&R can help this employer solve problems and save money. When these answers are combined with analysis of the experience modification and loss history we will have a fairly accurate assessment of the employers claim management culture.


Contributed by R & R Insurance Services
Copyright 2001