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Claims Management

3 Advantages of Using a Return-to-Work Vendor

An effective return-to-work vendor can bridge the gap between an employer and an injured worker, offering constant communication and reducing administrative tasks. We explore the benefits of this collaborative approach.

January 29, 2024

No matter the type of claim, employing effective — and oftentimes zealous — return-to-work (RTW) strategies should help move the workers’ compensation claim toward a successful resolution. In cases where an injured worker is released to work by their physician and an employer cannot accommodate the restrictions assigned, it may be time to engage with an experienced, results-driven return-to-work vendor.

“Partnering with an effective return-to-work vendor has a number of advantages,” said Craig Lackey, Large Casualty Workers’ Compensation Claims Manager at Safety National. “The right vendor has a single, critical objective: placing you in a favorable position to mitigate risk, reduce costs, and settle the claim.”

Achieving these outcomes requires a proactive hands-on approach. Here, we outline a few of the advantages offered by utilizing an effective return-to-work vendor.

1. They engage the injured worker early to prevent lost time, stalled claims, and added costs.

When a situation calls for a modified duty opportunity, it is critical to explore suitable job options to get an employee back to work faster without compromising their recovery by aggravating an injury. Finding the right fit for an injured employee can lead to a shorter claim duration and the associated costs, including lost wages for a worker. Additionally, this relationship establishes trust and understanding of the employee’s needs and potential concerns, maintaining support throughout the process.

2. The vendor works hands-on, actively sourcing jobs and scheduling interviews for the worker rather than coaching them to find their own jobs.

Often, when an injured worker is still in recovery, it can be more effective for a return-to-work vendor to organize job sourcing. They can effectively advocate on the injured worker’s behalf, connect with hiring managers, build rapport, understand employers’ preferences, and skillfully match an injured worker to a suitable role. Additionally, they can cold-call potential employers, assess the suitability of open positions, advocate on the worker’s behalf, and schedule in-person interviews. This strategy is optimal to encourage compliance and maximize the chances of a successful claim resolution.

3. They provide thorough, timely reports on RTW activities, demonstrating the worker’s cooperation (or lack thereof).

Prompt follow-up with an employer is critical to securing accurate documentation of any return-to-work plan adjustments. This will help to ensure the injured worker receives appropriate benefits while minimizing the risk of delays or discrepancies. Identifying early challenges can lead to modifications or additional rehabilitation, potentially accelerating a return to full duty. The return-to-work vendor should document each interaction with ongoing summary reports. Access to this information is essential for adjusters and attorneys to ensure a favorable claim outcome.