Posted on July 1, 2016
A recent change by the directors of the Georgia State Board will make the process of helping injured employees return to work more efficient.
Summary of Change
The Georgia State Board revised Board Rule 200.2; as of Jan. 1, the revision will now allow employers to “utilize qualified medical case managers to provide telephonic or field medical case management services.” This allows a case manager an opportunity to communicate with the doctor directly during the “240 procedure.” The case manager will also be allowed to communicate directly with the injured employee if permission is given by the claimant.
Implemented in 2002, Board Rule 240 and the “240 procedure” was created as a way to allow injured employees a way to transition back to work. The intended goal was to allow the employer to “unilaterally suspend income benefits upon the employee’s return to work or refusal to accept a properly offered suitable job.”
Board Rule 200.2 focuses on the process of identifying the job duties and physical limitations of the injured employee found during the “240 procedure.” The procedure benefits the employees because they will know their limitations and it benefits the employer because the injured employee will not be able to justify refusal to work that has been plausibly reviewed. The procedure is usually handled by case manager, individuals who provide services to injured employees to help them recover from their injuries.
Impact on Return-to-Work
So how will this benefit the employer? Before January 1, only the employer or claims professional could have direct contact with the doctor during the “240 Procedure.” This made the process slower, which accrued additional costs. The new rule allows the case manager to assist with the approval of light duty job descriptions and communicate directly with the doctor. In many cases this will be useful in obtaining information from the doctors more quickly. It will also allow the employer or insurer to obtain faster physician approval of light duty jobs as well.
The new implementation along with ReEmployAbility’s return-to-work program, Transition2Work, means the injured employee can transition back to work quickly. It also helps the employer retain skilled employees, saves the company money by reducing the duration of the claim, and it helps the community thrive.
Posted on April 20, 2016
Through the Transition2Work program, ReEmployAbility has been able to provide thousands of invaluable volunteer hours to nonprofit agencies each year. The ability to help the community motivates the dedicated team to work hard every day.
The foundation of ReEmployAbility is centered on the purpose of giving back and service to the community. Since its opening in 2003, ReEmployAbility has partnered with over 30,000 nonprofit organizations nationwide, ranging from large organizations like Habitat for Humanity to small, local organizations such as food pantries and libraries.
“We love the ReEmployAbility Program,” said Jeanine W., General Manager of the Children’s Boutique at Steven’s Hope. “The volunteers that come to us from ReEmployAbility are well skilled individuals who arrive daily with a friendly, helpful attitude. Their work productivity is excellent and enables us to improve our profitability and ultimately assist more families with seriously ill or injured children. Our volunteers form friendships together and it makes us very happy to see them improve from their injury and return back to work. We are very grateful for our partnership with ReEmployAbility!”
Over the past 13 years, more than 2.8 million volunteer hours have been assigned through the Transition2Work program. Volunteers are able to work safely within their restrictions as they continue to practice or learn new skills.
Top 5 Benefits of Volunteering
Not only is volunteering beneficial to the community, but many volunteers experience benefits as well. Research indicates there are many mental and physical health benefits to volunteering. Programs such as Transition2Work that place injured workers in volunteer assignments with nonprofit organizations can help achieve positive outcomes and provide these benefits for aiding recovery.
- Combat Depression: Often when injured workers spend a lot of time at home while nursing an injury, the lack of socializing could really pay a toll on mental health. Studies show that social isolation is a key factor of depression. According to an article by the Corporation for National & Community Service, volunteering can improve functional ability and lowers rates of depression.
Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and within a positive atmosphere, which could help combat the risk of social isolation.
- Provides Sense of Purpose: Volunteering can positively influence an injured workers’ sense of purpose, accomplishment, and self‐worth as well as increase the volunteers’ social network, help to avoid isolation, and can buffer stress. Injured workers run the risk of entering a slump where they feel they are not contributing as much as they once were. They can get their mind off of their own worries by volunteering and earning a sense of purpose by helping others.
- Improved Physical Health and Speedy Recovery: Research has proven that volunteers tend to have greater life satisfaction and better physical health than those who do not volunteer. A study by United Healthcare and VolunteerMatch shows the majority of those who volunteer (93%) reported that volunteering keeps them physically active and (84%) said it improves their physical health. Additionally, most participants (73%) cite volunteering lowers stress levels. This can lead to quicker recovery and the injured worker to return to work faster.
- Beneficial to Those Experiencing Chronic Pain: Many who sustain an injury that causes chronic pain may feel hopeless while in recovery. However, a study by Arnstein et al (2002) exploring the benefits of volunteering for those with chronic pain showed volunteers with chronic pain saw a decrease in pain intensity and levels of disability and depression.
- Development of New Skills and Experience: Not only can volunteering help with social and relationship skills, but it can also provide an opportunity to advance current labor skills and introduce injured workers to new skills that can be beneficial to their pre-injury employer. Volunteers are often in a new environment, exposed to new trades and are challenged and exposed to new tasks.
Interested In Becoming A Nonprofit Partner?
Want to make a difference in the life of an injured worker? Help someone in your area continue to earn a paycheck while volunteering for your organization! Get the extra help you need, and provide the healing opportunity of a lifetime! Contact ReEmployAbility today to learn more about the benefits of joining ReEmployAbility’s national nonprofit network and be among the first to learn of a new volunteer in your area.
Posted on April 18, 2016
For the past four years, ReEmployAbility Placement Coordinator, Kristina Delgado, has also served in the Air Force Reserve as a Diet Therapy Technician assigned to the 440th Medical Squadron at the Pope Army Airfield in North Carolina.
“Currently I serve as the Unit Fitness Training Manager,” Kristina explained. “I ensure members are ‘Fit to Fight’ and meet standards set by the Air Force.”
Kristina does this by monitoring annually scheduled fitness assessment scores and tracking unit member’s readiness status to make sure they are ready to deploy at all times.
We are proud to announce that recently, Kristina was promoted to Staff Sergeant Select after spending five rigorous weeks in Airman Leadership School (ALS). Those who are invited to attend ALS are a select few who have displayed strong leadership skills. Kristina was invited by Command Chief Master Sergeant Rocky V. Hart. Kristina explained that the Command Chief Master Sergeant is the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force. He is also the assistant to the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.
“I attended a formal ceremony in support of my fellow wingmen,” Kristina said. “During social hour, CCM Rocky V. Hart shook my hand and ordered that I have my ALS application on his desk the next day!”
Due to CCM Hart’s endorsement of Kristina, a process that would have normally taken over a month, only took three days. Kristina explained that this opportunity is not normally offered to a reservist.
Kristina explained that ALS is a five-week-long Air Force program designed to develop airmen into effective front-line supervisors. She said that ALS focuses on developing leadership abilities, the profession of arms, and building effective communication.
“We learn to properly supervise subordinates, set expectations/standards, provide feedback sessions, complete counseling for rehabilitation, and write awards/decorations,” she said. “During the course we are expected to successfully meet standards and pass a formative exam exemplifying an understanding of concepts taught during class.”
Trainees must also meet fitness requirements, as well as successfully command a marching flight and practice military custom and courtesies. They must also complete 55 community service hours, in which Kristina and her team revitalized a school blacktop and garden/entry area.
Kristina said that going through ALS was challenging for her to manage due to her already hectic schedule. On top of working for ReEmployAbility, she is also a full-time student, studying business administration at Campbell University and has a nine year-old daughter, Naomi.
“I thank God my daughter was such trooper during this demanding time for me,” she said. “Nothing easy is worth having which makes this all the more sweet for me.”
She said she enjoyed the experience and feels she has gained a lot of vital leadership skills that can apply to not only her military life but also her civilian life.
“I now have the tools to shape myself into better leader that is rounded, purposeful, and constantly trying to evolve for the greater good,” she explained. “Ultimately, I am proud to say that I am a part of the World’s Greatest Air Force and I feel beyond blessed to have learned some of the most valuable lessons that will live with me forever!”
We’re proud to have such a hard-working service woman on our team! Way to go Kristina!
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Posted on April 13, 2016
From leading a team in the office to leading a team on the football field, Nikki Whitehead proves that she can take charge in any situation.
Nikki joined the ReEmployAbility team in late 2014. She started out as a Placement Coordinator for the Transition2Work team and quickly climbed the ranks. She now spearheads a team of five placement coordinators.
While she spends most of her free time with her 6-year-old son, Sean, she also enjoys spending time going head to head on the field for an all woman’s semi-pro tackle football team.
Donning the #87 jersey, Nikki plays Defense Corner for The Tampa Bay Inferno. Though this is her first year, she has been able to show her leadership skills and is the only rookie captain on the team.
Nikki is no stranger to playing tackle football. She played on the Powder Puff team during her senior year at Durant High School.
“To have the company support me during this journey in playing football, has been awesome,” Nikki said. “To see my co-workers in the stands, cheering me on is a great feeling. It’s exciting to know that not only am I part of a great team, but I am also part of a great company that supports me. It’s very rewarding.”
Did you enjoy the video?
You can check out Nikki in action live! Click here for this season’s The Tampa Bay Inferno game schedule and more information.
Posted on March 24, 2016
Each year, thousands of risk management professionals from around the world flock to the RIMS Annual Conference & Exhibition for professional development and networking opportunities.
ReEmployAbility Co-Founders Frances Ford and Debra Livingston said they look forward to attending the conference every year because it gives them an opportunity to interact and connect with many of their nationwide clients they may not normally have an opportunity to see.
This year’s conference is envisioned to be a sentimental one for the founding duo, as it will be held in San Diego, the same city that hosted the first conference they attended as a young company in 2008.
As Livingston reminisced about their first trip, she said that, in a way, this year’s event will bring the company full circle.
“Back when we started our business, we were little fish in this huge pond,” she explained. “We were trying to make a name for ourselves and attract people to us. As we have now progressed in our business, it is exciting to go back to where it all started and to now have people seeking us out. It is a very different experience for us today than it was eight years ago.”
This year the pair will be joined by Vice President of Sales, Kelly Lawless, and two Account Executives, Davida Bloomberg and Mary Bennett.
Lawless shares the same nostalgic enthusiasm as Ford and Livingston as the 2008 conference was her first RIMS conference as well.
“I was very new to the company having only been on-board for a few months,” Lawless said, as she recalled being encouraged though she and the owners had no idea what to expect as first time vendors. “That first year did not disappoint on any level – from the opening cocktail party and entertainment, to business opportunities, to the scenic setting of San Diego itself – and we have attended every conference since.”
The team agrees that RIMS does an amazing job capturing the essence of the many cities that are hosting. From the Cirque du Soleil act in San Diego to a trip to the Mardi Gras museum in New Orleans, they look forward to what is in store during the opening ceremony every year.
“The music, culture, food, art and entertainment that the conference has always been able to capture in every city is continuously outstanding,” Bennett said.
Bloomberg added that her favorite memory took place a couple of years ago, “I was sitting with my co-workers and some other industry leaders after the opening night at the L.A. conference, and we just had an amazing, bonding moment,” she said. “We enjoyed some great conversations and randomly broke out into song, singing Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’”
Though the RIMS conference is an exciting opportunity for the team to network and interact with risk professionals around the globe, it also provides an opportunity to showcase the many highly beneficial services that ReEmployAbility has to offer.
“It is very important to have a growing presence at RIMS every year,” Bennett said. “We are currently the industry leader thanks to our Transition2Work program. Attendees love to learn what is new in the industry and that curiosity always leads them to our booth because we set the industry standard and they want to make an impact on their bottom line when it comes to workers’ comp and non-occupational disability claims. We can help them do that.”
Every year, ReEmployAbilty looks for new and exciting ways to stay ahead of the curve. Livingston explained that attendees are always seeking out solutions to a main problem — return-to-work. She explained that ReEmployAbility has consistently been the solution for the past nine years.
“We’re excited to exhibit this year, because we have expanded our services and we hope to meet with the attendees and explain all of the new enhancements and improvements to our services,” Ford said.
One enhancement includes an innovative, telephone-based electronic time tracking service as a new option for clients. Electronic Time Tracking allows injured employees to clock in and out for each shift by calling a toll free number from the nonprofit agency’s landline telephone. Employers are able to receive immediate online access to employee time records via a secure login, providing accurate and timely records of each employee’s activity during the Transition2Work nonprofit assignment.
Thanks to consistent growth, the company launched a new Client Services Department, allowing clients a more in-depth and personal experience. The department serves as the first point of contact to introduce the company’s Return-to-Work services, such as Transition2Work, and provides consultation and support to clients as they implement the company’s programs. In addition, the team provides ongoing support and conducts quality assurance.
And lastly, Lawless is excited to announce plans to expand the services into the Canadian market and is looking forward to connecting with companies who currently have Canadian exposure and hopefully potential Canadian clients.
“In 2016 we know that a lot of the attendees are looking for innovative, cost saving solutions to workers’ comp, return-to-work is a huge part of that. We’re proud to be the largest return-to-work company providing transitional duty and we look forward to speaking to our existing and future clients to explain the benefits of our services,” Ford concluded.
If you are attending RIMS ’16 April 10-13, stop by the ReEmployAbility booth — #1738 — in the main exhibit hall for exclusive opportunities.
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Posted on March 11, 2016
Off-site transitional duty programs like Transition2Work are designed to supplement an employers’ internal Return-to-Work (RTW) program. As an extension of the employer’s RTW program, wage payment policy for off-site duty should be consistent with on-site transitional duty.
Long-term Benefits of RTW outweigh the Short-term Cost of Wage Payment
Research supports that injured employees who participate in a RTW program recover and return to full duty faster than those who do not participate in one. Studies indicate that effective RTW programs can save a company 30% in lost time days and 35% on medical costs. Fast return to work shortens the length of the workers’ compensation claim, which keep costs down and minimizes future insurance premium increases. When the employer pays the injured employee’s wages, the claim indemnity cost is reduced. The indemnity cost has a significant impact on an employer’s experience modification and on future insurance premiums.
Wage Payment Preserves the Employer- Employee Relationship
When an employee participates in an off-site transitional assignment, the employer pays the injured employee for their time in the assignment which maintains the statutory relationship between the employer and employee and makes the offer of off-site modified duty an extension of employment. At minimum, injured employees are entitled to their workers’ compensation benefits and the employers’ light duty wage should be as much as or more than the benefits. Paying the employee a wage during modified duty work provides an additional financial incentive that encourages the employee to participate and experience the rewards of Return-to-Work.
Payment of Wages Improves Employee Morale
In addition to long-term cost savings, continuing to pay wages will increase morale in the workplace by helping ensure the employee does not experience financial difficulties due to their injury. Also, allowing an employee the opportunity to connect to their community by performing transitional duty off-site while earning wages gives the employee a sense of purpose.
When you consider the full scope of long-term benefits early RTW can provide, the decision to pay an injured employee a wage to encourage participation in such a program should be easy. After all, if the employee were to perform modified duty at the employer’s place of business, there would be a wage paid for that work — off-site, light duty should be no different as he or she is still your employee and follows your company’s guidelines.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.
Posted on December 11, 2015
Introducing a new, improved Transition2Work assignment follow-up process
We recently made a significant change to the way we manage our Transition2Work participants during their assignments. The updated process is an improvement to the way we interact with our nonprofit partners and the injured workers in our assignments, and it’s making an important impact on our results!
More contact with the injured worker
Now, on the first day of the nonprofit assignment, our Placement Coordinator calls and speaks with both the employee (where allowable based on jurisdictional guidelines) and the nonprofit supervisor to confirm participation, answer any questions, and discuss the time tracking process. At the end of week one, the Placement Coordinator follows up with the employee and nonprofit supervisor to ensure everything is continuing to go well. After the first week, our Transition2Work Administrators begin conducting biweekly follow-ups. For the first six weeks of the assignment, they speak with the nonprofit supervisor and injured worker. Thereafter, they continue to get feedback from the nonprofit supervisor and periodically (at unannounced times) speak with the injured worker as well.
More successful nonprofit assignments
This new follow-up process benefits everyone involved! Since implementing these changes, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our team and partners. The new process reinforces a connection to the employee, improving communication, and helping to ensure the employee fully understands the details of their participation in our Transition2Work program. With improved communication, injured workers are better able to follow through with their responsibilities and continue participating in the program.
Most importantly, by improving communication and providing this enhanced level of service, we are able to give our clients peace of mind that their employees are safely participating in the program so they can return to work as quickly as possible!
Expect The Unexpected: An injured worker’s Transition2Work assignment leads to an unexpected opportunity
Posted on December 10, 2015
Sometimes unexpected opportunities arise while an injured worker participates in ReEmployAbility’s Transition2Work program. Recently Jeramie Stubbs, an injured worker who volunteers with the Assisted Rides Program through Transition2Work, had the unique chance to meet the governor of South Carolina.
After a work-related injury, Jeramie’s employer placed him in ReEmployAbility’s Transition2Work program to provide modified duty at a nonprofit agency while he heals. Our team secured a placement for him with Assisted Rides Program in Georgetown, South Carolina. The Assisted Rides Program works to fill the transportation gap currently faced by disabled individuals 21 and older and senior individuals 60 and up. The program helps enhance quality of life of individuals by providing non-emergency rides to doctor’s offices, grocery stores, pharmacies, human service agencies, social activities, and more!
While volunteering at the Assisted Rides Program Jeramie has assisted with volunteer paperwork, helped to train volunteers on safety, as well as help to recruit new volunteers. Volunteering has provided Jeramie the chance to improve the lives of others, and also benefited him personally. Jeramie, a HVAC Helper by trade, says about his experience in the program, “It’s really helped me with my communication skills; speaking out in public to large groups, I’ve overcome my shyness. I really enjoy teaching people about the (Assisted Rides) program and people appreciate what I’m saying.” He has immensely enjoyed being part of the program and respects what the nonprofit organization is doing for the local community. Being involved in ReEmployAbility’s Transistion2Work program has been a hands on learning experience for Jeramie.
After the recent flood that devastated many cities in South Carolina, the Assisted Rides Program attended an event to help those in need of assistance. The governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, came to assist and to thank everyone for their effort in helping the community recover. She stopped by the Assisted Rides Program’s table and personally thanked Jeramie for all he has done to help people after the flood.
The Assisted Rides Program’s Mobility Manager, Trina Carson, also appreciates everything Jeramie has done to help the program, “He has promoted it in the community, getting more volunteers and has been a great ambassadors for the program, doing presentations about it in the community. It’s a tremendous help having him come in every day.” The program would not exist without the hard work dedicated volunteers like him.
Through Transition2Work, Jeramie has had a positive experience, improving his skills, and been able to make a significant impact in his community while volunteering for the Assisted Rides Program!
Posted on December 4, 2015
ReEmployAbility is now offering an innovative new service enhancement to Transition2Work clients!
Now, employers utilizing Transition2Work for off-site modified duty for their employees’ can choose to utilize a new Electronic Time Tracking option to track their employees’ time while in the program. In lieu of paper time sheets, Electronic Time Tracking allows injured employees to clock in and out for each shift by calling a toll free number from the nonprofit agency’s landline telephone. Employers are able to receive immediate online access to employee time records via a secure login, providing accurate and timely records of each employee’s activity during the Transition2Work nonprofit assignment.
Electronic Time Tracking is simple and easy to use! ReEmployAbility sets up online access and provides step-by-step instructions to access each employees’ time records. The injured worker receives easy to follow instructions for utilizing the telephonic time tracking system. At the beginning of each shift, the injured worker will use the nonprofit agency’s landline business telephone to call the designated toll free number and follow the system prompts to enter a unique access code, job code, and an activity code. Employers have real-time online access to each employee’s time records 24/7 with the ability to add text or email alerts.
The Electronic Time Tracking option provides many benefits to clients: It gives clients assurance by utilizing caller ID and voice verification technology to validate an employees’ location while working off-site at a nonprofit agency; real-time access to time records allows for instant visibility of each employee’s participation in the assignment; and employers receive reliable tracking of employee time on demand so payroll deadlines are easily met.
Interested in using Electronic Time Tracking for your program participants?
Signing up for Electronic Time Tracking easy! Contact one of our Client Services Manager’s by calling toll free (866) 663-9880 or emailing ClientServicesTeam@reemployability.com.
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Posted on December 2, 2015
Max’s job performance has been beyond outstanding. His initiative and motivation have more than exceeded standards; they have been inspirational. Max took the lead on the [Non-Profit] Home Fire Prevention Campaign in this area. He is personally responsible for scheduling, coordinating, and installing smoke alarms in the homes of 49 local families. In less than one month, Max has helped more people than our combined effort for last year’s campaign. He deserves special recognition.
—Volunteer Coordinator, Humanitarian Organization
The impact that volunteers in our Transition2Work program have on their local community is truly amazing! Our philosophy is based on a strong belief in creating ‘win-win’ outcomes – combining benefits for companies, employees, and communities for real, positive impact. Exceptional Transition2Work participants like Max embody that philosophy and their hard work to exceed expectations is inspirational!