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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a return to work program?
A return to work program enables your injured employees to return to work more quickly and safely by providing appropriate transitional tasks. The employee’s participation continues until he/she has fully recovered.
Who is it for?
A return to work program is ideal for employees unable to perform their normal job duties due to illness or injury.
How does it work?
A return to work program establishes transitional tasks that are medically approved and temporary for assignment during your employee’s recovery period. By returning an injured employee to work, you can:
Promote healing by keeping your employee active
Minimize productivity loss because your employee remains on the job instead of at home
Retain skilled and experienced employees
Lower your experience modification factor, resulting in lower insurance premiums
Increase worker morale because your employees will feel productive and valued
What is a transitional task?
A transitional task is productive work in a modified or alternative capacity.
An employee who is assigned a modified transitional task will continue to work his/her regular job but with some restrictions. This may mean changing an aspect of the employee’s job or perhaps cutting down on the amount of hours the employee works.
An employee who is assigned an alternative transitional task will work in a different position than his/her normal job. For example: A school janitor is unable to stand for long periods of time, prohibiting him from performing his normal job duties. Instead, the school district has him update the safety data sheet binder.
Won’t my employee have a greater chance of re-injury if I bring him/her back before he/she is 100% better?
The benefits of returning your employee to work far outweigh the risk of re-injury. Many studies suggest the longer an employee remains at home, the less likely they are to return to work.
Doesn’t a return to work program violate medical privacy laws such as HIPPA since I have access to information on their health status?
For the most part, HIPPA privacy laws do not apply to work comp claims. You are allowed to see your injured employee’s medical records as they relate to the work-related injury.
Generally, HIPAA permits covered entities like health care providers to disclose protected health information to employers without the employee's authorization if necessary to comply with state or other laws. The information that may be provided is limited to only what is necessary for the employer to fulfill its legal obligations.