Making Light-Duty Really Work for Everyone


We wrote last week about the incredible benefits of light-duty work in Washington state, but there are some challenges. First off, the clock is ticking, so it’s important to coordinate a light-duty position as quickly as possible. Other possible complications are:

  • The light-duty job may be at a different location from where the employee normally reports
  • You may need to purchase or move equipment to make the workstation suitable for light-duty work
  • The attending provider may not be aware that light-duty work is available

Even with the challenges, the benefits are too great to ignore. So, Ask Approach looks this week at an employer who’s looking at reimbursements in a new way, along with medical providers that are taking the extra step to help coordinate light-duty work.


Sharing the rewards of Stay-At-Work

One of our clients has come up with a new way of sharing their light-duty Stay-At-Work rebates. At this retail chain, each location is responsible for its own budget. And, in the world of retail, budgets are always tight.

Stay-At-Work is important to this company. They recognize that it saves money and reduces the time that the claim is open. That’s why they’ve decided to share Stay-At-Work rebates with the store manager where the injured employee is assigned. It’s a way of saying, “We know you’ve had to do some set-up work to accommodate this injured worker and we don’t want that to impact your store.” The store manager now has a direct financial benefit for bringing injured employees back to the job.

What’s more, because some locations are bigger than others, this company has also assigned injured workers to its larger stores during their light-duty assignment. These locations have more positions and a greater variety of tasks available — the only requirement is that it be within a reasonable commute for the injured employee.


Partners for seamless Return-to-Work

Injured employees can choose where to receive treatment, but it always helps if you can recommend local preferred providers. Occupational medical clinics are often good partners in the coordination of treatment and facilitation of return-to-work. At COHE, the Centers for Occupational Health and Education, based in six locations around the state, providers work with the injured worker and the employer to help get light-duty work assigned as quickly as possible.

Tip: Arrange a visit to the occupational medical clinic near your office or job site. Build a relationship with staff there so they know to keep you informed and that you always strive make light-duty work available.

Last but not least, your Approach Retro Coordinator is your strongest partner and ally for light-duty work. They can help you identify potential light-duty positions, coordinate approvals with the attending provider, and more, all while managing the claim process on your behalf. Talk with your Retro Coordinator if you have ideas or want to discuss how to make your light-duty program even more robust.