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R.E.T.U.R.N.
Restoring Employees To Useful Roles and Normalcy
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Step 6:
Establish a Procedure for Implementing
Transitional Employment Strategies

When the treating physician determines that the injured worker cannot resume prior duties or if the employee begins to miss time from work, we should be notified promptly (ideally within 24 hours) so a GUARD lost-time claims representative can be assigned to the case. As part of our preliminary investigation, an independent medical exam (IME) may be scheduled. If that occurs: (1) we will ask the treating physician to prepare a narrative report that offers a diagnosis of the injured party’s current condition and cites possible work restrictions, and (2) we will request that the physician review the employee’s Job Description (see Step #3: Prepare Job Descriptions) and complete a Physical Capabilities Checklist so transitional employment strategies can be evaluated.

At this point, the actions your company takes in communicating and coordinating the R.E.T.U.R.N. process among the employee, physician, and GUARD are very important and should include a number of steps that form a basis for your company’s standard procedure.


We recommend the following steps
be incorporated into your plan:
 

 
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Notify GUARD of the lost-time claim; you will receive a Claim Acknowledgement that includes the name of the new claims representative who will be handling the case.

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Send a list of your company’s available alternative-work assignments and/or information about a modified-duty position to the treating physician, to GUARD, or to both. (See Step #5: Identify Transitional Employment Strategies.)

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Maintain frequent contact with the injured employee during time away from work, inquiring about his/her condition and making sure any changes in status are reported to the claims representative assigned to the case. Calls to the employee should be made within 48 hours of the injury and at appropriate intervals thereafter.

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Explain the purpose of the IME (to ensure continued quality care and a prompt recovery) and refer the injured party to the claims representative handling the case for answers to specific questions. Keep all communications upbeat, demonstrate concern for the worker’s welfare, and reiterate the employee’s value to the company.

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Encourage the employee to be receptive to a modified-duty or alternative-work assignment, explaining the added employee benefits of restored earning capacity and ability to engage in cross-training opportunities.

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Work with the physician, GUARD, and the employee to determine transitional employment strategies. (Solicit the assistance of the employee’s manager, supervisor, and/or Union Labor Representative, when necessary.)

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Insist that the physician document meaningful and objective work restrictions and the time period during which the limitations apply.

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Make a formal offer of a transitional assignment to the employee. (See our sample Offer of Transitional Employment Letter - Exhibit III.)

 

As communication with the medical provider is made by our staff, your company will be regularly notified of our requests and/or findings. In turn, we ask that any information you receive be forwarded to us. A dialogue of this kind and the sharing of information can help ensure that all parties have the most current data available and realistic expectations.

 

Step 6
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Home Office:  P.O. Box A-H • Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 18703-0020
www.guard.com • Customer Service Hotline 1-800-673-2465 • e-mail csr@guard.com

Restoring Employees To Useful Roles and Normalcy "The GUARD Way"



This Program is intended to be used as a guideline for employers only and
 should not replace the advice of legal counsel regarding compliance
 with state and federal workplace requirements.