We know that returning injured employees to work in a timely manner improves outcomes both for the employee and the school district. That is why we created a Return-to-Work position to address the gap between workers being released back to work and the districts being able to accommodate any light or modified duty restrictions.
Aliza Hauser has joined our team as the Return-to-Work Manager to lead this endeavor. She comes to PSWCT with over 12 years of experience in the return-to-work and job development process.
Aliza will be dedicated to managing the Return-to-Work program for the Trust and supporting school districts as they return their injured employees to work. She will also work with the claims consultants, providing individual case management services to help our district representatives save money for their districts through lower claim costs and workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
“Our focus on Return-to-Work fills the gap between loss control and workers’ compensation claims management and resolution, providing districts with a team of professionals that support, guide and resolve problems.”
While accident prevention is the best way to reduce overall injury costs, an effective Return-to-Work program is the best way to lower claim costs and improve employee recovery after a workplace injury has occurred. Look at these statistics:
- Having a return-to-work program reduces the length of an injured workers’ absences by an average of 3.6 weeks. (RAND Institute for Civil Justice)
- Injured workers who are off longer than 6 months have only a 50% chance of ever returning to their job. (Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service)
- Compensable claims on average cost 37 times more than non-compensable claims. (Washington State Department of Labor & Industries)
- Nationally, compensable claims on average cost 44 times more than non-compensable claims. (National Council for Compensation Insurance)
In addition, there are real consequences to not working. Long-term “worklessness” carries more risk to health than many “killer diseases” and more risk than most dangerous jobs. There are many health effects of worklessness:
- 2-3 times the risk of poor health
- 2-3 times the risk of mental illness
- Significant increase in risk of depression
- Significant increase in overall mortality rate
Source: Journal of Insurance Medicine
In addition to decreased costs in time loss, medical expenses, and insurance premiums, return-to-work programs provide many benefits:
- Lowers costs in hiring and training of replacements
- Shows commitment to employees
- Maintains employer-employee relationship
- Minimizes loss of productivity
- Utilizes the skills of injured workers
- Retains sense of job security for injured workers
- Helps injured worker’s well-being (feel needed, retain usual wages, maintain level of fitness to do the job, reduce stress, improve self-image, more likely to return to work)
One of our key goals for 2018-19 is to bring stakeholders together for the best workforce outcomes. To achieve that goal, we are focusing on our Return-to-Work Interactive Process. This process ensures that all stakeholders are engaged and all available return-to-work options are thoroughly explored at the district level.
Aliza has already begun meeting with district stakeholders to learn about their return-to-work programs, and has learned that many districts want their employees back at work as soon as possible. She has also found that most districts do have a return-to-work program and just need support in documenting the work that they are already completing. Aliza will also be working towards the goal of supporting members in reasonable accommodations and returning their injured workers back to work sooner.
Aliza will be calling all of our district contacts to introduce herself and to set times for on-site meetings to discuss the Return-to-Work program. We look forward to partnering with you in this important work.