NCCI report offers insurers’ perspective on successful return to work programs

The National Compensation Insurance Board released a report on Monday detailing insurers’ perspectives on the components of successful return-to-work programs.

NCCI interviewed representatives from several insurance companies who write workers’ compensation cases and have expertise in return-to-work programs. Insurers surveyed identified several common elements as key to a successful transitional return to work program, with management commitment by the employer being the most important element, the report said.

The report illustrates the importance of management’s commitment being embedded in the culture of the employer and that the owner, management and employees must all be aware of this commitment to returning injured employees to a position suitable to their physical restrictions.

This includes finding tasks and positions that help keep the employee engaged, aid in rehabilitation, prevent deconditioning, and add value for both employer and employee, the report says.

Other key elements identified in the report were communication and setting clear expectations alongside management commitment, both before and after an injury occurs.

One insurer stated that a strong program “requires collaboration between all parties – the injured employee, the medical provider providing the treatment, as well as the insurer and the employer. The collaboration is important because it demonstrates each party’s commitment to the health of an injured employee and that a safe return, as soon as medically appropriate, is important to them.

The report also promoted a common return-to-work tool to create and maintain an inventory of light or transitional tasks. All insurers interviewed discussed their efforts to help employers identify these tasks and develop a job description for the medical provider to review, the report said.

According to the NCCI, by identifying these tasks before the injury occurs, the return to work process can be made more efficient.

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