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Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Care Coordination Strategies from Washington’s COHE Model

Through this national online dialogue, your ideas will help us explore ways that states might adopt or adapt occupational health best practices and care coordination strategies from Washington’s Centers of Occupational Health and Education (COHE) model to improve outcomes for injured workers.

Each year, millions of workers develop an illness or sustain an injury that threatens their ability to work. Many may leave the labor force, especially if they do not receive and use timely and effective health, rehabilitation, and employment services. Key stakeholders in the Workers’ Compensation system - from insurers, to employers, to health care providers to the injured workers themselves – will benefit from stay-at-work/return-to-work strategies that promote workforce attachment.

In the State of Washington, COHEs work with medical providers, employers, and injured workers in a community-based program designed to ensure timely, effective and coordinated services. COHEs improve injured worker outcomes and reduce disability by training providers and coordinating care. For more information about the COHE model visit State of Washington Department of Labor and Industries or view our recent Replicating and Adapting COHE Strategies webinar.

Through this online dialogue, we are asking for your ideas on what it would take for other states to replicate or adapt COHE strategies in their state’s service delivery and policy context. This information will be used to guide the work of a Policy Working Group to develop resources and materials to assist states and other key stakeholders in improving services to injured workers.

As you submit your ideas or comment and vote on ideas submitted by others below, please keep the following guiding questions in mind:

We look forward to your contributions and thank you in advance for joining us in this important effort.

For further instructions on how to participate in this online dialogue, visit How to Get Started.

To learn more about this dialogue, visit Learn More about This Dialogue.

(@scotth)

Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship Career Options

The model already exists. Persons with disabling conditions already own businesses in Washington State.

I was a VRC funded by USDOEd/RSA on a Title 130 Grant. I've helped clients pursue skills training by providing them with VR services not offered by Pell Grants or state programs. I often explain to people about there being two cultures in America, urban and rural. Small businesses are often the only answer. The traditional practice is to collateralize a SBA loan of up to $500,000 at a 2% interest. Did you know all the... more »

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(@epolicyworks)

Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship Career Options

Voc Rehab Support for Entrepreneurship - Comment

In addition to providing financial support to consumer for education, vocational rehabilitation programs can provide support for entrepreneurship training programs or help cover the fees for business start-up. In places where consumers can get special certifications for their business (like MWBE status), vocational rehabilitation can help with that. Fundamentally, there needs to be a culture within voc rehab that permits... more »

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Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship Career Options

Inclusive Banking - Comment

Maybe pursuing banking regulations on community business funding allotments to go to 'inclusive' (disabled, veterans, drug addicts, homeless, ex-conviction) business financing, This is where a community can provide an effective helping hand, counseling and business community networking to invest in future successes. If banks can support these groups that need the most hand holding for success, it can only help improve... more »

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(@epolicyworks)

Stay-at-Work and Return-to-Work

Employer Awareness - Comment

Roberta Etcheverry (@re0000) In terms of making employers aware of programs such as this, I have a few ideas. One way would be to work through the various insurers and have it be required that a notice about the program is included with all policy renewals. Another idea would be to have notice about the program provided at the time of issuing a business license to companies with employees. There are also organizations... more »

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(@epolicyworks)

Stay-at-Work and Return-to-Work

Negative Incentives - Comment

Jennifer H. Christian, MD, MPH, FACOEM (@jhchristian) There are two separate issues here. Having a formal written program does not mean it will be used. When I worked in Alaska, I was a member of the group that wrote the Municipality's Anchorage's RTW policy. When we finished, the HR person who led the effort told me "There, that's that." I asked how we were going to implement it going forward. She said "I have no intention... more »

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Stay-at-Work and Return-to-Work

Job Placement Assistance - Comment

Jennifer H. Christian, MD, MPH, FACOEM (@jhchristian) 3 months ago I think that what workers really need is assistance with finding a new job. The IPS model of vocational rehabilitation listens to what people want to do and then finds them jobs. That's what they need most. Getting paid to look for work on your own doesn't work well if you don't have good job finding skills. Why spend the time and money preparing people... more »

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Stay-at-Work and Return-to-Work

Employer Assistance - Comment

Rick Wickstrom, PT, DPT, CPE (@rick00) One incentive to consider is to offer the employer assistance with preparing functional job analyses of the injured workers job and other open positions to populate relevant occupational data that can be matched to the abilities of other workers. Ideally, the participating employers would be able to affirmatively recruit from a database of other workers with disabilities. This... more »

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Stay-at-Work and Return-to-Work

Ergonomic Specialist - Comment

William Massey (@william.massey) As part of our RETAIN Demonstration Project Proposal, Rhode Island DLT recommended an ergonomic specialist be assigned to work with employers to develop recovery duty work and make recommendations for adaptions. Funding would also be available for up to $500 per adaption. Comment Moderator Meredith (@dedona.meredith) 3 months ago ( Moderator ) william.massey Thanks... more »

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Stay-at-Work and Return-to-Work

TE for Employers - Comment

Evan Rockefeller (@evan.rockefeller) 3 months ago I think instituting programs that provide technical assistance to employers is key. Employers may want to support workers with disabilities but may not know where or how to begin. Example program manuals would be very helpful. I notice that the examples above seem to relate almost exclusively to workers with a job-related injury or illness. I think it would also be helpful... more »

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(@epolicyworks)

Stay-at-Work and Return-to-Work

Success Stories - Comment

Lee Koslow (@lkoslow) I agree with this approach, and to help employers see the benefit of education and technical assistance, we need good stories. This current, tight labor market is the best time to get employers on board with SAW/RTW practices. All businesses want to retain their good employees. One way to get the word out about the benefits of these practices is to provide them with examples of other, similar businesses... more »

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Stay-at-Work and Return-to-Work

Resource Guides - Comment

Sharyn Hancock (@shancock) It would be good for State DOL and Workforce Agencies to put out resource guides on services that they provide to employers that spell out the ABC's of how they can get training for their employees under WIOA. Incumbent Worker training programs for example as well as programs through Vocational Rehabilitation that provided services for ill or injured employees who do not have to meet the typical... more »

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Accessible Workplaces

Student Loan Forgiveness - Comment

Luticha Doucette (@serinepro) ( Idea Submitter )

new york state needs to have student loan forgiveness for disabled people. or change it at the national level. requiring disabled people to have an income of 16k or less for 3 years harms their ability to work. and for those of us who are working who have student loans, we should be included in that student loan forgiveness program.

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Workforce Preparedness

Paid Internship Program - Comment

OLIVIA RAYNOR (@oraynor) The CA Department of Developmental Services has a new paid internships program whereby youth with developmental disabilities. The funds are to pay the interns, partners include providers, schools, community colleges. This is an exciting and important opportunity in California to advance competitive integrated employment.Guidelines can be found here http://www.dds.ca.gov/WorkServices/docs/GuidelinesIncentiveProgram.pdf... more »

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(@rebecca.cagle)

State Supports for Disability-Owned Business

CAPSTONES for readiness training

Not everyone is ready for self-employment. How can we prepare them and ensure we are providing services that lead toward productive outcomes? One model system is the Texas Veteran Leadership Program (TVLP) & Texas Operation Welcome Home programs. They have seen a marked increase in requests for entrepreneurships. They conduct Texas Workforce System briefings as well as CAPSTONE. Those who do not meet Career Readiness... more »

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(@nanceg)

Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship Career Options

Statewide Partnerships for The Support of Disability Owned Businesses

Create a podcast that is episodic and features a new business owner or an established one that is owned and operated by a person with a disability---including startup entrepreneurs. Using an experienced interviewer ---provide insights and great information to all business owners, but especially to those with disabilities that can act as a catalyst to inspire and, in real ways, help get them off the ground with their... more »

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