NO is an unacceptable answer
Teaching children the power of the word “No” is incredibly important in helping them deal with peer pressure and setting boundaries with friends and acquaintances. As parents, however, it is not a response that we would accept when we are telling our children to do their homework or do their chores. These are our children’s responsibilities. A child responding with “No” is simply unacceptable. If it were an acceptable response, we’d hear it from them all the time.
Don't just move on. DO the right Thing.
When it comes to reintegrating injured workers back into the work environment, employers respond with “No” all the time. Often a claim rep or case manager calls the employer to notify them that they have secured a work capacity for an injured worker and would like to coordinate a return to work and the response is, “No, they have to be full duty”, “No, they must be 100%”, “No, we don’t do light duty” or “No, I don’t want them back, they were a bad hire.” Typically, the claim representative accepts that answer, hangs up the phone and makes an indemnity reserve move in the wrong direction.
The reality is policy holders are busy. If given the opportunity to say “No” to RTW and not have to deal with an injured worker they haven’t thought about for the past 45 days, they will take that opportunity and move on with their day. Return to work is the responsibility of the policy holder and yet, the industry just accepts “No” time and time again. It is rarely questioned. It is somehow the policy holder’s choice even though most states have laws regarding return to work; and our Federal Government certainly does.
Allowing policy holders to say “No” to return to work is actually doing the policy holder a disservice.
- It leaves them open to potential lawsuits via the EEOC through the ADA/AAA.
- It’s sure to impact their experience mod and drive up their workers compensation rates.
- It sends the wrong message to the rest of that employer’s work force. It reinforces bad behavior.
knowing how to communicate the right message
The reality is, most employers already know that saying “No” is inappropriate. They know that it’s allowing them to shirk their responsibility and when they are called on it, in a non confrontational manner, the result is typically a cooperative attempt at returning that worker to the job. Even in situations when the employer indicates that they don’t ever want that employee back. It’s all about knowing how to communicate this message to the employer.
Knowing how to respond to the “No” on challenging workers comp claims will improve an insurers return to work outcomes by 70% or more.