All employees who sustain an injury arising out of and in the course and scope of their employment are entitled to a rehabilitation consultation pursuant to Minnesota Statute 176.102, Subd. 4(a). Not only are these injured employees entitled to a rehabilitation consultation, the statute provides that the consultation must be provided if requested by the employee. A rehabilitation consultation is defined as a meeting of the employee and assigned Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC) to determine whether the employee is a Qualified Employee (QE) and thus eligible for rehabilitation services.
Rehabilitation services provided to assist with the dissemination of information among the parties regarding the injured worker’s medical condition and treatment plan. Also provide services that coordinate the employee’s medical treatment with the vocational rehabilitation plan. The information gathered includes the employee’s treatment plan, work ability reports, physical therapy reports, surgical intervention recommendations, and results of functional capacities evaluations. Medical management refers to those services necessary to facilitate the injured worker’s return to work in suitable employment.
Vocational Counseling and Guidance:
The services required to develop and implement an appropriate plan of vocational rehabilitation services for an employee entitled to rehabilitation benefits under Minnesota Statutes. The QRC also develops a vocational goal and proposes the specific services by which the Qualified Employee will return to suitable gainful employment by following the rehabilitation plan.
Job Seeking Skills Training:
The formal teaching of independent job search skills including, but not limited to, the completion of applications, preparation of resumes, effective techniques for job interviewing, and techniques for obtaining job leads.
Job Development and Placement:
Job Development is defined as systematic contact with prospective employers resulting in opportunities for interviews and employment that might not otherwise have existed. Job Placement is defined as an activity that is supportive of a Qualified Employee’s search for work, including the identification of job leads, arranging for job interviews, the preparation of a Qualified Employee to conduct an effective job search, and communication of information about the labor market, programs offering employment incentives, and discussion about the Qualified Employee’s physical limitations and capabilities and how they impact employability.
On-Site job analysis:
A scheduled visit by the QRC to a place of employment in order to observe and objectively determine the essential functions and measure the physical demands of an injured worker’s job. The job analysis report is provided to the parties including the employer, the employee, the employee’s treating doctor, the insurance claim representative, and attorneys.
Transferable Skills Analysis:
A Transferable Skills Analysis is performed to determine potential jobs that people may be able to perform considering skills they have developed in their work history, physical functional capacities, and vocational testing results.
Vocational interest, achievement, and intelligence testing batteries are administered by the QRC. The measurement of vocational interests, achievement, intelligence, and traits are assessed using standardized psychometric tests. The results are interpreted by the QRC and reviewed with the test taker. Vocational testing is a required component of a retraining plan.
Labor Market Surveys:
Direct telephonic contact with employers within a specific labor market to obtain information about current job openings, hiring trends, necessary skills and qualifications, educational attainment, wage and salary information, and physical demands of the targeted occupations. Labor market surveys are a required component of a retraining plan.
According to the Rehabilitation Rules, retraining is to be given equal consideration to other rehabilitation services. Injured workers are evaluated for retraining by vocational testing, transferrable skills analysis, and by considering their report of work ability. Retraining goals are then researched to analyze the availability of both training and employment options specific to an individual with an injury.
Altering the work environment to accommodate physical or mental limitations by making changes in equipment, in the methods of completing work tasks, or in job duties.
Functional capacities evaluations:
QRCs coordinate the administration of Functional Capacities Evaluations (FCE) when they are prescribed by the employee’s treating physician. FCEs are administered under the supervision of a physical therapist to determine physical capabilities for employment. This thorough evaluation measures the person’s physical capacities for lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, standing, sitting, walking, etc.
Coordination of Return to Work with the Same Employer:
QRCs make every effort to return the injured worker to their usual and customary job or to a modified job with the date-of-injury employer.