Return to Work Programs: Appointing a Coordinator

Often, the key to developing and maintaining a successful Return-to-Work program is to choose personnel who will effectively execute the activities.  Therefore, employers should consider appointing a Program Coordinator to orchestrate your company’s efforts.  The responsibilities of the Coordinator are consistent with the job duties of the plant/office manager, safety coordinator, or human resources director.  In these instances, a separate position does not need to be created.  Some of the duties of your Coordinator may include:

  • Working with management to establish your company’s formal program and communicating the plan to employees.
  • Ensuring that the program is in compliance with state and federal regulations as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act guidelines.
  • Coordinating the program within the terms of any Collective Bargaining Agreements.
  • Serving as liaison among all program participants (employee, employer, medical providers, and insurance company) to ensure that all parties understand their roles and responsibilities.
  • Maintaining a list of appropriate forms, key contact people, and telephone numbers.
  • Together with the employee and managers/supervisors, assuring that incidents of injury or illness are reported on the day of occurrence and in a prescribed manner.
  • Facilitating care with the insurance company, treating physicians, and injured employees.
  • Communicating on a consistent basis with preferred medical providers and injured employees.
  • Making formal offers of transitional assignments (when applicable).
  • Reminding injured parties to provide updated written documentation from medical providers about changes to employment restrictions after each office visit.
  • Working with middle management/supervisors to re-evaluate transitional assignments on an ongoing basis to make any necessary adjustments as new information is received from attending physicians.
  • Measuring the success of the program periodically.