How Effective Vocational Rehab Counselors Ease the Workers Compensation Process
Heidi Fox is used to being on the management end of workers compensation claims. As a claims consultant for the Department of Corrections, she handles up to 250 claims at any given time and works closely with vocational rehabilitation counselors to get injured workers back on the job.
But recently, she got a taste of life from an injured worker’s perspective. “I had a personal injury at home and had to stay off work for a couple of days,” says Fox. When Lourdes Acido of Single Handed Consulting was assigned to her case, a penny dropped. “I made the connection of how many counselors I’d worked with from this same firm,” she says. “The quality of the people from SHC is consistent and my experience with them has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Easing the Workers Compensation Process with Effective Vocational Rehab Counselors
With so many workers compensation cases on her plate, Fox appreciates any factors that make her job easier. One critical piece of the workers compensation process is the job analysis, which often requires follow up with counselors. Given her workload, Fox occasionally forgets that step, but it hasn’t been an issue when she’s working with SHC. “I don’t have to worry that things are going to fall off the radar,” she says. “Their follow through is excellent and it’s consistent. They’re extremely professional.”
One of the most challenging parts of workers compensation claims can be getting the job description, a key piece of information necessary to start the process. “If the vocational counselors don’t get it from the employer, they can’t do their jobs,” says Fox. “I would find that frustrating, but the SHC counselors are really patient and kind.”
In her case, it took several weeks to get the necessary documentation to Acido to begin her claim. “She sent kind reminders every few days and provided me with a number of thoughtful and professional options,” says Fox. “She was a pleasure to work with and finally I was able to get her what she needed.”
While she appreciates the company for her own sake, the biggest beneficiaries are the employees, she notes. “When you’re in the position of being an injured worker, it’s scary. The compassion that comes from this firm is really felt by our employees,” she says. “They feel heard and supported and they get that sense that they have an advocate.” In her role, she frequently hears from staff members about their positive experiences working with the SHC team.
Aside from managing workers compensation claims, SHC counselors are adept at forging relationships with injured employees, says Fox, which matters over time. “The process isn’t necessarily over in a week. It can go on for months, and they’re really good about making our employees feel cared for and being flexible enough to accommodate their schedules.”
Communication is crucial for counselors; each case involves multiple players and all need to be kept in the loop. “Their job is to connect not just with me, but with L&I, the employee, and the doctor,” says Fox. “They’re constantly having to juggle all these different contacts and on top of that, they have deadlines from L&I that they have to meet to get paid. That’s a lot of pressure, but they’re always patient and professional.”
Renewed Inspiration for Workers
Since her own injury, Fox has found a renewed sense of inspiration. “I’d been feeling a little jaded in my work but now I’ve grown in empathy toward our employees,” she says. Once she discovered how many counselors she’d worked with came from the same business, she decided to look SHC up online. There, she learned of founder and CEO Kevin Leneker’s personal journey and the history of the company’s development. “It really struck me,” she says.
“Having your own personal experience of injury does inform how you treat others and it’s clear that those type of experiences drew the staff to this kind of work.”
She looks forward to working with SHC in the future. “The great thing is the consistency, which you don’t get with every firm,” she says. “Looking at how many counselors they have, that’s very impressive. This company has so much experience and it really shows. With L&I, we have the ability to request certain counselors and I intend to request this firm more frequently.”