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General questions and issues

1. I am working as a qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) intern. How should I sign my name on R-forms, reports or correspondence?

The rules require that the intern sign their name with the intern designation. "QRC intern" should be written after your name per Minnesota Rules 5220.1400, subp. 3a.

Additionally, the rehabilitation provider must indicate the number assigned by the commissioner on all reports submitted by the rehabilitation provider per Minnesota Rules 5220.1803, subp. 5

Example:  Valerie Bieser, QRC intern #313

2. What is the definition of a required progress report?

Minnesota Rules 5220.1802 refers to "required progress records" in some places and to "required rehabilitation reports" in other places.

A "required progress record" is a record maintained by the rehabilitation provider that documents the rehabilitation provider's services and the employee's rehabilitation progress. The record must include all case notes and written reports, whether or not they are submitted to the commissioner, and all correspondence received or prepared by the rehabilitation provider about an employee's rehabilitation. See Minn. Rules 5220.0100, subp. 30.

A "required rehabilitation report" is a rehabilitation consultation report, a plan progress report or any other report that must be submitted to the commissioner whenever a rehabilitation plan is initiated, proposed to be amended, suspended or closed, or when a change of assigned qualified rehabilitation consultant occurs. See Minn. Rules 5220.0100, subp. 31.

3. What should the qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) do if a party does not sign an R-2 or R-3 form?

If a party does not sign an R-2 or R-3 form, Minnesota Rules 5220.0410 and 5220.0510 specify what options are available to that person. The QRC would be encouraged to contact the party to see if there is an objection and if it can be resolved. If not, the objecting party must file a Rehabilitation Request form with DLI within 15 days of receipt of the proposed plan.

4. The insurer's independent medical examination (IME) released the employee to return to work with restrictions, but the treating doctor indicates the employee should remain off work. Can the qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) proceed with placement services?

Because an IME is part of claims adjustment, a QRC should not use the IME report recommendations to develop or implement the rehabilitation plan. See Minnesota Rules 5220.1801, subp. 8B.

If the insurer wants the IME report recommendations used to develop or implement the rehabilitation plan, the insurer may file a Rehabilitation Request form with the Department of Labor and Industry. If ordered by a mediator/arbitrator or compensation judge, the QRC must then follow the IME physical restrictions.

Rehabilitation consultation

1. How does an employee make a request for a rehabilitation consultation?

Employees usually call the adjuster to ask for a consultation with a qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC); most adjusters accommodate an oral request. However, Minnesota Rules 5220.0110, subp. 6, anticipates the request will be in writing. A written request documents the date the request was made in the event of a dispute. No particular form is required.

2. Does a narrative report have to be attached to the Rehabilitation Consultation Report (RCR) form? If so, how long does the report need to be?

It is required that a narrative report be attached to the RCR form explaining why the employee has or has not been found to be a qualified employee. There is no set length. However, the qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) needs to explain their rationale so the parties will understand how the decision was made. See Minnesota Rules 5220.0130, subp. 3(C).

R-2 Rehabilitation Plan

1. A rehabilitation consultation was performed that determined the employee to be "qualified" to receive rehabilitation services. However, prior to the development of the R-2 Rehabilitation Plan form, the treating physician determined the employee had no further effects of the work injury and released him to return to work without any physical restrictions. What R-form should be completed?

The qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) should submit an amended Rehabilitation Consultation Report form, with narrative report, stating the employee is not a qualified employee, so is not eligible to receive rehabilitation services. Should any of the parties disagree with the QRC's amended assessment, they may contact the QRC to discuss their concerns and/or file a Rehabilitation Request form with the department.

2. What must be attached to the R-2 plan when it is filed?

Minnesota Rules 5220.1803, subp. 5, requires an initial evaluation narrative report about the employee that includes the following information in summary fashion:  medical status, vocational history, educational history, social history, relevant economic factors, transferable skills, employment barriers and recommendations. Narrative information on the R-2 form itself does not satisfy this requirement.

3. When must a qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) send the R-2 form to the Workers' Compensation Division?

The QRC must file the R-2 form with the commissioner within 45 days of the first in-person contact between the QRC and the employee or within 15 days of circulation to the parties, whichever is earlier. See Minnesota Rules 5220.0410, subp. 5.

If the QRC does not have all of the signatures at the applicable 15- or 45-day filing deadline, the QRC must file the copy with the signature(s) that have been obtained along with a letter or other evidence of the date the plan was sent to each party as required by Minnesota Rules 5220.0410, subp. 6.

4. What should I do if the insurer or employee does not sign and return the R-2 plan as required within 15 days?

Minnesota Rules 5220.0410, subp. 6, requires the R-2 form to be filed with the department with evidence (such as a copy of the letter sent to the party who didn't sign the R-form) of the date the plan was sent to each party. The plan will be deemed approved when received by the department.

R-3 Rehabilitation Plan Amendment

1. Is an R-3 form required when there is a change of qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) within the same rehabilitation firm?

Yes, it is required. See Minnesota Rules 5220.0710, subp. 2, and 5220.0510, subp. 3a.

2. When an R-3 Rehabilitation Plan Amendment form is filed for the purpose of extending the existing plan, but there is no change in services, must the services be listed on the form?

Yes, the services must be listed.

3. When filing an R-3 form, under item 16 (plan costs to date), does this include vendor-placement costs and projections of costs to complete the plan?

Yes, those items are included. See Minnesota Rules 5220.1802, subp. 4.

4. When may an R-3 Rehabilitation Plan Amendment form be used to fulfill the requirement for filing a Plan Progress Report form?

The Plan Progress Report form is not required to be completed if the R-3 Rehabilitation Plan Amendment form contains the information in subpart 2, items A through E, and is filed within 15 days before or 15 days after six months have passed from the date the rehabilitation plan was filed. On the R-3 form, questions 20 through 23 need to be answered. See Minnesota Rules 5220.0450, subp. 3.

R-8 Notice of Rehabilitation Plan Closure

1. If an employee no longer wishes to have rehabilitation assistance, can the file be closed? What closure category should be used on the R-8?

A qualified rehabilitation consultant may only close the case if the employee, employee's attorney and the insurer agree, using the category of agreement of the parties. See Minnesota Rules 5220.0510, subp. 7 C.

2. If an award on stipulation for settlement has been issued, can an R-8 form to close the rehabilitation file be submitted to the department even if the QRC has not received a copy of the stipulation?

If the employee/employee’s attorney and the insurer tell you an award on stipulation or a mediation award has been issued that closes out entitlement to future rehabilitation benefits, you may close a rehabilitation case and check box B (Award on stipulation/mediation) in item 21 on the R-8 form. You do not have to have a copy of the stipulation in your possession.

Note:  Document the source, who reported the award, and the reason for closure of the rehabilitation plan in the R-8 summary of rehabilitation services report (Minnesota Rules 5220.0510, subp. 7F(4)).

3. Should the R-8 narrative report discuss all the services provided during the rehabilitation plan from start to finish?

Yes, Minnesota Rules 5220.0510, subp. 7F(4), requires the qualified rehabilitation consultant to provide a summary of the rehabilitation services provided and rehabilitation costs by all rehabilitation providers.

Job placement

1. May an employee decline job-placement services?

Yes, an employee may decline the services. If the employee is represented by an attorney, the employee certainly should discuss the situation with the attorney before making the final decision about declining available services. Employees not represented should be encouraged to call the Department of Labor and Industry's (DLI's) Alternative Dispute Resolution unit at 651-284-5032 or 800-342-5354.

If the employee (or the insurer) disagrees with any major part of the rehabilitation plan, any party or the qualified rehabilitation consultant may file a Rehabilitation Request form and, if necessary, DLI or the Office of Administrative Hearings will then decide the issue.

2. When an employee with an ongoing rehabilitation plan is laid-off due to economic reasons, is he or she entitled to placement services?

Yes, the employee is entitled to services. At this point, the qualified rehabilitation consultant would propose an R-3 Rehabilitation Plan Amendment form to reflect a change in the vocational plan. The services listed in number 18 would include job-seeking-skills training, job-placement services, etc.

Retraining

1. What are the Poole factors the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals applied to retraining plans and are currently used when considering approvals?

The Poole factors are found in the case of Poole v. Farmstead Foods, Inc., 42 W.C.D. 970, 978 (WCCA 1989). In that case, the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals identified factors to be considered in determining whether retraining is appropriate. The factors include:

  1. the reasonableness of retraining as compared to returning to work with the employer or other job-placement activities;

  2. the likelihood the employee has the ability and interest to succeed in a formal course of study in a school;

  3. whether retraining is likely to result in reasonably attainable employment; and

  4. whether retraining is likely to produce an economic status as close as possible to that which the employee would have enjoyed without disability.

2. If a retraining plan has been signed by all parties (the employee, insurer and qualified rehabilitation consultant) will the department automatically sign and approve the plan?

No, the approval will not be automatic. See Minnesota Rules 5220.0750, subp. 5.

Rehabilitation plan disputes

1. When a qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) is sent a notice for a nonrehabilitation conference, should the QRC attend?

If an attorney or adjuster wants a rehabilitation provider to attend a hearing of any type and is willing to pay the provider's hourly fee, the provider should plan to attend. If the parties see no reason for a rehabilitation provider to attend, there is probably no reason to do so. If possible, a rehabilitation provider should be available by phone during the time, in case an issue arises for which the provider would have valuable input.

More information

If you don't see your question answered here or want more information for rehabilitation providers, call DLI's Workers' Compensation Division at 651-284-5032 or 800-342-5354.