Policy Number: 19

Temporary Modified Duty Assignments

Subject:

Temporary modified duty assignments for employees injured performing duties within the course and scope of their employment

Scope:

All employees

Date Reviewed: May 2013

Responsible Office: Risk Management and Insurance and Human Resources

Responsible Executive: Assistant Vice President, Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management

I.     POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT

This policy covers employees who have sustained a Compensable Injury or Occupational Disease while performing duties within the course and scope of their employment. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ("university") will, to the extent possible, assist employees in these circumstances by temporarily modifying work assignments or duties, or arranging for a temporary transfer until the employee is able to resume regular duties for a period of time not to exceed six calendar months. Any questions concerning Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage should be directed to Risk Management and Insurance (RMI).

While an employee is on a modified duty assignment, medical re-evaluation by the employee's health care provider must be performed monthly at the expense of the Workers' Compensation Insurance program, as provided by that program.

II.     DEFINITIONS

Bona Fide Offer of Employment: A written offer of employment delivered to the employee during the period for which benefits are payable shall be presumed to be a bona fide offer, if the offer clearly states the position offered, the duties of the position, the employer is aware of and will abide by the physical limitations under which the employee or his treating health care provider have authorized the employee to return to work, the maximum physical requirements of the job, the wage, and the location of employment.

Compensable Injury: An injury arising out of, and in the course and scope of employment for which compensation is payable according to law.

Occupational Disease: A disease arising out of the performance of, and in the course of, employment that causes damage or harm to the physical structure of the body including other disease or infections naturally resulting from the work-related disease. An ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed is not considered an Occupational Disease unless it is the result of an incident related to a Compensable Injury or Occupational Disease.

III.     PROCEDURE

Employees who sustain an injury or Occupational Disease while performing assigned job duties should immediately report the injury or Occupational Disease to their immediate supervisor, in compliance with HOOP Policy 100 Workers' Compensation Insurance. The employee must provide a Division of Workers' Compensation Commission 73 Work Status Report [DWC 73] from the health care provider to their supervisor and RMI on the day of treatment or the following business day. The health care provider must be from the WCI network or the employee will be responsible for medical costs associated with the claim. Emergency treatment is an exception.

A. Evaluation by a Health Care Provider

The attending health care provider must determine the temporary restrictions to be applied to the employee's work duties and complete the required form DWC 73. This information will be forwarded to RMI or the Case Manager who may contact the employee's attending health care provider regarding modified duty and provide information regarding the university's return-to-work procedures.

B. Evaluation by the University

Upon receipt of the DWC 73, RMI or the Case Manager may forward to UT Health Services (UTHS) this documentation and a copy of the employee's job description provided by the employee's supervisor. UTHS may use this information to perform an evaluation for the purpose of clarifying the temporary work restrictions and/or temporary job accommodations. The results of the evaluation will be sent to RMI, the employee's supervisor, and the employee.

After the work evaluation, UTHS, the employee's supervisor, the Case Manager and RMI may meet to discuss the employee's work limitations (as assessed by the employee's attending health care provider and UTHS), and the feasibility of the employee temporarily returning to work in a modified capacity.

C. Bona Fide Offer of Employment

If the supervisor/department can accommodate the employee with a temporary modified duty position, the employee and the employee's supervisor must agree in writing to the requirements of the temporary modified duty assignment as developed in accordance with the DWC 73. RMI or the Case Manager will assist in facilitating this agreement. The employee will be offered the opportunity to return to work in a temporary modified position via a Bona Fide Offer of Employment, not to exceed six calendar months. A copy of the signed agreement will be provided to RMI.

If the employee’s home department is unable to accommodate the employee’s need for modified duty, RMI or the Case Manager will determine if another position is available within the university.  If a position is available the employee will be returned at 100% of their regular pay with full benefits. The employee’s home department will be responsible for paying the employee’s regular wages during the reassignment. Upon release to full duty by the employee’s health care provider, the employee will return to their regular position and/or duties.

If the employee is not released by his/her attending health care provider to return to regular duties at the end of six calendar months, or if, during the six-month period, the employee's health care provider determines it is no longer practical or feasible to continue the temporary modified duty assignment, the employee will be returned to the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program.

If an employee is released by his/her attending health care provider to temporary modified duties, the employee will perform his/her temporary modified position in accordance with the Bona Fide Offer of Employment. If the employee refuses a Bona Fide Offer of Employment for temporary modified duties sent via certified mail, after seven days the insurance carrier has the right to reduce the indemnity benefits of the employee, and the employee may be subject to termination.

IV.     CONTACTS

ContactTelephoneEmail/Web Address
Risk Management & Insurance 713-500-8100 http://www.uthouston.edu/safety/risk-management-and-insurance/
Human Resources - Employee Relations 713-500-3130 http://www.uth.edu/hr/department/employee-relations/index.htm