Helping your patients return-to-work

The goal of the workers' compensation system is to help injured workers return to productive employment. Studies show that the longer a person is off work, the less likely they are to return to gainful employment. This can have a devastating effect on the worker and his or her family.

Return-to-work requires a coordinated effort among you, the employer, the patient and the workers' compensation carrier.

Your role

  • Provide immediate, appropriate care.
  • Assess the injured worker's abilities.
  • Communicate the patient's status to the employer.
  • Help the injured worker avoid the disability mindset.

Employer's role

  • Arrange work schedules around doctors' appointments.
  • Notify you that they have alternative, productive duties that meet your work restrictions.
  • Provide reasonable accommodations to help injured workers return to the job.

Patient's role

  • Follow the treatment plan.
  • Adhere to work restrictions.
  • Accept a bona fide offer of employment.
  • Notify the insurance carrier when they return to work.

Workers' compensation carrier's role

  • Work with employers to help them make their workplaces safe.
  • Help employers create a return-to-work process.
  • Assign a workers' compensation specialist to the injured worker.

Communicating the patient's work status

The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers' Compensation created DWC Form-73 to help health care providers communicate injured workers' restrictions and physical abilities to employers and insurance carriers.

If you complete the form correctly and timely, the employer can use it to identify alternative productive work more quickly. The form also helps the insurance carrier investigate and process the claim.

You must complete DWC Form-73:

  • After your initial examination
  • If the patient's work status changes
  • If there is a substantial change in the patient's work restrictions
  • At the insurance carrier's request (not more than once every two weeks)

DWC rules allow you to charge up to $15.00 each time you complete
DWC Form-73. For more information on Form DWC-73 filing and reimbursement requirements, see Rule 129.5.