In Minnesota, an employee whose ability to work has been impacted by a work injury needs to know what a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC) does. A QRC is a vocational rehabilitation counselor who has met the state of Minnesota’s requirements to fill a unique function in the workers’ compensation process. A QRC determines if an injured employee is qualified to receive vocational rehabilitation. For qualified employees, the QRC creates and carries out a rehabilitation plan. The following guide details the QRC’s role.
How an Employee Obtains the Services of a QRC
An injured employee’s contact with a QRC begins with a meeting called a rehabilitation consultation. The employee, employer, or commissioner may request a rehabilitation consultation. The insurer must arrange for the consultation to happen within 15 calendar days of the request. Employees have the right to select their own QRC. An employee may change his or her QRC once during a period that begins with the days prior to the consultation and ends 60 days after the QRC has filed the rehabilitation plan.
How the QRC Determines Eligibility
Prior to the consultation, the QRC reviews the following documents from the insurer:
- First Report of Injury
- Disability Status Report
- Current Report of Work Ability (written by the medical provider)
The rehabilitation consultation is an essential component of determining eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services. At the consultation, the QRC will review the injured worker’s rights and responsibilities. If the QRC is affiliated with the employer or insurer, the QRC must inform the employee of the relationship.
The QRC also speaks with the employer and the treating healthcare provider. After the consultation with the employee, the QRC has 14 days to reports his or her findings in a Rehabilitation Consultation Report (RCR). The report outlines whether the injured worker is likely to return to the date-of-injury employer and date-of-injury job. The RCR also states whether the employee is qualified for rehabilitation services.
Eligibility is granted for an employee:
- Who cannot work in their usual occupation or their date-of-injury job,
- Whose employer cannot provide the worker with another suitable job, and
- Who could find suitable work after receiving rehabilitation services.
The Rehabilitation Plan
For qualified employees, the QRC must provide a rehabilitation plan to all parties of the workers’ compensation case within 30 days of the consultation. The plan clarifies vocational goals, what rehabilitation services will be provided, and provides a budget and timeline.
Services in a rehabilitation plan may include:
- Vocational evaluation
- Medical Management (to facilitate a return to work)
- Job analysis
- Job placement
- Labor market survey
- Vocational testing
- Transferable skills analysis
- Job seeking skills training
The QRC provides some services directly. A QRC coordinates the services he or she does not provide. The QRC is expected to keep all parties abreast of the plan’s progress. After six months of services, the QRC files a formal progress report. When the employee completes the plan and no one is disputing its completion, the QRC is required to file a Notice of Rehabilitation Plan Closure.
Minnesota law regulates the conduct of Qualified Rehabilitation Consultants. By law, a QRC may not perform activities related to claims adjustment or claims investigation. Also, a QRC is not permitted to make recommendations associated with the monetary benefit of the workers’ compensation claim. A QRC cannot schedule independent medical evaluations, provide retirement counseling, perform surveillance, or commit fraud.
Have You Been Injured on the Job?
At Harvey & Carpenter, Attorneys at Law, our experienced attorneys can answer your questions related to the role of the QRC. If necessary, we’re also available to help you navigate your workers’ compensation claim. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.