WorkCover QLD has chosen to ‘rebrand’ its case managers to reflect the dynamic role they play in facilitating return to work outcomes for the worker and employer. Their new title, ‘Customer Adviser’, reflects the ‘one-stop shop’ nature of their role in advancing mutually beneficial return to work outcomes, which balance the needs of injured workers and employers.
WorkCover QLD has chosen to ‘rebrand’ its case managers to customer Advisers
Teegan Jordan started work at WorkCover Queensland in 2009 as a Claims Representative. Within a year, Teegan has moved into the Customer Services area of the organisation, winning the title of Best New Starter in WorkCover’s internal Awards earlier this year.
“My role as a Customer Adviser is to be the central point of contact for all parties to a claim, and encourage everyone involved in the rehabilitation process to work together to ensure effective return to work outcomes,” she says. “In some instances however, obstacles may be presented during a claim for which a viable resolution must be determined promptly and efficiently to keep the claim on track.”
Overcoming such obstacles is a key component of the Customer Advisor’s role. Teegan names the breakdown of the employer/employee relationship during the course of a claim as one such barrier.
“Miscommunication between parties who are no longer speaking to each other except through the Customer Adviser adds another dimension to our job,” says Teegan. “In such cases, our role is not as a referee. We are not in the business of finger-pointing, but of finding solutions.”
One of her recent cases is a good example. Joe* had a lower back injury, sustained on the job as an electrician. Suitable alternative duties were provided by his employer as set down in the legislation governing workers’ compensation in Queensland, but by the time the duties were offered the relationship had broken down and Joe did not want to remain at the workplace.
Joe’s treating doctor had advised him that he would be unable to ever return to work as an electrician, a further blow for the 28 year-old with no other qualifications or experience and a young family to provide for.
Further complicating Joe’s position was the discovery of a pre-existing underlying condition that had contributed to his current inability to perform normal duties. His condition was found to have been aggravated at work, but not caused by it. WorkCover Queensland was therefore liable for the aggravation, but not for the pre-existing condition.
Mindful of her responsibility to Joe’s employer in terms of keeping insurance premiums to a minimum, Teegan advised Joe that this latest discovery shortened the life of his claim even further. Instead of moving to cease the claim, Teegan worked with Joe towards finding meaningful work elsewhere. (yeah….as if….????)
Teegan set up an interview between Joe and an OT after receiving approval from Joe’s doctor for a functional capacity evaluation. The OT’s report concluded that Joe had the capacity to return to work as an electrician, and all that remained was approval from Joe’s doctor. Once that was granted, Joe was ready to resume work with a host employer.
Teegan was able to source a suitable employer, and as Joe’s functional tolerance increased, his hours increased. By the end of four weeks he had finished his treatment and discharged himself from all specialist care and physiotherapy. At the end of his host program, he got a clearance certificate from his doctor and an offer from his host employer of a full-time position.
“Joe’s attitude underwent a complete turnaround in the course of this process,” says Teegan. “There were so many barriers to Joe making a successful return to work, many of which were coming from him. In the end, he underwent a complete change of attitude.” (the poor bugger didn’t have a choice, did he? duh!)
She nominated him for an award with Q-Comp awards as recognition of his hard work, knowing from personal experience the importance of being acknowledged for one’s efforts. (How pitiful…)
“My role as a Customer Advisor is very rewarding in itself, but to be appreciated for achieving great outcomes with workers and employers by your peers and management team is very motivation and gratifying.”
Awards aside, Teegan finds enough incentive in her work to keep her motivated.
“Winning the Best New Starter award was an absolute honour, however, the greatest reward for me is my job that I love doing every day.”
*Names and details have been changed.
Source by our lovely “None” with a big thank you
What’s next? Case manager getting the title of “Sugar daddy or mommy”? “God Mother”? “God sent Angels” maybe? Time to stick to reality please, and call/title them for what they really are! How about “Benefit Slasher”? “Return to Work Forcer?” And p-e-lease, give them their internal awards called the “Vulture of the month” award, or “Made a Big Kill” award….
Get a life.