At the 2016 DMEC Annual Conference a panel discussed the challenges of multiple laws regulating disability management the benefits of an integrated disability management program. The panel was:
- Jane Ryan – Return to Work Recovery and Claims Services – Mayo Clinic
- Trina Mouton – Manager Disability Management & Wellness – CenterPoint Energy
- Patrick Leary – Health and Productivity Professional
- Karen English – Partner – Spring Consulting Group
There are currently many different leave of absence laws that employers must comply with including:
- Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- State Family and Medical leave laws
- Military Leave (USEERA)
- State Military Leave
- Jury Duty
- Other state mandated leaves
- Municipality or county based leave laws
- Statutory Disabilty
- Workers’ Compensation
- ADA Accommodation
Six states currently have state disability plans. All states have either state or federally mandated income replacement laws for injury or illness. There are significant variation between state laws and a variety of funding methods are involved. There is often overlap between these various laws, especially with workers’ compensation, ADA, and FMLA.
Employers are recognizing that there is a need to manage absence from the workplace regardless of the cause which is leading to more companies moving to an integrated disability management model. Employers that are self insured for both workers’ compensation and disability benefits can easily implement such programs. The benefits of integrated disability management include:
- Reduced costs.
- Easier and more consistent administration.
- Better employee experience.
- Improved compliance.
- Better return to work outcomes.
An integrated disability management program uses a common intake platform. Through that platform it is determined which financial bucket the claim is paid under. However regardless of the type of leave there is a common approach to accommodation and return to work with a focus on outcomes. Nurse case management is often used regardless of the type of leave to assist in facilitating a return to work.