(800) 497-1368
NPA Return to Work Services Doctor and Patient

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the OUR System?

The OUR System is a proactive workers’ compensation claims management tool that helps employers significantly reduce their workers’ compensation costs while maintaining, even improving, productivity. It has proven to be effective in many diverse industries across the country for small, medium, and large employers.

How does the OUR System save money?

The lost workday is the primary driver increasing workers’ compensation claim costs. With the OUR System, you can return your injured employees to productive work almost immediately, dramatically reducing direct and indirect costs.

What is unique about the OUR System?

First, the OUR System is a proactive approach. Instead of going through the time-consuming process of finding an appropriate job for an injured employee after an injury occurs, the OUR System creates a series of temporary Bridge Assignments in anticipation of injuries. We utilize the employers’ claims statistics to ascertain the number and types of injuries that are common. The OUR System catalog of assignments, with a detailed analysis of physical capacities, is ready to submit to treating physicians and claims-handling personnel. This means appropriate medical approvals are obtained quickly and with minimal conflict.

Second, the Bridge Assignments are designed to provide meaningful and productive work. Our trained specialists work side-by-side with your people to ensure that the OUR System assignments are not “busy work.” Instead, these Bridge Assignments, unique to your organization, enhance productivity and smooth out the disruption that usually occurs when employees are hurt. These Bridge Assignments are sorted by degree of physical demand on specified body parts, and then plotted on a Matrix. This approach facilitates quick accommodation, as well as safe on-the-job “work hardening,” as employees move from assignment to assignment during their recovery.

What if we don’t have any “light-duty” work at our locations?

We use a fresh, task-oriented perspective that allows us to find ample tasks that are medically appropriate for injured employees. We work with your staff to identify tasks that are part of existing jobs, as well as tasks that aren’t currently being done but that would still be beneficial to your organization. We use these tasks to develop Bridge Assignments that are tailored to fit the abilities of employees who incur injuries that account for the most lost work days experienced historically at each location.

Why do we need the OUR System when we already have a light-duty program?

“Light-duty jobs” do not necessarily promote maximum productivity and, if not planned in advance, time is lost ascertaining physical capabilities. NPA can formalize and enhance your current light duty program, applying consistent practices across the organization.

How do you make sure that an injured employee doesn’t utilize an OUR System Bridge Assignment on a permanent basis?

Injured employees are informed up front that these Bridge Assignments are temporary. Their progress is monitored at least weekly so that they can be reassigned every few weeks. With doctor approval, the injured employee is reassigned as soon as possible to Bridge Assignments that require increased use of the affected body parts, until resumption of usual and customary duties is reached.

How do unions feel about this type of program?

We find that nearly all unions approve of the OUR System. In recognition of the psychological and physiological benefits of early Return-to-Work, some unions actually request this type of program in their negotiations. In most cases, members earn their regular wage and thus are able to pay their union dues by returning to work instead of staying home. The OUR System also eliminates the majority of employer versus employee Return-to-Work conflicts. Union endorsements of the OUR System are available.

How will our current medical providers react to the OUR System?

Medical service providers usually welcome the OUR System. They recognize the benefits of on-the-job work hardening. They particularly appreciate the thoroughly documented physical analysis of the Bridge Assignments that we provide because it simplifies planning of the injured employee’s appropriate medical management. Physicians also have the flexibility of further modifying the OUR System Bridge Assignments to suit a specific case.

Why do we need the OUR System when costs are already under control?

With the OUR System, you can dramatically reduce your costs, not just keep annual cost increases at an acceptable rate. Our clients generally experience a 20% drop in workers’ compensation costs the first year of implementation.

How much will the OUR System cost and how is that cost justified?

We prepare at no cost to you a written proposal for each organization. We analyze key data regarding your organization’s profile and loss history. The proposed cost is directly linked to how many Bridge Assignments are designed to accommodate the expected number and types of injuries. The proposal also provides for periodic fine-tuning of the system as your needs change.

With single claims often costing more than $100,000, most organizations find they recover their upfront investment in less than six months. After this investment is recovered, you continue to save year after year. We are happy to discuss other options such as a guaranteed savings program or a shared savings program.

Can NPA help our company administer the OUR System?

NPA’s Placement Administration Team (PAT) has the experience and focus necessary to assist injured employees’ return to work. Employers can utilize NPA’s team of consultants to perform ongoing Return-to-Work administration. There are no upfront fees for employers who wish to utilize the PAT option. It is billed to individual claim files, and since this return-to-work administration is a service similar to that provided by a Nurse Case Manager, typically no Request for Proposal (RFP) is necessary.

What if we cannot implement a full-scale OUR System for the entire organization at this time?

We are happy to install the System in one part of your organization, such as a plant, warehouse, or division, so you can review the results before committing the rest of the organization.

Why shouldn’t we try to implement something similar to the OUR System on our own?

As with any outside service, you could attempt to design and implement a similar system in-house. However, by the time you coordinate the project, test the system, revise it, and document it as thoroughly as the OUR System, you will spend more money for a less effective system. You also lose considerable savings opportunities during the development of the process, whereas NPA can install this proven, cost-effective customized system in five weeks or less. Tap into NPA’s 30+ years of experience. Norman Peterson and Associates have been specialists in the Return-to-Work field since 1985.

Will the OUR System help our company comply with ADA and FEHA regulations?

Yes. An employer may be required to offer a disabled employee transitional or light duty work, where doing so is a reasonable accommodation under ADA or FEHA. The OUR System allows companies to meet these requirements by utilizing its Bridge Assignments.

How does the OUR System assist with FEHA compliance?

While the OUR System and PAT do not fulfill all the obligations of the interactive FEHA process, they do provide the foundation. This includes, but is not limited to, the following elements: establishing a protocol of temporary modifications for all workers; designating a strategy in adherence to the interactive process; documenting all disabling injuries; providing formal descriptions of choices for temporary accommodations in physically modified positions; tracking the process of Return-to-Work temporary placements; recording interactions between workers, doctors and employers; demonstrating consistent treatment of all workers; and keeping accounts of physical capacities and transferable skills of your work force.