§386-25 Vocational rehabilitation. (a) The
purposes of vocational rehabilitation are to restore an injured worker's earnings capacity as nearly as possible to that level that the worker was earning at the time of injury and to return the injured worker to suitable gainful employment in the active labor force as quickly as possible in a cost-effective manner. Vocational rehabilitation shall not be available for public employees who have retired from a public employer, as defined in section 76-11, with whom they sustained their work injury.
Employees of public employers, as defined in section 76-11, who are eligible for their respective public employer's return to work program, shall participate in and complete the return to
work program, including temporary light duty placement efforts, as a prerequisite to vocational rehabilitation benefits under this section.
(b) The director may refer employees who may have or have suffered permanent disability
as a result of work injuries and who in the director's opinion can be vocationally rehabilitated to
the department of human services or to private providers of rehabilitation services for vocational
rehabilitation services that are feasible. A referral shall be made upon recommendation of the
rehabilitation unit established under section 386-71.5
and after the employee has been deemed physically able to participate in rehabilitation by the
employee's attending physician. The unit shall include appropriate professional staff and shall
the following duties and responsibilities:
(1) To review and approve rehabilitation plans developed by certified providers of
rehabilitation services whether they be private or public;
(2) To adopt rules consistent with this section that shall expedite and facilitate the
identification, notification, and referral of industrially injured employees to rehabilitation
and establish minimum standards for providers providing rehabilitation services under this
(3) To certify private and public providers of rehabilitation services meeting the minimum
standards established under paragrapg (2); and
(4) To enforce the implementation of rehabilitation plans.
(c) Enrollment in a rehabilitation plan or program shall not be mandatory and the approval
of a proposed rehabilitation plan or program by the injured employee shall be required. The
injured employee may select a certified provider of rehabilitation services. Both the certified
provider and the injured employee, within a reasonable time after initiating rehabilitation
shall give proper notice of selection to the employer.
(d) A provider shall submit an initial evaluation report of the employee to the employer and the director within forty-five days of the date of referral or selection. The evaluation shall determine whether the employee requires vocational rehabilitation services to return to suitable gainful employment, identify the necessary services, and state whether the provider can provide these services. The initial evaluation report shall contain:
(1) An assessment of the employee's:
(A) Current medical status;
(B) Primary disability;
(C) Secondary disability;
(D) Disabilities that are not related to the work injury; and
(E) Physical or psychological limitations or both.
If this information is not provided by the treating physician within a reasonable amount of time, information from another physician shall be accepted;
(2) A job analysis addressing the demands of the employee's employment;
(3) A statement from the provider identifying the employee's vocational handicaps in relation to the employee's ability to:
(A) Return to usual and customary employment; and
(B) Participate in and benefit from a vocational rehabilitation program;
(4) A statement from the provider determining the feasibility of vocational rehabilitation services, including:
(A) The provider's ability to assist the employee in the employee's efforts to return to suitable gainful employment;
(B) An outline of specific vocational rehabilitation services to be provided, justification for the necessity of services, and how the effectiveness of these services is measured; and
(C) How the vocational rehabilitation services directly relate to the employee obtaining suitable gainful employment; and
(5) The enrollment form and the statement of worker's rights and responsibilities form obtained from the department.