14.09.07.11

.11 Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Plans.

A. Hierarchy of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

(1) In determining the appropriate vocational rehabilitation services reasonably necessary to return a disabled covered employee to suitable gainful employment, a practitioner shall consider each of the factors specified in Labor and Employment Article, §9-673(b), Annotated Code of Maryland.

(2) A practitioner shall document that each factor has been considered either in the vocational rehabilitation plan or in the initial assessment report.

(3) In providing vocational rehabilitation services, a practitioner shall attempt to return a disabled covered employee to suitable gainful employment in accordance with the following order of preference:

(a) Returning the disabled covered employee to the same job with the same employer;

(b) Modifying the same job with the same employer;

(c) Finding a new job with the same employer;

(d) Finding a job with a new employer;

(e) On the job training;

(f) Formally retraining the disabled covered employee for a period of time designed to lead to suitable gainful employment; and

(g) Self-employment.

B. Vocational Rehabilitation Plan—Components.

(1) Vocational rehabilitation plans shall follow the hierarchy of services set forth in §A of this regulation.

(2) If a disabled covered employee is unable to return to suitable gainful employment without the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, a practitioner shall prepare a proposed vocational rehabilitation plan.

(3) A practitioner shall prepare a proposed rehabilitation plan on the vocational rehabilitation plan form prescribed by the Commission and shall complete the form in accordance with the instructions provided.

(4) A practitioner shall document in the proposed rehabilitation plan that each level of the hierarchy of services set forth in §A of this regulation has been considered during plan development.

(5) If the vocational rehabilitation plan includes a job placement plan, the practitioner shall include the following items in the vocational rehabilitation plan:

(a) The specific vocational goals;

(b) The specific types of services to be provided;

(c) Any viable job leads;

(d) A specific timeline including starting and completion dates; and

(e) Any estimated costs necessary to meet the specific vocational goals.

(6) Retraining Plan.

(a) If the vocational rehabilitation plan includes a formal retraining plan, the practitioner shall include the following items in the vocational rehabilitation plan:

(i) The specific vocational retraining goal;

(ii) The estimated costs necessary to meet the specific goal;

(iii) Information about any formal course of study in the retraining plan including the name of the school, titles of classes, course length in weeks, attendance including beginning and ending dates, an itemized cost of tuition, books, and other necessary school charges; and

(iv) Any other required costs.

(b) The practitioner shall attach to the retraining plan the following items:

(i) A copy of the course syllabus;

(ii) The physical requirements of the work for which the retraining will prepare the disabled covered employee;

(iii) Medical documentation demonstrating that the proposed training and field of work are within the disabled covered employee's physical restrictions;

(iv) Reports of all vocational testing and evaluations; and

(v) A recent labor market survey of the field for which the training is proposed.

(c) In the proposed retraining plan, the practitioner shall explain why retraining is recommended, including a discussion of the other options considered and the likelihood that the proposed retraining plan will result in the employee's return to suitable gainful employment.

C. Vocational Rehabilitation Plan—Approval.

(1) The practitioner shall send copies of the proposed vocational rehabilitation plan to all parties.

(2) Within 15 days after receipt of a proposed rehabilitation plan, a party may sign the plan or submit the reason for disagreement, in writing, to all parties.

(3) Lack of response from a party is interpreted to mean that the party consents to the plan.

(4) If the parties agree to the proposed vocational rehabilitation plan, the parties shall submit the plan to the Commission for approval.

(5) The Commission may accept or reject the proposed plan, in whole or in part, and shall pass an order to that effect.

(6) The parties shall attempt to resolve any disagreement concerning the recommendations contained in the proposed vocational rehabilitation plan.

(7) If the parties are unable to reach agreement concerning the recommendations, the dispute shall be resolved in accordance with Regulation .12 of this chapter.

(8) If a hearing is necessary to resolve the dispute, the practitioner shall appear at the hearing to present the practitioner's recommendations.

(9) Expiration of Vocational Rehabilitation Plan.

(a) Fifteen (15) days prior to the expiration date of the Vocational Rehabilitation Plan, the practitioner shall contact all parties and make recommendations to:

(i) Discontinue services;

(ii) Extend services; or

(iii) Develop a new plan in accordance with §A of this regulation.

(b) If the parties are unable to reach agreement concerning the practitioner's recommendations, the dispute shall be resolved in accordance with Regulation .12 of this chapter.