Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Policy Collaborative-S@W/R2W


Virtual Events

Replicating and Adapting COHE Strategies Part 2
Recorded March 10, 2017  |  3 p.m. EST
Watch Webcast  |  Transcript  
[.docx 45KB]  |  Presentation Slides  [PDF 2MB]

The SAW/RTW Policy Collaborative hosted Part 2 of a virtual discussion on March 10, 2017 with guest speakers to discuss the Washington State Center for Occupational Health and Education (COHE) initiative and its adaptability to other state systems.

Through this online event, experts and interested stakeholders convened to learn about and discuss COHE, an initiative to reduce long-term disability for injured workers by providing care by trained health services coordinators who work directly with medical providers, employers, and injured workers to coordinate care and help the worker return to work. The COHE model includes several elements that might be of interest to other states including:

  • Using an occupational medicine model to deliver care
  • Improving quality of care through an emphasis on best practices, such as two-way communication with the employer regarding the worker’s schedule
  • Integrating services with the worker’s larger support system
  • Provider incentives to use occupational health best practices such as:
    • Rapid reporting of work-related injuries
    • Completing an Activity Prescription Form (APF) on the first office visit or when patient restrictions change
    • Two-way communication with the employer when patients are off or expected to be off work
    •  Assessing and documenting patient’s Barriers to Return to Work (BRTW), and developing a plan to overcome the barriers.


The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) established the Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work (SAW/RTW) Policy Collaborative to support the development of policies, programs, and practices that encourage the continued employment of workers likely to leave the workforce due to injury, serious illness, or disability. Through the SAW/RTW Community of Practice (CoP), the expert-led virtual Policy Work Groups (PWGs), online platforms that include ePolicyWorks, ODEP resource centers, and other related resources, the SAW/RTW Policy Collaborative shares informational materials and other resources among a large and varied group of stakeholders, and produces recommendations for retention and re-employment programs and policies that promote not only the workforce participation, but also the workforce attachment of individuals with disabilities.

In its fourth year, the SAW/RTW Policy Collaborative will take the work of the SAW/RTW PWGs to the next step by convening experts and identifying and developing policy products to help states and other key stakeholders take action in several key policy focus areas. Building on previous years’ work, we will convene the CoP and work with the PWGs to address important issues in improving stay at work and return to work outcomes for individuals experiencing disabilities resulting in work limitations. Through a collaborative effort with the State Exchange Employment and Disability (SEED) initiative, working with the National Council of State Legislators (NCSL), the Council of State Governments (CSG), and the National Governors Association (NGA), as well as through collaboration with other federal agencies, ODEP has identified policy areas for us to focus on this year, including:

  • Best practices for working with injured workers to coordinate care and return to work,
  • State-of-the art methods of addressing musculoskeletal injuries and pain management (particularly in relation to the use of opioids), and
  • State strategies to promote SAW/RTW such as partial disability, partial return-to-work, and employer subsidies.


An important resource used by the SAW/RTW Policy Collaborative is ePolicyWorks, a Web-based platform that utilizes the latest technology to engage stakeholders in collaboration and communication aimed at addressing key policy issues in employment of people with disabilities. Using tools that include an online collaborative workspace, Web-based dialogues, and e-newsletters, the SAW/RTW Policy Collaborative will leverage the ePolicyWorks technology to allow the CoP, the PWGs, and other stakeholders to work collaboratively to develop policies for improving stay at work and return to work outcomes for individuals experiencing disabilities resulting in work limitations.