Balancing People Skills
with Business Solutions







Case Management

All Rehabilitation Counselors at CONDON · NERO, Inc. are experienced Case Managers who encompass the ability to provide assessment/counseling services and coordinate all aspects of vocational referral.

As with any type of Case Management, our goal is to balance the costs and quality of care provided to the injured worker and the employer. We manage the uncertainties of medical and vocational intervention so the referral source can manage their claim with certainty. Because our staff at CONDON · NERO, Inc. has significant experience and positive working relationships with the parties involved in Workers Compensation claims (i.e. doctors, employers, attorneys, physical and occupational therapists), our ability to provide quality and timely case management services is significantly enhanced.

As always, cost containment while providing aggressive case management planning and coordination is our ultimate goal.

T O P

Vocational Assessment

CONDON · NERO, Inc. has provided vocational assessment for the Department of Labor and Industries as well as self-insured employers, insurance companies, administrators, DOL/OWCP, and various private attorneys in Oregon and Washington States. Since this is typically the most important phase of vocational case management / consulting / counseling, we realize the value of providing timely, accurate and cost effective vocational assessment services. We complete vocational assessments within a 30 to 45 day period.

As a rule, vocational assessments are pursued from two concurrent standpoints.

  • The initial focus is with the employer-at-injury, utilizing the early intervention concept that provision of vocational services within the first 90 days of injury greatly reduces likelihood for additional claim costs and vocational retraining. Our positive relationship with area employers has contributed significantly to early return to work within the vocational assessment process.
  • In those cases where no feasible opportunities can be identified with the employer-at-injury, or similar employers within the labor market, it becomes necessary to evaluate the injured worker's ability to work outside the vocation at time of injury.

CONDON · NERO, Inc.' ability to secure complete, up-to-date and accurate work history information as well as our ability to thoroughly analyze any resulting transferable skills also serves to reduce claim costs.

To this end, we have invested in high quality software to assist in the transferable skills process. Once potential transferable jobs are identified, counselors employ their up-to-date knowledge of the local labor market and our extensive labor market data base to research the injured worker's physical ability to perform jobs and to determine whether current labor market qualifications are met.

After appropriate jobs are clarified, either with the employer-at-injury or in the current labor market, detailed functional job analyses are developed for review by attending and consulting physicians. Use of this detailed job analysis format, along with our positive relationships with medical providers, results in significant cost savings; as medical information can typically be reviewed in one interview without the need for further follow up to clarify various issues that would otherwise be unclear.

By applying all of the above vocational assessment tools and skills, CONDON · NERO, Inc. provides quality vocational assessments that hold up under dispute, and contribute significantly to success in determining employability and returning injured workers to gainful employment.

T O P

Job Analyses

CONDON · NERO, Inc. has spent several years in design and re-design of our current job analysis format.

We have included data from medical providers, attorneys and other vocational counseling firms and providers within our industry to develop a job analysis which is both sufficiently detailed yet concise, and therefore meets the needs of all claims parties. We feel confident our current job analysis format meets these needs and provides accurate, detailed information regarding specific job tasks and the physical demands of any job described.

Our counseling staff is trained to complete these job analyses consistent with the Handbook for Analyzing Jobs utilizing current techniques and measuring equipment. Each job analysis is reviewed in detail by supervisory staff before it is presented to any customer, physician, or injured worker for review.

We have also developed specialized addendums, which can be applied to workers compensation cases as needed. These addendums include: Chemical exposure, cognitive requirements, and a special "hand" addendum which is particularly helpful when addressing repetitive use or upper extremity injuries.

CONDON · NERO, Inc. has made our job analysis format a priority and we have expended extensive effort in developing what we consider a comprehensive and superior product.  Employers and referral sources have expressed that our comprehensive Job Analysis format has assisted greatly in assessing both return to work and settlement outcomes.

T O P

Return to Work Coordination

CONDON · NERO, Inc. places priority on return-to-work coordination for injured workers.

This process typically involves a variety of services: Obtaining approval of a return-to-work position for an injured worker by the appropriate medical providers, followed by assistance to the employer in completion of the required job offer.

The CONDON · NERO, Inc. staff is thoroughly trained in the requirements of job offer documentation, and we provide education to employers regarding proper composition of job offer letters to accurately convey the employment offer to an injured worker, thereby avoiding future disagreement or confusion should a vocational case be reviewed under dispute.

Our counselors assist employers in completing and following up on any job offers made. As a rule, once a job offer is made and an injured worker returns to work, our counselors maintain a minimal but effective presence on the claim to monitor an injured worker's return-to-work via contact with the employer, the injured worker and any other interested parties. This return-to-work monitoring often serves as support for claim closure when and if a claim is put under vocational dispute. Our counselors are skilled in completing detailed and appropriate case documentation to clearly document an injured worker's response to any job offers, and to document the outcome of any return-to-work actions.

CONDON · NERO, Inc.' performance rating indicates a competitive level of return-to-work outcomes for our vocational case assignments. As discussed in the Labor and Industries section, a large % of our vocational determinations are upheld by the Oregon and Washington Dispute Resolution Boards. CONDON · NERO, Inc. has had excellent outcomes with regard to return-to-work coordination with self-insured employers who are frequently able to provide return-to-work options to their employees.

T O P

Job Modification

Work Assessment
CONDON · NERO, Inc. specializes in work assessments, job modification, and job and work station modification. Our first and foremost priority is to return and/or maintain injured workers at their place of employment whenever possible.

Job Modification

Our staff is trained to work with employers to assess work tasks in a detailed manner and compare those tasks with the injured worker's ability. Our counselors utilize the job analysis format, their extensive training, and positive and well established relationships with employers to clearly assess any job, and help employers identify new positions for injured workers. These job modifications may involve modifying tasks, job sharing, modification of work hours, the order in which tasks are completed, or changes in the manner in which injured workers complete their assigned tasks.

Job/Work Station Modification

Our staff works closely with occupational therapists and equipment providers to identify specific ergonomic adjustments to a work site, which may result in Stay at Work or timely return to work for an injured worker. These work site modifications are frequently inexpensive, when compared with costly time loss benefits, lost production, leave days and/or additional vocational services. CONDON · NERO, Inc. has worked with several local employers to provide company wide work station modifications to prevent and reduce injuries and return injured workers to their workplace

Industry research and our combined experience has shown that keeping a Worker at their job or returning an injured worker to their place of employment typically results in significantly lower claim costs, increased productivity for the employer and typically a much happier and more productive injured worker. Often this return to work can be achieved and maximized by simple and inexpensive work place assessments, job modifications and work station modifications.

T O P

Expert Witness Testimony

CONDON · NERO, Inc. has a wealth of expertise to offer to the legal community.

Mr. Timothy Condon, MA, CRC, CDMS, CCM has 30 years of experience as a Rehabilitation Counselor in Washington State---providing services for agencies such as the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, U.S. Department of Labor/OWCP, Department of Veterans Affairs, DSHS Work First, and for numerous private attorneys; and has provided significant levels of expertise when retained as a consultant or expert witness. He also has a Masters Degree in Counseling from Pacific Lutheran University, is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, a Certified Disability Management Specialist, and a Certified Case Manager. Mr. Condon has developed a forensic approach to the assessment process, which serves to significantly clarify major issues involved in these types of litigation. His wide range of experience provides a broad scope of understanding of the personal injury and Workers Compensation industries, and contributes to his success as an expert witness.

Ms. Andrea Nero-Jones, BA, CDMS, LMT has worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor for 20 years and she provides services to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, various self-insured employers, insurance carriers and several private attorneys in both Oregon and Washington State. She also has 10 years experience within the insurance industry prior to her career as a Rehabilitation Counselor. Ms. Nero-Jones's dual skills as both a Rehabilitation Counselor and an Insurance Specialist have provided a significant level of expertise to her services as an expert witness. In addition, Ms. Nero-Jones has extensive experience working as a victim's advocate and is familiar with the judicial system and courtroom environment. In the last several years, Ms. Nero-Jones has developed areas of specialty to include cases which involve injured workers with head injuries, significant multiple work related injuries, and individuals with various mental health issues related and/or unrelated to the worker's compensation injury. Ms. Nero-Jones has also performed extensive work with injured workers who are crime victims and has served as a victim advocate within her role as a Rehabilitation Counselor. She has also obtained LMT Licensure which has assisted in a broader understanding of injuries, anatomy, treatment and ergonomic accommodations.  Ms. Nero-Jones has very well established relationships with legal representatives in the Puget Sound and Portland, Oregon areas and has successfully provided expert witness services utilizing a combination of her workers' compensation, victim advocate, and insurance backgrounds.

T O P

Life Planning

CONDON · NERO, Inc. can provide life care planning services. These will be geared toward individuals with multiple disabilities, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and will also be completed for forensic rehabilitation cases. If you have questions or need to have specific life care planning needs met, please call Ms. Diane Sandrowski at (253) 846-0940, extension 241.
 

 

T O P

Vocational Retraining

CONDON · NERO, Inc. is committed to timely and outcome oriented vocational retraining activities for those individuals who are determined likely to benefit from such services. Upon receipt of referrals for vocational retraining services, injured workers are immediately scheduled for aptitude and interest training to identify appropriate vocational options. Within one to two weeks of the referral, test results are received and reviewed with the injured worker and initial areas of interest are identified. Counselors then meet with injured workers on a one to two times per week basis to narrow down and ultimately choose a vocational retraining goal that is appropriate given the injured workers' physical limitations, aptitudes, interests, and give structured time and cost allowances.

Once an appropriate retraining plan is identified, Counselors complete staffings with the referral source to review and clarify details of the retraining goal, the curriculum and related labor market and employability issues. Upon approval by the referral source, Counselors maintain a strong presence to successfully implement the training program and then to monitor the injured worker's participation, motivation and progress. CONDON · NERO, Inc. Counselors have developed lasting relationships with the vocational and community colleges in the Puget Sound area and we are well known to local instructors and training site supervisors. We complete monthly visits to all training sites and we have found that our interaction with training site instructors and supervisors is not only welcomed, but is critical in early identification of any barriers to retraining success. This constant and strong interaction with injured workers and their training sites ensures that Claimant's transition well and successfully into their retraining programs, resulting in workers who are qualified and prepared to return to gainful employment.

CONDON · NERO, Inc. has a proven track record of identifying, coordinating, and implementing retraining plans that are timely, cost effective, and creative. We strive to design retraining plans that result in clear vocational closures, that provide local employers with skilled and work-ready employees, and that provide injured workers with maximum skills for appropriate, new vocations.

T O P

Job Development / Placement

The areas of job development and job placement are typically the final step in the vocational process. As such, this can also be the most important and effective step in the series of vocational activities. CONDON · NERO, Inc. Counselors are well trained and highly skilled in the areas of job development and job placement. Upon approval or agreement with the referral source to provide these services, we utilize both local and internet access to job banks to identify current job openings for our injured workers. We then match those job openings to our clients to ensure that client and job are well suited given physical demands, education and skill areas, and aptitudes and interests. CONDON · NERO, Inc. Counselors also provide assistance with resume writing, cover letter content and design, and we offer individual and group classes in interview preparation and techniques. We have found that identification of appropriate jobs, coupled with assisting our clients to prepare properly for their job search, results in successful and permanent return to work solutions.

T O P

Summary of Services

The combined experience of Mr. Condon and Ms. Nero-Jones, along with the varied skills of the experienced staff at CONDON · NERO, Inc. has had a significant, positive impact on our reputation within the Workers Compensation industry.

We pride ourselves on our well established relationships with area employers, medical providers, legal representatives and with claims managers and claims representatives. Our reputation is that of a company that strives to provide quality and cost effective services in a fair and equitable manner.

CONDON · NERO, Inc. makes it an absolute priority to maintain a neutral stance on all claims and we utilize the Workers Compensation laws to make fair and accurate vocational recommendations. Our staff is well trained in the techniques of good customer service and our priority is to provide excellent customer service to all our customers, both internal and external. In an industry where often relationships can be volatile and/or adversarial, CONDON · NERO, Inc. has been able to distinguish ourselves as a firm that is able to "work with everybody". We have found that working in a fair and equitable manner with legal representatives, medical providers and customers results in lower claim costs and a better outcome for all parties involved.

CONDON · NERO, Inc. has developed a reputation in our industry as a firm that stands out as neutral, ethical, thorough, and accessible. We take pride in this achievement and are committed to maintaining its credibility.