Team meetings are one of the primary tools available to assist OEVR in resolving disputes, disagreements and other barriers to the vocational rehabilitation process. The classic definition and purpose of a team meeting is cited in 452 CMR 4:07 1(b) which reads in part:
"In the event that the client disapproves of the rehabilitation services planned for him or her by the insurer, no such IWRP shall be approved by the office until a representative of the insurer, authorized to approve expenditures for rehabilitation, the rehabilitation provider, and client have met with the office and agreed on the employment goal, scope of services and the cost of the program."
A team meeting may take place anytime after the client has been found eligible and services have been initiated. A meeting would generally be a last resort attempt to resolve an issue. In other words, phone calls, letters, etc., have been unsuccessful or impractical.
A formal team meeting as defined above would generally take place to resolve any issue that might have substantial financial impact on the cost of services. The insurer's representative should be present for such meetings.
An informal team meeting would be defined as occurring when the issues involved have minimal impact on financial aspects but may be more centered around client/vendor issues, e.g., personality conflicts, difficulties in determining a job goal, poor cooperation by the injured worker, etc. Such meetings are usually attended by the client, provider and OEVR.
Any person who would be a signatory to the IWRP may request a team meeting. The request is made to the appropriate RRO who will make a determination of its necessity. Other, more expedient forms of resolution, should be investigated first. If a meeting is finally called, make sure that the reasons for the meeting are clear to all parties. Develop an agenda beforehand and stick to the main issue during the meeting.
If any of the participants fail to appear for the meeting, that person should be contacted before rescheduling. In rare situations, it may be possible to settle the issue satisfactorily without that person. If there is a repeat no show by a participant, you may have to make a decision without their input. If the client is the repeat no show without cause, then strong consideration should be given to closing the case.
All team meetings will end in one of two ways. The issue is resolved and appropriate action is taken, or there is no resolution but the issue is referred back to the concerned participants with recommendations and an action plan. This latter situation may require a follow-up meeting.