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Certificates of Capacity

Certificates of Capacity are used by VWA Agents and employers to determine a worker's capacity for work and the nature of their injury. Certificates can be issued by a medical practitioner, physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath.

An injured worker must have a Certificate of Capacity to receive loss of income compensation.

Helping injured workers return to work as part of their rehabilitation, assists their return to normal life activities and routine, which reduces the financial and emotional impact on them and their family. An appropriate Certificate of Capacity is an enabling tool which can trigger support services for the injured worker.

The Certificate of Capacity is available through the following medical software vendors:
Clinical software Release date Type Name of template in software
Best Practice  August 2014

Supplied template in Best Practice word processer

Download the guide for using the Certificate of Capacity in Best Practice

TAC and VWA Certificate of Capacity
Medical Director August 2014

Supplied template in letter writer

Download the guide for using the Certificate of Capacity in Medical Director

Victorian WorkCover & TAC - Certificate of Capacity
Genie  July 2014 Supplied template VIC WorkCover & TAC – Certificate of Capacity
Medtech32 July 2014 Supplied template VIC WorkCover & TAC – Certificate of Capacity
StatHealthSystems July 2014 Supplied template VIC WorkCover & TAC – Certificate of Capacity
Practix July 2014 Supplied template VIC WorkCover & TAC – Certificate of Capacity
Smartsoft – Front Desk July 2014 Supplied template VIC WorkCover & TAC – Certificate of Capacity
ZedMed

August

2014

Supplied template

Available as download on website  

VIC WorkCover & TAC – Certificate of Capacity
Medinet Oct 2014 Available as download on Abaki website VIC WorkCover & TAC – Certificate of Capacity
Profile Feb 2015 Available in Profile version 7.1 as supplied template Victoria Certificate of Capacity
Medical Wizard
March 2015
Supplied template Victorian Certificate of Capacity
Shexie
Feb 2015
Supplied template Victorian Certificate of Capacity
Specialist Practice Manager (Incisive Systems)
Mar 2015
Supplied template Victorian

Types of certificates

First Certificate of Capacity

Only a medical practitioner can issue the first Certificate of Capacity. It can be valid for a maximum of 14 days off work unless there are special reasons provided on the certificate, such as where the worker has a severe injury or illness.

Subsequent Certificate of Capacity

A medical practitioner, physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath can sign a subsequent Certificate of Capacity. It can be valid for a maximum of 28 days unless the VWA agent is satisfied that there are special reasons for the certificate to cover a longer period.

Attendance Certificate

An attendance only certificate can be issued to confirm attendance for treatment with a medical practitioner, physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath.

Who can issue a Certificate of Capacity?

Victorian workers compensation legislation provides that a subsequent Certificate of Capacity can only be issued by a:

  • Medical practitioner
  • Physiotherapist
  • Chiropractor
  • Osteopath

No other healthcare providers can issue a Certificate of Capacity at any time.

The certifier's role

The best outcome for the worker is to return to normal life as soon as possible. A Certificate of Capacity provides critical information about the worker's injury, illness, capacity and limitations.

The information you include in the Certificate of Capacity will allow an employer to plan suitable return to work (RTW) arrangements for the injured worker and provide them with valuable information about what they can do once they are back at work.

The role of the certifier is to:

  • Provide information about the worker's injury or condition.
  • Provide a medical opinion on the worker's current capacity and limitations based on the work-related injury or condition.
  • Revise the certificate as the injury, condition or capacity changes.
  • Assess and certify the capacity of the worker, regardless of whether suitable employment is available.
  • Discuss returning to work with the worker from the first consultation and set realistic expectations with the worker about RTW timelines.
  • Review any proposed RTW arrangements from the employer to ensure that the proposed duties fit within the capacity you have certified.

Supporting return to work

Returning to work will assist the worker's recovery and rehabilitation. There is compelling evidence that work is generally good for health and wellbeing. International and Australasian evidence is highlighted in The Australian Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work of which The Royal Australasian College of Physicians is a signatory.

For more information on the Health Benefits of Work visit healthbenefitsofwork.com.au

The Certificate of Capacity provides information about the date from which the injured worker will have a capacity for pre-injury employment, suitable employment, or no capacity for employment.

Pre-injury employment

Pre-injury employment is the same activities and hours performed before the worker was injured.

Suitable employment

Suitable employment is employment with modifications to a worker's pre-injury employment to allow them to return to work. It can also refer to different duties to those performed before the injury or illness. Suitable employment is sometimes referred to as modified or alternative duties depending on the nature of the modifications.

Suitable employment may or may not be available, but this should not influence your assessment of the worker's functional capacity. There are support services that may be available for injured workers to assist with returning to work in suitable employment.

Getting Assistance – Occupational Rehabilitation

Capacity Assessment

The capacity assessment section of the Certificate of Capacity is used to identify how the worker's injury or condition has affected their functional capacity. The information you provide will be central to planning for a return to safe and sustainable work.

The capacity assessment provides physical and/or mental health function information. Certifiers should select applicable fields in the following areas:

Certificate of capacity sample

This information can be used by the employer to assess suitable options for the worker to safely stay at, or return to work, and should be included in the injured worker's RTW arrangements or plan.

Communication

Good communication is a key element in a successful return to work.

The Certificate of Capacity is a communication tool for the treating health practitioner, worker and employer. The capacity assessment provides employers with the information they require to appropriately and safely plan their worker's return to work.

You may be contacted by the employer, their appointed Return to Work Coordinator, occupational rehabilitation provider, or the VWA Agent to coordinate your patient's successful return to work.

As the treating health practitioner, you can call an employer to find out more about the worker's employment and any suitable employment options that may be available if you have not heard from the worker's employer.