Acupuncture services policy

Guidelines for providing acupuncture services to injured workers.


Who can provide acupuncture services

The WorkSafe Agent (the Agent) can only pay for acupuncture services provided by healthcare professionals who are:

  • registered by WorkSafe to provide acupuncture services and either:
    • registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia
    • endorsed in acupuncture by another Victorian statutory registration board (e.g. the applicable registration board for physiotherapy, osteopathy or nursing), or
    • a registered medical practitioner who is able to provide acupuncture services that meet the service descriptions and provision rules of the Medical Benefits Schedule, and
  • able to provide evidence of current professional indemnity insurance

Further information on WorkSafe's required level of professional indemnity insurance

WorkSafe expectations for the delivery of acupuncture services

WorkSafe expects that all acupuncturists providing services to workers as part of the Victorian Workers' Compensation Scheme integrate the principles of the Clinical Framework for the delivery of health services to injured workers (Clinical Framework) into their daily practice.

The Clinical Framework is based on the following principles:

  1. measurable treatment effectiveness must be demonstrated
  2. a biopsychosocial approach is essential for the management of pain
  3. treatment must focus on empowering the worker to manager their injury
  4. treatment goals must be functional and focused on return to work
  5. treatment must be based on the best evidence available

Referral requirements

  • A medical practitioner must provide a request for acupuncture services prior to commencement of treatment:
    • WorkSafe considers acupuncture to be a referred service. A request from a medical practitioner must therefore be provided.
  • Referred services include all approved health services with the exception of medical, chiropractic, physiotherapy, osteopathic, optometry, dental and podiatry services.
  • No referral to other health services:
    • WorkSafe does not allow acupuncturists to provide referrals to other health services.

How much the Agent can pay

The Agent can pay the reasonable costs of acupuncture services up to the maximum amount as detailed in WorkSafe's acupuncture services fee schedule.

What the Agent can pay for

The Agent can pay the reasonable costs of acupuncture services that meet all of the following criteria:

  • treatment is for a work-related injury or illness
  • the provider is currently registered as an acupuncturist with WorkSafe
  • a medical practitioner has provided a request for treatment
  • the service is in line with the principles of the Clinical Framework

What the Agent will not pay for

  • Non-attendance/cancellation:
    • the Agent will not pay for appointments where the worker cancels or does not attend.
  • Telephone conversations:
    • the Agent will not pay for telephone consultations or conversations, either to the worker or other related parties (such as the employer, WorkSafe or other healthcare professionals).
  • More than one consultation on the same day:
    • the Agent will not pay for more than one acupuncture consultation provided on the same day to the same worker
  • Provision of more than one allied health service on the same day:
    • where an acupuncturist is registered with WorkSafe for more than one allied health service (for example, acupuncture and remedial massage), the Agent will not pay for the provision of more than one service type to the worker on the same day