Guidelines for the provision of chiropractic services to injured workers.
What WorkSafe will pay for
The WorkSafe Agent (the Agent) can pay the reasonable costs of chiropractic services when required as a result of a work-related injury or illness under Victorian workers' compensation legislation (the legislation).
The Agent will periodically review an injured worker's entitlement to chiropractic services to ensure that the treatment and services remain reasonable for the work-related injury and/or illness and are payable under the legislation.
WorkSafe Victoria has developed the Clinical Framework for the Delivery of Health Services (Clinical Framework) to set out key principles for the delivery of services to injured workers.
The Clinical Framework is based on the following principles:
measurement and demonstration of the effectiveness of treatment
adoption of a biopsychosocial approach
empowering the injured worker to manage their injury
implementing goals focused on optimising function, participation and/or return to work/health
base treatments on best available research evidence
WorkSafe Victoria expects that all health professionals providing services to injured workers integrate the principles of the Clinical Framework into their daily practice.
This policy must be read in conjunction with the following:
What can the Agent pay for in relation to chiropractic services?
The Agent can pay the reasonable costs of chiropractic services:
required as a result of a work-related injury or illness
registered by WorkSafe to provide chiropractic services
registered with the Chiropractic Board of Australia
that are clinically justified, safe and effective
that have a clear rehabilitative purpose and are not for non-work-related injury rehabilitative purposes
that are likely to achieve or maintain a measurable functional improvement
that promote progress towards functional independence, participation and self management
Please note that the Agent will not pay for more than one initial consultation by the same provider or clinic unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example following a hospital admission or surgery, or where a significant period of time has elapsed since the injured worker last received treatment.
Restricted consultations require prior written approval from the Agent. The Agent can pay the reasonable costs of extended consultations where an injured worker requires treatment beyond that of a standard consultation including:
moderate to severe acquired brain injury
spinal cord injuries
multiple orthopaedic fractures
The Restricted Consultation application form must be completed by a chiropractor to apply for approval to use the restricted chiropractic consultation item number. It is recommended that chiropractors do not bill the restricted item consultation item number until they have been advised by the Agent in writing that their application has been accepted. Chiropractors can be reimbursed by the Agent for the completion of the Restricted Consultation application form.
Consultations in the community
The Agent can pay the reasonable costs of a consultation undertaken in a community setting, such as at a hospital, at home or at an injured worker's workplace.
The Agent expects the injured worker to seek treatment from a provider in their local area. Please refer to the WorkSafe Chiropractic Fee Schedule for more information.
Radiological investigations undertaken by chiropractors can only be paid by the Agent when performed by an appropriately licensed practitioner. All radiological investigations are paid in accordance with the WorkSafe Chiropractic Fee Schedule.
Subsequent (Continuing) Certificates of Capacity
A chiropractor may complete a subsequent certificate of capacity if the injured worker's capacity for work is impacted due to a work-related injury.
A subsequent/continuing Certificate of Capacity can be issued by a chiropractor for up to a maximum of 28 days, unless special reasons apply and express approval is obtained from the agent.
Please note that only a medical practitioner can complete an initial Certificate of Capacity.
Return to Work Case Conferences
WorkSafe registered allied health practitioners are expected to communicate and collaborate with other parties involved in the worker's support team to facilitate continuity of care and return to work.
Return to Work Case Conferences (RTWCC) bring together the worker, referring medical practitioner, employer, WorkSafe agent, occupational rehabilitation provider, and other relevant parties. They can be used to discuss the worker’s capacity, any barriers affecting recovery, set goals, and agree on timeframes for recovery at/return to work.
Typically, a RTW case conference will be requested by an agent or the occupational rehabilitation consultant however, a treating health practitioner can request a case conference by contacting the agent or the occupational rehabilitation consultant directly. RTWCCs will be remunerated as outlined in the chiropractic services fee schedule.
Who can provide chiropractic services?
Chiropractic services can be provided by a chiropractor who is registered with the Chiropractic Board of Australia to practice in the chiropractic profession.
What information does the Agent require to consider paying for chiropractic services?
The Agent does not require any information from a chiropractor before commencement of initial treatment for an injured worker's work-related injury.
After initial treatment has commenced, the chiropractor will be required to submit a Chiropractic Treatment Notification to the Agent by the fifth consultation.
This form provides information regarding the goals, strategies and proposed outcomes of the treatment. This information assists the treater, employer and the Agent to manage the worker's return to work.
For injured workers part of the Community Integration Program the request, approval and submission of outcome measures for services will form part of the independence planning process.
When will the Agent respond to a request?
Within 10 working days of receiving a request for chiropractic services, the Agent will advise whether:
the request has been approved
the request has been denied, or
further information is required to make a decision
Where further information is required, the Agent will advise whether the request has been approved or denied within 10 working days of receipt of the additional information.
To assist the Agent make a decision regarding a request for ongoing chiropractic services, a request may be reviewed by a WorkSafe Medical Advisor/Clinical Panel member.
The Clinical Panel/Medical Advisor may contact the requesting chiropractor to seek further information and/or discuss the proposed treatment prior to making a recommendation to the Agent regarding the request. The Agent will respond to the request when they have received the recommendations.
What fees are payable for chiropractic services?
In relation to chiropractic services, what won't the Agent pay for?
The Agent will not pay for:
treatment or services for a person other than the worker
treatment or services provided by a health professional not registered and approved by WorkSafe under Victorian workers' compensation legislation
more than one initial consultation by the same provider or clinic
the provision of multiple or concurrent physical treatments (for example physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopathy or acupuncture) with exceptions such as group exercise or group hydrotherapy
pharmacy items such as creams and gels supplied by health professionals
treatment or services subcontracted to, or provided by a non-registered provider
fees associated with cancellation or non-attendance
treatment or services provided outside the Commonwealth of Australia without prior written approval from the Agent
treatment or services provided by telephone or other non-face to face mediums
consumable prosthetics, aides and appliances used in the course of the consultation – for further information please refer to the WorkSafe policy for Equipment and Related Services
consultations provided more than once on the same day to the same worker
treatment, services, prostheses or equipment where there is no National Health and Medical Research Council level 1, or level 2 evidence that the treatment, services, prostheses or equipment is safe and effective – refer to the WorkSafe policy for Non-Established, New or Emerging Treatments and Services
Note: This policy is a guideline issued by WorkSafe Victoria under Victorian workers compensation legislation in respect of the reasonable costs of services, and services for which approval should be sought from the WorkSafe Agent or self-insurer (as the case may be) before the services are provided.
Suspended from providing services to WorkSafe clients
If WorkSafe gives notice to a provider advising them that they are suspended from providing services to WorkSafe clients, WorkSafe will notify the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and Medicare Australia of the suspension and the grounds on which the suspension has been issued.