Information for physiotherapists

On this page
  1. Treating an injured worker
  2. Programs and services to support your patient
  3. Certificate of Capacity
  4. Reports and forms
  5. Invoicing
  6. Insurance Agents
  7. Early Physiotherapy Intervention Framework
  8. How do I register to become a physiotherapy provider for WorkSafe
  9. Return to work flowchart - Identifying and managing barriers

Treating an injured worker

A guide to support physiotherapists treating patients who have been injured at work.

Information for physiotherapists

Integrate the Clinical Framework Principles

WorkSafe expects the Clinical Framework principles to be integrated into physiotherapy services provided to injured workers as follows:

  1. Measure and demonstrate the effectiveness of treatment
  2. Adopt a biopsychosocial approach
  3. Empower the injured worker to manage their injury
  4. Implement treatment goals focused on optimising function, participation and return to work
  5. Base treatment on the best evidence available

Return to Work conversations are part of your treatment

Injured workers who return to work as soon as possible generally recover more quickly and with fewer complications than those who wait until they're fully recovered. Physiotherapists should:

  • use consultation time to educate their patients on the health benefits of staying at or returning to work;
  • establish and review treatment goals focused on improved function and returning to work; and
  • educate their patients on their certified capacity and any restrictions.

Certificate of Capacity

A Certificate of Capacity provides important information about the worker's injury, illness, capacity and limitations and can be issued by a medical practitioner, registered physiotherapist, registered chiropractor or registered osteopath. WorkSafe's Insurance Agents and employers use the Certificate of Capacity to determine an injured worker's capacity for work, the nature of their injury and it can help inform potential adjustments for return to work arrangements.

If time off work is required for your patient, a medical practitioner must provide the initial Certificate of Capacity (maximum up to 14 days). Physiotherapists can provide subsequent certificates (maximum up to 28 days). If no time off work is required, physiotherapists can provide information which may be in the form of a certificate to inform the employer of the worker's functional capability. An injured worker must have a Certificate of Capacity to receive loss of income compensation.

The Certificate of Capacity form is available on the WorkSafe website and may also be available through your practice management software.

Assessing capacity

When assessing the functional capacity of your patient ask yourself:

  • What can my patient do? What are their functional capabilities i.e. can they sit, stand, walk, use uninjured limbs?
  • What can't my patient do? What are their functional limitations i.e. unable to drive, not stand for longer than 30 mintues?
  • What do I not want my patient to do? What are the pathological limitations i.e., lift from the ground level, walk on uneven terrain?

Certifying no capacity

Certifying 'no capacity' for employment is irregular practice for physiotherapists as it is uncommon that a person will have no functional capacity. Severe injuries do occur and some injuries result in low or no functional capacity.

Certifying no capacity for employment is appropriate when medically necessary i.e., work or activity is medically contraindicated and/or recovery requires confinement at home or in bed.

Certifying with capacity

Certification should be based on your patient's functional capacity.

State what your patient can do regardless of whether suitable duties are available at their workplace. It is the role of the employer and case manager from the Insurance Agent to identify suitable duties. To find out more on how to certify appropriately view the WorkSafe Webinar Modules on the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) website and on the Personal Injury Education Foundation (PIEF) website.

Programs and services to support your patient

To assist rehabilitation of work-related injury or illness under the Victorian workers compensation legislation, the following programs and services can be delivered in accordance with their related WorkSafe policy.

  1. Gym and swimming
  2. Group consultations
  3. Workplace assessment
  4. Restricted consultations
  5. Small stock items
  6. Network pain management programs
  7. Provider support
  8. WorkSafe Advisory service
  9. WorkSafe webinar modules

Reports and forms

Reporting requirements

The treating physiotherapist is required to complete and forward a Physiotherapy Management Plan (PMP) to the Insurance Agent, employer and medical practitioner by the fifth physiotherapy consultation. This is required to notify them of the commencement of physiotherapy services and the proposed management plan.

Physiotherapy forms and templates

The Physiotherapy Management Plan (PMP) template and the Restricted consultation form are available on the WorkSafe website. PMP template may also be available through your practice management software. To order bulk carbon copies of the PMP template, email: info@worksafe.vic.gov.au or telephone: WorkSafe Advisory service on 1800 136 089.

Invoicing

All invoices are to include information about the injured worker, the healthcare provider and the services provided.

For invoicing, you need to know the patient's date of injury, accepted condition and entitlements. Your patient should be able to provide you with these details. If not, you can obtain this information from the Insurance Agent. Send the invoice to the employer's Insurance Agent if the employer's excess has been met. If the employer's excess has not been met, send the invoice to the patient's employer. If you are unsure about the employer excess, you can gain information by contacting the employer's Insurance Agent. An Insurance Agent has up to 30 days to process the invoice if the patient has entitlement to physiotherapy treatment.

Insurance Agents

WorkSafe has five authorised Insurance Agents to manage claims. Physiotherapists will predominately work with the case manager (also known as claim manager).

Early Physiotherapy Intervention Framework

The Early Intervention Physiotherapy Framework (EIPF) is a service model that recognises the importance of early treatment in facilitating return to work and optimal health outcomes. The items numbers and fees vary between physiotherapy and EIPF services. Physiotherapists who are registered to provide services under the EIPF have participated in specific training and declared to treat injured workers in accordance with the principles of the Clinical Framework. Physiotherapists can enrol in the EIPF by completing the required training and signing a declaration to provide services in line with the Clinical Framework.

How do I register to become a physiotherapy provider for WorkSafe

Complete the WorkSafe application for registration to provide services to workers form and include your Physiotherapy Board of Australia registration number. Maintain at all times a minimum of $1 million professional indemnity insurance coverage. A provider number will be provided to you for invoicing purposes.

Return to work flowchart - Identifying and managing barriers

A guide to support physiotherapists treating patients to return work.

Information for physiotherapists

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