Osteopathy services information
Guidelines for providing osteopathy services to injured workers.
Who can provide osteopathic services to injured workers
WorkSafe Victoria, will only pay for osteopathic services by healthcare professionals who are:
- registered by VWA to provide osteopathic services, and
- registered with the Osteopathy Board of Australia.
WorkSafe expectations for the delivery of osteopathic services to injured workers
WorkSafe expects that all osteopaths providing services to injured 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
- Measurable treatment effectiveness must be demonstrated.
- A biopsychosocial approach is essential for the management of pain.
- Treatment must focus on empowering the worker to manage their injury.
- Treatment goals must be functional and focused on return to work.
- Treatment must be based on the best evidence available.
Referral from a medical practitioner is not required for provision of osteopathic services. WorkSafe considers osteopathy to be a primary contact service. A referral from a medical practitioner is therefore not required.
How much WorkSafe will pay
WorkSafe will pay the reasonable costs of osteopathic services up to the maximum amount, as detailed in the WorkSafe osteopathy services fee schedule.
What WorkSafe will pay for
WorkSafe will pay the reasonable costs of osteopathic services that meet all of the following criteria:
- Treatment is for a work-related injury or illness.
- The provider is currently registered as an osteopath with WorkSafe.
- The service is in line with the principles of the Clinical Framework.
What WorkSafe will not pay for
- Non-attendance/cancellation. WorkSafe will not pay for appointments where injured workers cancel or do not attend.
- Telephone conversations. WorkSafe will not pay for telephone consultations or conversations, either to the injured worker or other related parties (such as the employer, WorkSafe, WorkSafe Agents, self-insurers or other healthcare professionals) that do not align with WorkSafe's telehealth policy.
- Concurrent osteopathy, chiropractic and/or physiotherapy treatment. WorkSafe considers osteopathic, chiropractic and physiotherapy treatment to be similar. When an injured worker is receiving osteopathic, chiropractic and/or physiotherapy treatment at the same time it is difficult to effectively measure the benefits and outcomes of treatment. The worker will be asked to select the treatment that they believe to be the most beneficial for their work injury.
- More than one consultation on the same day. WorkSafe will not pay for more than one osteopathy consultation provided on the same day to the same injured worker.
- Provision of more than one allied health service on the same day. Where an osteopath is registered with WorkSafe for more than one allied health service (for example, osteopathy and remedial massage), WorkSafe will not pay for provision of more than one service type to an injured worker on the same day.
- WorkSafe will not pay for consumable items (i.e. tape, ultrasound gel, dry needles, wax therapy) used as part of a consultation with the provider.
Gym and swimming memberships
WorkSafe can pay the reasonable cost of gym and/or swimming programs required as a result of a work-related injury or illness when requested by an osteopath. For more information please refer to the Gym and swimming memberships policy.
Certificate of Capacity
A Certificate of Capacity needs to be completed if the injured worker ‘s capacity for work is impacted due to a work related injury or illness. For example, where an injured worker’s capacity for their pre-injury employment is affected and they have no capacity for any employment or they are fit to work in suitable employment.
First Certificate of Capacity
- Can only be completed by a medical practitioner.
- Can be issued for up to a maximum of 14 days, unless special reasons apply and approval is obtained from the Agent or self-insurer.
Subsequent (Continuing) Certificate of Capacity
- Can also be completed by a registered osteopath, registered chiropractor, or registered physiotherapist.
- Can be issued for a maximum of 28 days, unless special authorisation is obtained from the Agent or self-insurer.
The Certificates of Capacity can be downloaded from and is available as a supplied template for use on a range of clinical management software.
Reporting requirements of osteopaths
Information is required by the Agent/self-insurer and/or employer to assist in the injured worker's return to work. As a provider, you must submit an allied health recovery management plan by the fifth consultation.
This form must be forwarded to the injured worker’s employer or Agent or self-insurer advising that treatment has commenced and providing information regarding the goals, strategies, and proposed outcomes of treatment. This information assists the treater, employer and the Agent or self-insurer to manage the worker’s return to work.
Please Note: For workers who are part of the Community Integration Program the request, approval and submission of outcome measures for services will form part of the independence planning process.
WorkSafe registered allied health practitioners are also 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 osteopathy services fee schedule.
Equipment and related services
WorkSafe can pay the reasonable costs of equipment and related services required as a result of a work-related injury or illness when requested by an osteopath. For more information please refer to the Equipment and related services policy.
Osteopaths may apply to provide a restricted consultation (at the practitioner's rooms) for workers with moderate to severe acquired brain injuries, crush injuries, extensive burns, spinal cord injuries, multiple orthopaedic fractures and/or loss of limb amputations. Other complex injuries will be considered on merit.
The Restricted Consultation application form must be completed by the treating osteopath to apply for approval to use the restricted consultation item number within their fee schedule.
It is recommended that osteopaths do not use the restricted consultation item number until they have been advised in writing that their application has been accepted.
Osteopaths are able to invoice for the completion of the Restricted Consultation application form using item number OS106 (restricted consultation application).
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 or other relevant professional body that regulates the provider, and Medicare Australia of the suspension and the grounds on which the suspension has been issued.