What WorkSafe will pay for

The WorkSafe Agent (the Agent) can pay the reasonable costs of physiotherapy 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 physiotherapy services to ensure that the treatment and services remain reasonable for the workrelated injury and/or illness and are payable under the legislation. 

Background 

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. Further information about the Clinical Framework can be found at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au

This policy must be read in conjunction with the following: 

  • Early Intervention Physiotherapy Framework policy 
  • Equipment and related services policy 
  • Gym and swimming Programs policy

Guidelines 

What can the Agent pay for in relation to physiotherapy services? 

The Agent can pay the reasonable costs of physiotherapy services: 

  • required as a result of a work-related injury or illness 
  • registered by WorkSafe to provide physiotherapy services 
  • registered with the Physiotherapy 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. 

Group consultations 

The Agent can pay the reasonable cost of group consultations provided by a physiotherapist. 

Group consultations involve two or more injured workers receiving constant overall supervision and intermittent attention. The maximum number of participants in a group should not exceed six. 

Restricted consultations 

  • 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 
  • crush injuries 
  • extensive burns 
  • spinal cord injuries 
  • multiple orthopaedic fractures 
  • limb amputations. 

The Restricted Consultation application form must be completed by a physiotherapist to apply for approval to use the restricted physiotherapy consultation item number. It is recommended that physiotherapists 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. 

Physiotherapists 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 Physiotherapy Fee Schedule for more information. 

Subsequent (Continuing) Certificates of Capacity 

  • A physiotherapist 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 physiotherapist 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. 
  • For more information about Certificates of Capacity please see www.worksafe.vic.gov.au

Who can provide physiotherapy services? 

  • Physiotherapy services can be provided by a physiotherapist who is registered with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia to practice in the physiotherapy profession. 

What information does the Agent require to consider paying for physiotherapy services? 

  • The Agent does not require any information from a physiotherapist before commencement of initial treatment for an injured worker's work-related injury. After initial treatment has commenced, the physiotherapist will be required to submit a Physiotherapy Management Plan to the Agent by the fifth consultation. 
  • 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 physiotherapy 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 physiotherapy services, a request may be reviewed by a WorkSafe Medical Advisor/Clinical Panel. The Clinical Panel/Medical Advisor may contact the requesting physiotherapist 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 are WorkSafe's invoicing requirements? 

Refer to the How to invoice WorkSafe guidelines. 

What fees are payable for physiotherapy services? 

Please refer to the Physiotherapy fee schedule. 

In relation to physiotherapy 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. 

Further information 

Contact the referring Agent, or email [email protected].