Remedial massage services policy

Guidelines for providing remedial massage services to injured workers.


What is remedial massage?

Remedial massage is defined as the application of manual massage techniques to treat musculoskeletal disorders or dysfunctions in a systematic way. Remedial massage is designed to improve the function of the worker in the rehabilitation process and achieve progress in return to work outcomes.

Who can provide remedial massage services

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

  • registered by WorkSafe to provide remedial massage services
  • members or are eligible for membership at or above the required level* of one of the following associations:
    • Australian Association of Massage Therapists Ltd. (AAMT) - Diploma (Remedial Massage) Therapist
    • Association of Massage Therapists Ltd. – Senior level one
    • Australian Natural Therapists Association Ltd. (ANTA)– Member (A)
    • Australian Traditional Medicine Society Ltd (ATMS) – Accredited member
    • Institute of Registered Myotherapists of Australia (IRMA) – Level two
  • able to provide evidence of current professional indemnity insurance. Further information on WorkSafe's required level of professional indemnity insurance can be found on WorkSafe's application for registration to provide services to workers

* Required membership levels may be subject to change.

What if I am not a member of a recognised association

Remedial massage therapists who are not current members of a recognised association can apply to the following associations to have their eligibility for membership assessed:

  • Australian Natural Therapists Association Ltd (ANTA)

Provided that benchmark standards are met, the remedial massage therapists will be issued with a written endorsement of eligibility for membership*. The endorsement must accompany WorkSafe's application for registration to provide services to workers prior to approval as a service provider for injured workers.

WorkSafe can then issue all approved service providers with a provider number.

* This process may entail a cost, which is at the discretion of the association and is payable by the remedial massage therapist.

WorkSafe's expectations for the delivery of remedial massage services

WorkSafe expects that all remedial massage service providers 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 remedial massage services prior to commencement of treatment:
    • WorkSafe considers remedial massages 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 remedial massage service providers to provide referrals to other health services

How much the Agent can pay

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

What the Agent can pay for

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

  • treatment is for a work-related injury or illness
  • the provider is currently registered as an remedial massage therapist 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 remedial massage consultation provided on the same day to the same worker
    • the Agent will not pay for more than one initial consultation by the same provider or clinic unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example where a significant period of time has elapsed since the injured worker last received treatment
  • provision of more than one allied health service on the same day:
    • where a remedial massage therapist is registered with WorkSafe for more than one allied health service (for example, remedial massages and remedial massage), the Agent will not pay for the provision of more than one service type to the worker on the same day

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 their professional body of the suspension and the grounds on which the suspension has been issued.