Social work and Accredited Mental Health Social Work services policy

Guidelines for providing Social work and Accredited Mental Health Social Work (AMHSW) services to injured workers.

What WorkSafe will pay for

Under Victorian workers compensation legislation, WorkSafe (either directly, or through one of its authorised agents) can pay the reasonable costs of Social Work or Accredited Mental Health Social Work (AMHSW) services provided by an approved AMHSW provider where required as a result of a work-related injury or illness or where the worker* is entitled to provisional payments on a claim that includes a mental injury.

AMHSWs have been accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) as having specialist knowledge and skills to provide Focused Psychological Strategies (FPS) in the prevention and treatment of mental health conditions.

Injured workers

All references to injured workers on this page may also apply to workers who are entitled to provisional payments.

*Eligible Victorian volunteers are also entitled to provisional payments.

Who can provide social work and AMHSW services to injured workers

Agents can only pay for social work or AMHSW services provided by healthcare professionals who meet the following requirements and have been approved by WorkSafe Victoria:

Requirements for Social workers

  • registered as a Social Worker by WorkSafe and able to provide evidence of current professional indemnity insurance
    • refer to WorkSafe's application for registration to provide social work services to workers
  • provide proof of full current membership of the AASW

Requirements for Accredited mental health social workers

  • registered as a social worker and approved as an AMHSW by WorkSafe and able to provide evidence of current professional indemnity insurance.
    • refer to WorkSafe's application for registration to provide social work services to workers
  • provide proof of full current membership of the AASW
  • provide proof of current accreditation as an AMHSW with AASW
  • reviewed WorkSafe's Health provider tool kit
  • signed the WorkSafe AMHSW declaration to provide services in line with the service standards for the delivery of AMHSW services

WorkSafe expectations for the delivery of social work and AMHSW services

WorkSafe expect social workers and AMHSWs providing services to injured workers as part of the Victorian Workers' Compensation Scheme to integrate the principles of the Clinical Framework for the Delivery of Health Services (Clinical Framework) into their daily practice.

The Clinical Framework is based on the following principles:

  1. measure and demonstrate the effectiveness of treatment
  2. adopt a biopsychosocial approach
  3. empower the person to manage their injury
  4. implement goals focused on optimising function, participation and return to work
  5. base treatment on best available research evidence.

Referral and reporting requirements

WorkSafe considers in its legislation social work and AMHSW to be a referred service; therefore a medical practitioner must provide a referral prior to commencement of treatment. Prior approval from agents is not required for social work or AMHSW services.

WorkSafe does not allow social workers or AMHSW's to provide referrals to other health services.

Following the completion of an initial 10 hours of AMHSW services, and after each subsequent block of 10 hours service, the provider is expected to submit an update to agents as outlined in the service standards.

The written update should outline:

  • outcomes and progress to date
  • the clinical reasoning for ongoing service delivery
  • expected outcomes/goals for ongoing treatment
  • likely number of sessions/duration of treatment still required
  • level of consultation with the referring medical practitioner and treating team.

WorkSafe have developed a recommended template:

How much agents can pay

Please refer to WorkSafe's Social work and AMHSW fee schedule.

What can agents pay for

The Agent can pay the reasonable costs of social work or AMHSW services:

  • required as a result of a work-related injury or illness upon referral from a medical practitioner
  • that are reasonable, necessary or appropriate in the circumstances
  • focused on achieving return to health and/or return to work outcomes as per the Clinical Framework
  • provided by a service provider currently approved by WorkSafe as either a social worker or an AMHSW

Family counselling

Social workers and AMHSW's can also provide family counselling services. For additional information see the Family counselling policy and fee schedule.

WorkSafe's invoice requirements 

Please refer to the how to invoice WorkSafe guidelines. It is recommended that invoices be submitted on a regular basis to the agent.

What agents will not pay for

Any treatment provided that is not aligned with this policy or the Service Standards for AHMSW.

Non-attendance/cancellation:

  • Agents will not pay for appointments where the worker cancels or does not attend.

More than one consultation on the same day:

  • Agents will not pay for more than one social work or AMHSW consultation provided on the same day to the same worker.

Provision of more than one allied health service on the same day:

  • Where a social worker/AMHSW is registered by WorkSafe for more than one allied health service (for example, social workers and remedial massage), the agents 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.

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 agent or a self-insurer (as the case may be) before the services are provided.