The Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (the amendment Bill) was passed by the Queensland Parliament, and received assent on 30 October 2019.
The amendments enhance the claims management process, rehabilitation and return to work and supports for psychologically injured Queensland workers in line with recommendations made by Professor David Peetz after his 2018 review of the scheme.
This article shares some of the key amendments, including early access to psychological support services, the definition of a psychological and/or psychiatric injury, referring workers to an accredited return to work program when their claim ceases, and time to lodge an application of compensation. Here's a short summary:
Early access to psychological support services
There are some changes to the way we manage psychiatric or psychological injuries.
While we are assessing a claim, WorkCover can help co-ordinate early psychological services recommended by treating doctors. This means your patient can get the treatment they need sooner to support their recovery. We will contact patients after their claim has been lodged to discuss available options.
Support services available until the claim is determined may include:
- General practitioner appointments
- Counselling or psychology sessions
- Psychiatry appointments
- Psychotropic medication
- Mediation services
- Costs associated with attendance at a Hospital Emergency Department or treatment (as an outpatient only)
WorkCover will pay for services outlined in the relevant table of costs and will cover costs associated with the injury provided by a registered or non-registered approved provider.
What do you need to do?
- Review the support services on offer to workers and implement an early treatment plan
- Providers submit invoices to WorkCover with a claim number (if available)
- Provide a workers' capacity medical certificate completed with as much information as possible including the workers name, phone number and employer, if a claim number is not available
You can find more information about psychological injuries here.
Additionally, the definition has changed for a psychological and/or psychiatric injuries. Psychological and/or psychiatric injuries sustained on, or after 30 October 2019, are to be arising out of, or in the course of employment where employment is a significant contributing factor to the injury. The amendments are not retrospective, and applies only to psychological and/or psychiatric injuries sustained on, or after 30 October 2019.
WorkCover now offers a program for workers whose claim has finished but who have not returned to work. This program, called Employment Connect, focuses on ways to improve a workers overall employability to help them get back into the workforce.
When a claim ends, we will discuss Employment Connect with the worker, who can then choose to take part in the program. The program, which can be tailored to individual needs may involve:
- Initial assessment with each worker to fully understand their needs
- Developing a goal-orientated plan with workers, tailored to their needs
- Varied and flexible services to realise each step of the plan and encourage workers to be empowered
- Support throughout the program with follow up after completion
The program is a commitment from us to continue to help workers on their recovery journey and improve employability.
You can learn more about Employment Connect on our website.
Time to lodge an application of compensation
The Act allows us to waive the time to lodge compensation (six months from the date of injury) for these reasons:
- Absence from Queensland
- Reasonable cause.
The new provision states WorkCover may waive the six month timeframe if —
- It is satisfied that a doctor, nurse practitioner or dentist has assessed the injury as resulting in total or partial incapacity for work; and
- The customer lodged the application within 20 business days after the first assessment
If you have any questions on these changes please contact your Relationship Manager or call 1300 362 128.