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Allied health update June 2017

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WorkCover Queensland held our quarterly meeting with allied health associations on 28 June 2017. Associations were keen for us to try a webinar meeting for the first time to share information.

The meeting covered:

  • WorkCover’s regional visits
  • education campaigns
  • new allied health fee schedules effective 1 July
  • update on the return to work services panel
  • new return to work resources launched on our website for small business
  • premium news
  • upcoming events.

Associations in attendance included: Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA), Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA), Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA), Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association (ARPA), Hand Therapy Association Australia (HTAA), and Chiropractors' Association.

Below is a summary of what was discussed.

Regional visits

In May, our CEO Bruce Watson travelled to Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns, to speak to employers and stakeholders. He shared his personal story about how he become involved in health and safety, and the meetings were a good opportunity to hear from our workers, customers and key stakeholders.

Return to work services panel

The latest quarterly reporting was shared with providers on our return to work services panel and was a good time to provide an update on the existing tender.

WorkCover appointed a panel in February 2015 to provide return to work services to our customers. The tender is for a three-year period with the option of a 2-year extension. We will give at least three months’ notice as to whether we will exercise the 2-year extension. At this point in time, no decision has been made.

We have conducted some preliminary analysis of return to work outcomes where workers have been placed with a host employer.

These have typically been placed into two categories which are as part of our Recover@Work (R@W) program or a provider-sourced placement.

We have now identified a third category – worker-sourced host placement. This is where the worker identifies a suitable host employer for us to approach through existing contacts. It is perhaps no surprise we are seeing better return to work outcomes achieved when this occurs, with the worker feeling more empowered in their own rehabilitation.  

We will be approaching providers on our return to work services panel to deliver education sessions to our people with a different topic each quarter. This will complement other training that is delivered to our people over the year.

Allied health table of costs update

Thanks to all the providers, allied health associations and self-insurers, who gave feedback as part of the allied health table of costs review.

The allied health table of costs has now been published, effective 1 July 2017.

Here’s a summary of the changes:

  • Inclusion of ergonomic assessments under Workplace Evaluation / Assessment 300158
  • Introduction of new codes for Activities of Daily Living (includes Modified Barthel Index assessments) 300159 and Driving Assessment 300161
  • A new code has been created for Travel – Return To Work (RTW) 300091
  • The existing code for travel will now be used for Travel – Treatment 300092
  • Reasonable Incidental Expenses 300094 now include disposable wound management kits.

These changes will better reflect the range of services provided, and they will help ensure providers are paid consistently. Separating travel into two codes (Treatment and RTW) will assist with more accurate reporting.

Fees increases are in line with Brisbane Consumer Price Index (CPI) – March quarter which is 1.8%.

Musculoskeletal injuries campaign

Our musculoskeletal campaign concluded in May 2017. Our 12-month campaign, utilising the expertise of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, focused on a number of musculoskeletal topics with the most popular topics being hazardous manual tasks, common causes of musculoskeletal injuries, lifting, common myths about workplace injuries, manual handling, and office ergonomics.

As at 31 May 2017, the campaign articles had attracted almost 32,000 unique views. We are finalising our evaluation which includes reviewing content that has been accessed, and surveying our employers who received the information. We’d like to understand the value they perceived in the content, whether their knowledge had increased and whether they have acted or implemented any of the information into their organisation.

Return to work resources launched for employers

In late May, we launched a series of resources available on our website to help employers with the safe return to work of an injured worker. The information reiterates our role at WorkCover to work with all parties, including the treating medical and allied health provider, employer and worker to ensure everyone is aware of where the worker is with their rehabilitation and stay at, or return to work.

These resources include job task analyses and return to work checklists for a number of occupations covering health, education, construction and retail sectors. Some job roles have physical demand photos as well. These can be used by employers to identify what the worker is able to do to facilitate a stay at work/early return to work outcome. We will continue to build these resources for as many job roles as possible. We hope they will assist you when you set up a suitable duties plan or review suitable duties.

In May, we also held a Small Business Week webinar in conjunction with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. We shared health, safety and workers’ compensation information which included our new injury information pack.

Premium

From 1 July 2017, wages paid to apprentices during the course of their apprenticeship will no longer be included in your premium calculation—resulting in a discounted premium for those who employ apprentices. This discount does not apply to trainees.

Employers who pay their premium in full have previously been able to benefit from a 3% discount on their premium. From 1 July, we’re increasing this discount to 5%. To take advantage of the 5% discount this year, you need to declare your wages by 31 August, and pay your premium in full by 16 September. Your premium must be greater than $200 to qualify for the 5% discount.

Small business owners can continue to benefit from changes we made last year that reduced the minimum premium price from $290 to $200.

Lastly, Queensland employers can continue to enjoy the lowest average premium rate in the nation of $1.20 per $100 in wages.

Events

In April, representatives from WorkCover, including our CEO Bruce Watson, attended the North Qld Return to Work Conference in Townsville. The conference hosted a high profile line-up of speakers and case studies focused on injury management and how to influence better return to work outcomes. Approximately 300 people attended.

The Musculoskeletal Disorders Symposium will take place on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 July. Delegates can hear from industry leaders about the latest research, best practice approaches and the critical role leadership plays in musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) prevention.

Delegates will receive practical tools and resources from renowned national speakers, industry case studies and breakout sessions. The program also features interactive workshops focused on good work design, physical, psychosocial and chronic disease risk management and integration into business.

The Musculoskeletal Disorders Symposium is expected to attract up to 400 work health and safety professionals, workers and providers working with musculoskeletal disorders and hazardous manual tasks in the work environment.

The symposium features a diverse program of keynote presentations, industry case studies and practical workshops accompanied by an expo. The two-day event costs $180 plus GST. Sponsorship packages are also available to interested providers.

Other news

In other news, WorkCover agreed to review the pricing methodology applied to allied health fees in 2018.

Hand Therapy Association Australia will be meeting with hand surgeons in July to learn about the latest innovation in hand surgery and are reviewing the accreditation process for hand therapists.

The Chiropractic Association recently held Spinal Health Week that focused on the management of chronic back pain.

Last updated
30 June 2017