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Working with WorkCover

WorkCover provides support to a worker who has been injured at work to help them recover and make a quick and safe return to work.

Health providers play a vital role in this process and are responsible for:

  • providing essential emergency and clinical care to the worker
  • managing the worker's recovery and rehabilitation
  • providing proper medical supervision during the return to work program, which can be with their existing employer or a host employer.

As a health provider, you can help a worker return to work by focusing on what they can do (within the limitations of their injury), rather than what they can't.

Treatment we cover

If we accept a claim, WorkCover will cover the cost of approved and reasonable medical treatment related to the injury. The worker must provide us with a work capacity certificate to ensure medical treatment and compensation is paid while they are injured. If the worker withdraws their claim, or elects to halt their claim at the reporting stage of claim determination (so the claim is registered for report purposes only), then payment for treatment is the responsibility of the worker.

We will only approve treatment provided by a registered or non-registered approved provider. The table of costs lists these providers. The Act uses the term 'registered', to refer to those professions covered by a health registration board.

A scheduled fee exists for most services however some are 'fee by negotiation'. These services must be approved by WorkCover before you proceed with treatment.

Why returning to work is important

The research paper, 'Realising the health benefits of good work', (April 2010, Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine) highlights that being off work for long periods of time can significantly reduce the likelihood of a worker ever returning to work and can have a negative effect on the worker and their family.

The paper indicates work plays an important role in any rehabilitation process because 'doing' promotes recovery. If a person is off work for:

  • 20 days, the chance of ever getting back to work is 70 per cent
  • 45 days, the chance of ever getting back to work is 50 per cent
  • 70 days, the chance of ever getting back to work is 35 per cent.

We work with you, the worker and their employer to encourage early return to work. The activities may vary depending on their injury, but the aim is to keep them working. Keeping the worker at work or getting them back to work soon after an injury can reduce:

  • disruption to the employer and the workplace
  • disruption to the worker's personal and work life
  • the employers staff turnover
  • the employer's claims and premium cost
  • the chance of the worker being off work for long periods of time.

We encourage open communication and working together to develop a suitable duties program or, if necessary, find a host employer for the worker. The goal is to return them to their pre injury role.

A worker may receive increased benefits when they return to work on suitable duties. If we can't find suitable duties or a host employer, the worker will continue to be paid as if they are not able to work at all.

Last updated
09 October 2019

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