Am I covered for Physiotherapy under Workcover?
Workcover (WorkSafe Victoria) is a compensation scheme for all Victorian employees in the unfortunate event of a workplace injury. There are similar insurance schemes within each state. These allow you to receive medical services, compensation and rehabilitation while recovering from your workplace injury. Access to these medical services is vital, as the vast majority (89%) of workplace claims are due to injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. Of these, the common causes are traumatic injury to the joint, ligament or tendon; wounds, musculoskeletal and connective tissue disease; and fractures.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of medical services that you may be able to access with a workcover injury, including Physiotherapy.
What to do with a workcover injury?
First, don’t panic!
If it is a serious incident, your employer will report this to Workcover and complete an incident form with details of your injury. This will ensure you are eligible for any rehabilitation and medical services that are included as part of the compensation scheme. Your employer may need to pay what is known as the Employer Liability. This is equivalent to $744 (current excess) of reasonable medical and related expenses. While your employer is paying for the excess, you may be required to pay for the medical appointments upfront and have your employer reimburse you afterward, or your service provider may be able to bill your employer directly.
Medical treatment is an essential component of recovery after your injury. It is important that you access healthcare services early on to fast-track your recovery and return to work. This early intervention is key in preventing the injury from deteriorating or having a lasting effect on your life.
You may need to take some time off work due to your injury. In this case, you will need a Certificate of Capacity. This details what sorts of activities you are able to complete at the workplace, and what activities should be avoided at this stage. You must go to your GP to receive your first Certificate. Another key function of this certificate is to determine the suitability of tasks and duties at your workplace, and whether things like reduced hours or extra assistance are needed. Your Physiotherapist may complete subsequent Certificates. We are well placed to do so as you will likely see us most frequently during your recovery, and we can modify your certificates as needed.
How can I claim?
1. Complete a Worker’s Injury Claim Form with all injuries related to your compensation claim. This may be found on the Workcover website, and is submitted to your employer.
2. Expect a decision from the Workcover Agent within 28 days of receiving the claim from your employer. Your health is the most important thing, so you are allowed to go see your GP or a Physiotherapist while waiting for claim approval. While this is in progress, your employer is liable for the first $744 (current) of your medical services.
Who is Involved?
- You may have a Return to Work Co-ordinator at your workplace: They will assist you and your employer in returning to your previous duties as safely as possible. This will involve consulting with all involved parties and monitoring your recovery.
- Case Manager: This person will be the primary contact for all involved parties, and will work alongside Workcover Victoria to manage your claim and entitlement to any medical entitlements
- Your health practitioner: You are able to choose which health practitioners you would like to work with to facilitate your recovery and return to work. Physiotherapists are well trained in assessing and treating workplace injuries.Physiotherapy
So where does Physiotherapy fall into with all this?
As outlined above, you are encouraged to see a GP as well as a Physiotherapist for any musculoskeletal or physical injuries. Your employer may cover initial medical expenses during this time. There is no referral required to start seeing a Physiotherapist for rehabilitation, so you may be able to see both concurrently. This early intervention immediately after your injury may reduce the likelihood of further complications down the track, and speed up your recovery.
Your first Physiotherapy appointment.:
- Bring your claim details – your Physiotherapist will need your claim number, date of injury, insurer and case managers details. These ensure a Physiotherapy Management Plan can be sent to your insurer once they have thoroughly assessed you and decided on a course of action.
- Discuss your workplace duties. Your Physiotherapist will tailor a comprehensive rehabilitation program for you in order to achieve your goals. Understanding these duties is essential in developing your program. This will also be useful in completing the Certificate of Capacity that you will need prior to returning to work.
- Do your homework! You will only see your health practitioners for a few hours a week at most. Therefore, the rehabilitation program will include a home exercise plan. This ensures you are making the most of your visits, and results in quicker return to your full duties.
If you have had a workplace injury that requires Physiotherapy services, make an appointment with us at Total Physiocare Heidelberg, Reservoir, Footscray, Kew and Brunswick. We offer fast-stream access to orthopaedic surgeons should you require any surgical consultation, as well as access to a wide range of services like Exercise Physiology and Hydrotherapy. These services are beneficial in reducing your recovery time, enabling you to return to work as soon as safe to do so.