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WorkCover changes for Hand and Upper Limb services in Western Australia

From July 2019, occupational therapists providing a range of hand and upper limb services under WorkCover in Western Australia should be aware of new guiding principles and applicable rules.

OTA’s WA Divisional Manager, Lea Rawlings, has been consulting interested members and working with WorkCover WA to clarify these changes.

The WorkCover WA Notice articulates the changes, which include:

  • A Treatment Management Plan (TMP) may be requested when the therapist is of the view that treatment will be required beyond ten consultations (or four weeks, whichever comes first). The TMP may be initiated by a therapist or requested by an approved insurer or self-insurer.  The WorkCover WA fee schedule has been amended to incorporate a new code - A022D Completion of a Treatment Management Plan. The ($86.30) fee is aligned to the rate for the physiotherapy treatment management plan. There is a TMP example.
  • The schedule and notice are explicit in advising that where a formal report (written or verbal) relating to a consultation has been sought by a specialist, GP or insurer, it is permissible to incorporate this into a consultation fee provided the time with the injured worker and the time spent on reporting are clearly identified and itemised on the invoice. An example is provided.
  • The notice clearly stipulates the application around consumables, reporting and consultations.

Importantly, the principles reference the Clinical Framework for the Delivery of Health Services. This evidence-based guide supported by OTA is designed to support healthcare practitioners delivering services to people with compensable injuries.

These changes have been introduced in response to considerable feedback regarding the ambiguity of the schedule as related to hand and upper limb services and extended treatments. It is not anticipated that changes of this sort will be initiated across other types of services provided by occupational therapists.

Both OTA and WorkCover WA are keen to stress that among the professions delivering services under the scheme, occupational therapists have a particularly solid reputation for working ethically and are most likely, therefore, to welcome this enhanced clarity.

OTA advises members working in this field to familiarise themselves with the notice, and especially the appropriate interpretation of the schedule and guiding principles. Further detail can be found on the WorkCover WA website in the resources and rates and fees section: https://www.workcover.wa.gov.au/resources/rates-fees-payments/

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