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Motor accidents bulletin - March 2017

In this edition: updates on CTP reform, new motor accidents guidelines, whole person impairment update, new motor accidents guide for allied health practitioners and service provider education.

Memo from the Executive Director

The Government has announced its final reform model for the NSW CTP Green Slip scheme.

This decision follows 12 months of extensive consultation with our stakeholders and the community. The result is a sensible and realistic reform proposal which will better assist injured road users to return to maximum health and employment, and provide for the needs of the more seriously injured.

Furthermore, the reforms are designed to achieve the following objectives:

  • Help when it’s needed – income benefits and medical treatment costs will be paid to injured people shortly after lodging their claim.
  • Help where it’s needed – 57% of total premiums will be paid out as benefits to injured people compared to only 45% now, and benefits will be focused on those with more serious injuries.
  • Reducing premiums – a reduction in the average NSW Green Slip premium by over $100.
  • Reducing fraud – deterring and detecting fraudulent and exaggerated claims.

The new scheme will provide defined benefits for all injured road users for up to 6 months regardless of fault, while providing additional benefits for those who are not at fault in an accident. A Bill has been introduced to Parliament.

I’d like to thank all our stakeholders for their contributions and support throughout the reform process. This important piece of work wouldn’t have been possible without their collaboration and thought-provoking, constructive feedback.

For more information, visit the SIRA website.

In other news, we moved to our new office in the McKell Building last month to be closer to our DFSI colleagues. The business units who made the move were:

  • Motor Accidents Insurance Regulation and its Claims Advisory Service
  • Workers and Home Building Compensation Regulation

Our new address is: Level 6, 2-24 Rawson Place, Haymarket NSW 2000.

Andrew Nicholls
Executive Director
Motor Accidents Insurance Regulation
State Insurance Regulatory Authority

New motor accidents guidelines released

The new motor accident guidelines: claims handling and medical (treatment, rehabilitation and care) were released in January 2017.

Replacing the previous 'claims handling guidelines' and the 'treatment, rehabilitation and attendant care guidelines', the new guidelines promote an integrated approach to claims handling and risk based regulation.

The new guidelines are being used by all NSW CTP insurers for current and new claims from 1 January 2017. They intend to improve the claims experience, minimise disputes and focus on early treatment and recovery.

Board makes additional recommendations on scheme reform

The government considered the results of additional consultation on how to address insurer ‘super profits’ and improve claims handling and dispute resolution in the NSW Motor Accidents CTP Scheme.

Minister Dominello asked the SIRA Board to conduct further consultation and make recommendations to government on the key themes that had emerged in earlier feedback.

A reference panel comprising SIRA Board director, Trevor Matthews, and independent directors, Dr Abby Bloom and Dr Graeme Innes AM, released discussion papers and invited feedback in November 2016.

The reference panel also consulted with a range of stakeholders, including insurers, professional bodies representing actuaries, solicitors and barristers, health practitioners, academic injury experts, and groups representing motorists, people living with severe injuries and their carers.

The reference panel delivered two reports with recommendations to the government, which were considered in the final reform model.

We've moved!

SIRA business units and staff located at 580 George Street have moved to the McKell Building in Haymarket.

Business units and SIRA staff who made the move are Motor Accidents Insurance Regulation and its Claims Advisory Service and Workers and Home Building Compensation Regulation.

Part of the strategic vision for the Department of Finance Services and Innovation (DFSI) includes minimising office space and building a flexible working environment. Our move to McKell will help deliver this vision.

If you would like to visit us in person, our new address is: Level 6, 2-24 Rawson Place, Haymarket NSW 2000.

Find additional contact details for each of our business units on the SIRA website.

Whole person impairment update

The following guidance notes were published for use by medical assessors from December 2016:

  • Guidance note 23 - Nervous system impairment: assessment of mental status and integrative functioning using the clinical dementia rating.
  • Guidance note 24 - The urinary and reproductive system: assessment of incontinence.

The following guidance note was updated and republished for use by medical assessors from December 2016:

  • Guidance note 6 - The spine: assessment of dsymetria.

For further details visit the SIRA website.

WPI enquiries

The WPI email enquiry assists stakeholders to:

  • understand the methodology of WPI assessment
  • interpret the guidelines that relate to WPI assessment:
    • AMA 4 Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th Edition
    • MAA Permanent Impairment Guidelines, 1 October 2007

Should you wish to make an enquiry, email WPI enquiry.

New motor accidents guide for allied health practitioners released

The new motor accidents guide for allied health practitioners and forms were released last week.

The guide was developed to facilitate effective communication between allied health practitioners and CTP Green Slip insurers, so that people injured in motor vehicle accidents obtain appropriate, cost effective treatment leading to the best possible outcomes.

Over the next three months the new allied health recovery request will replace the notice of commencement and review forms in the CTP scheme. The allied health recovery request was first launched in the workers compensation system late last year. All allied health practitioners requesting approval to deliver treatment services are required to complete and submit their request to the insurer managing the claim.

Email us for more information.

Service provider education

SIRA continues to provide training throughout the year for health service providers working in the NSW Motor Accidents CTP scheme. An online introduction to providing allied health services in the NSW Motor Accidents CTP Scheme is now available through the Personal Injury Education Foundation.

SIRA also offers six workshops for insurers and legal professionals about the assessment of permanent impairment in the NSW Motor Accidents CTP scheme.

A different body system is covered in each workshop: upper extremity impairment; spinal impairment; lower extremity impairment; mental and behavioural disorders impairment; ear, nose and throat and related structure impairment; and nervous system impairment

The dates of the workshops for 2017 have been finalised and are now available on the SIRA website.