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Workers compensation bulletin - issue 41

In this edition: NSW workers compensation system annual performance report 2017 and recent Presidential decision.

NSW workers compensation system annual performance report 2017

SIRA has published the NSW workers compensation system annual performance report 2017.

The report provides a snapshot of the performance of the workers compensation system for 2016/17.

It also enables SIRA to report to system participants and the broader community on the performance of the system and to identify high level system trends. 

The report is structured on SIRA’s performance framework, reporting on performance measures of effectiveness, efficiency, viability, affordability, customer experience, and equity.

It also includes insights into the influencers around return to work for workers in the system.

SIRA uses data as evidence to inform, design and track system and service improvements so that we can measure system performance now and build further capability in achieving workers compensation objectives.

We welcome your feedback on the report. You can email your feedback to WCRSystemPerformance@sira.nsw.gov.au

Recent Presidential decision

On 28 March 2018, the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC) handed down its decision in Pacific National Pty Ltd v Baldacchino.

Background

In October 1999, Mr Baldacchino suffered an injury to his left knee. In 2016, he was diagnosed with post traumatic arthritis to his left knee and approval was sought for total left knee replacement surgery, which was disputed by the insurer.

An application to resolve a dispute was lodged with the WCC. In issue was whether a total knee replacement is an ‘artificial aid’ within the meaning of section 59A(6)(a) of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (1987 Act) and therefore excluded from the time limits under section 59A(1).

In the initial Arbitrator determination, it was found that the worker was entitled to the costs for the provision of a total left knee replacement because the medical expenses fell within the definition of an artificial aid under section 59A(6) of the 1987 Act. The insurer appealed the Arbitrator’s decision.

Decision

The appeal was unsuccessful. Deputy President Michael Snell rejected the appellant’s submissions. The total left knee replacement was an ‘artificial aid’ within the meaning of section 59A(6)(a) and accordingly exempt from the time limits for medical expenses under section 59A(1).

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