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SIRA bulletin - Issue 17

Updated guidance for medico-legal examinations

This updated guidance is issued by the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) to insurers and injured person's legal representatives regarding medicolegal examinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This should be read in conjunction with the current SIRA guidance published on the website.

  1. Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order 2021 applies to indoor areas of premises where medico-legal examinations/assessments are conducted. While the Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order 2021 doesn’t apply to premises used for the purpose of providing health services, medicolegal examinations/assessments are not expressly included as “health services”, as defined.
  2. If an in-person examination/assessment is determined to proceed, given the current transmission rate in Greater Sydney, both the injured person and health practitioner should agree for the examination to proceed. Before a decision to proceed is made, consideration should also be given to whether the examination/assessment is likely to impact the injured person’s safety, health, and wellbeing ( see point 3 of the current SIRA Guidance) and the impact of any delay if it were not to proceed.
  3. In compliance with the Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order 2021, medico-legal assessors, claimants, and other attendees (interpreter or support person) must wear a face mask during the in-person assessment, which may be removed if it is necessary for the proper assessment of the claimant. The claimant must resume wearing the mask as soon as practicable after that aspect of the assessment ends.

    Note: Wearing of masks will be complied with until the Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order 2021 is amended or withdrawn.
  4. It may be appropriate for medicolegal examinations to be postponed in instances where:
    • the matter is not urgent (see point 1 of the current SIRA Guidance)
    • an appropriate method of examination is not available
    • an examination is likely to cause an unreasonable risk to the injured person and/or health practitioner’s safety, health and wellbeing; or
    • where the injured person and insurer agree that the examination should not proceed.
  5. It is expected that no or limited in-person, psychiatric examinations/assessment will take place in the Greater Sydney area until the Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order 2021 is amended or withdrawn.

Note: A mask would reduce non-verbal communication and it would be difficult for the Medical Assessor and claimant to properly communicate for the duration of an assessment/examination with face masks on.

This advice will be updated regularly.

Links:

Workers compensation fees orders in 2021

On 1 January 2021, the following updated workers compensation fees orders take effect:

  • Workers Compensation (Hearing Aid Fees) Order 2021
  • Workers Compensation (Psychology and Counselling Fees) Order 2021
  • Workers Compensation (Physiotherapy, Chiropractic and Osteopathy Fees) Order 2021
  • Workers Compensation (Massage Therapy Fees) Order 2021
  • Workers Compensation (Medical Practitioner Fees) Order 2021
  • Workers Compensation (Surgeon Fees) Order 2021
  • Workers Compensation (Orthopaedic Surgeon Fees) Order 2021

All updated workers compensation fees are now available in the section titled 'Current health-related fees'.

Stay updated

Our offices will reopen on Monday 11 January 2021.

You can continue to contact SIRA’s Customer Experience team during this period (excluding public holidays) on 1300 656 919 for any CTP enquiries or on 13 10 50 for workers compensation and home building enquiries. You can also email us at contact@sira.nsw.gov.au.

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