SIRA bulletin - Issue 8

Have your say on allied health treatment and hearing service provision

SIRA is consulting on its revised workers compensation guidelines for allied health treatment and hearing service provision.

The revised guidelines provide SIRA’s approval framework for providers to deliver treatment and services that optimise health and work outcomes, while maintaining a sustainable workers compensation system.

The revised guidelines set:

  • conditions of approval with clear expectations and standards for providers
  • a robust regulatory framework to address provider non-compliance
  • approval requirements for hearing service providers
  • a three-year approval term to align with the terms of other SIRA-approved providers
  • a 12-month period for currently approved providers to transition to approval under the new guidelines.

SIRA encourages you to provide feedback on the revised guidelines on its website, before the consultation closes on 16 September 2020.

Have your say on the health outcomes framework

SIRA invites you to provide feedback on its health outcomes and reporting framework for the NSW workers compensation and compulsory third party (CTP) insurance schemes.

The new framework establishes:

  • a vision that “the workers compensation and CTP schemes regulated by SIRA deliver value-based care to injured persons covered by the schemes”
  • how the achievement of the vision will be defined and measured.

The framework will improve SIRA’s understanding of the health outcomes injured people experience in the personal injury schemes. Better data on injured people’s health status and outcomes is essential for determining how the schemes are going in delivering value-based healthcare. It will also help to improve the value of health care expenditure.

Have your say on the health outcomes framework on the SIRA website, before the consultation closes on 4 September 2020.

Promoting better clinical and case management

SIRA has commissioned a series of evidence reviews to promote better clinical and case management practice in the personal injury schemes.

The reviews will be supported by translation activities over the coming months and will inform policy, practice, and regulatory requirements where appropriate.

The rapid evidence reviews include:

  • Vocational programs – Evidence suggests that a delayed return to work results in a delayed recovery. This rapid review recommends that vocational programs should start early after injury or illness and be tailored to meet the person’s needs. This will help to support their rehabilitation and recovery.
  • Better pain management – Chronic pain affects many people who have been injured at work or on the roads. Instead of relying solely on medication, this rapid review suggests that health education and staying active can help to manage pain.

Better opioid management – Opioids are commonly used to treat pain; however, this review highlights the risks of using opioids for more than two weeks. The review recommends not using opioids where possible and taking appropriate safeguards where they must be used. For more information on high-risk medications and reducing potential risks, you can also look at the Medication management in the NSW personal injury schemes: Better practice guide.

Dispute Resolution Service updates

SIRA’s CTP Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) launched its new online dispute management system last month – a single system for dispute management. When using the Portal, applications take around 60 percent less time to complete and replies can be lodged within a quarter of the time.

More than 500 legal representatives from over 30 legal firms are already using the Portal. Legal firms can contact DRS to be onboarded into the Portal. If you are a legal representative in the schemes, please call 1800 347 788 (during business hours) or email [email protected] to request access.

The new Online User Portal Protocol can be found on the SIRA website.

CTP dispute in-person medical assessments and hearings

In-person DRS medical assessments have recommenced in July in a COVID-19 safe way. Assessments that were cancelled and deferred due to COVID-19 disruptions are being reviewed and rescheduled.

For claims assessments, DRS can make applications to the President of the Workers Compensation Commission for in-person hearing assessments if the matter involves exceptional circumstances and is necessary to proceed as an in-person hearing.

CTP disputes Claims Assessment Participant User Guide

People taking part in a DRS claims assessment conference via Skype for Business can also use the latest Participant User Guide which can help walk you through the process.

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