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Workers compensation regulation bulletin - Issue 62 (April 2019)

In this issue: Presidential decision on worker's entitlement to weekly payments of compensation, Workers Compensation Commission launches new website, Updated guidance for workplace rehabilitation providers, New guideline to help patients with work-related mental health conditions, Updated benefits guide available.

Presidential decision on worker's entitlement to weekly payments of compensation

His Honour Judge Phillips, President of the Workers Compensation Commission, has handed down a decision that addresses the entitlement of workers after 260 weeks of weekly payments of compensation.

Read the decision in the matter of RSM Building Services Pty Ltd v Hochbaum [2019] NSWWCCPD 15.

Workers Compensation Commission launches new website

The Workers Compensation Commission has launched a new website to better support lawyers, health professionals, workers, employers and insurers involved in a dispute.

The new site is device-friendly and has a user-focused, intuitive layout to make it easier to locate forms, decisions and legal resources.

Visitors to the website can access information on the Commission’s dispute resolution pathways, with detailed information about each step of the process.

The site includes:

  • a dedicated section for injured workers, containing information on how the Commission resolves disputes and an explanation of how disputes are assigned to the most appropriate pathway
  • improved search functionality to help find a decision, with a search tool to locate arbitrator, medical appeal and costs assessment decisions, and links to presidential decisions
  • a streamlined, direct link from the home page to lodge a dispute.

The new website reflects recent legislative changes to the workers compensation dispute resolution system in NSW, that positioned the Commission as the central body for resolving all disputes.

Forms and other online documents have been updated to accommodate the Commission’s new role of resolving work capacity disputes. Visit www.wcc.nsw.gov.au to explore the new site.

Updated guidance for workplace rehabilitation providers

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) has released updated guidance on the approval of workplace rehabilitation service providers in NSW.

The NSW Supplement to the Guide: Nationally consistent approval framework for workplace rehabilitation providers (NSW Supplement) includes legislative amendments and provides further clarification on:
  • the minimum qualifications for individuals to deliver workplace rehabilitation provider services in the NSW workers compensation system
  • the cost-effectiveness of travel code OR04-Travel
  • payment for 13-week confirmation of durable job placement.
The updated NSW Supplement is available from the SIRA website.

New guideline to help patients with work-related mental health conditions

SIRA has contributed to the development of a new clinical guideline to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of patients with work-related mental health conditions.

The Clinical guideline for the diagnosis and management of work-related mental health conditions in general practice responds to a need expressed by GPs for guidance in this area.

It also recognises GPs as primary care providers who play a significant role in facilitating and supporting worker recovery after work-related injury.The guideline resulted from a national collaboration by SIRA, the Australian Government Department of Employment and Comcare, Queensland Government Department of Industrial Relations, ReturntoWorkSA, and WorkCover WA.

The guideline recommendations have been approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council, and endorsed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).SIRA is supporting the next phase of the project by implementing the guidelines with GPs and other key system participants.

Updated benefits guide available

SIRA has released an updated Workers Compensation Benefits Guide that reflects indexed adjustments to workers compensation benefits applying from 1 April 2019.

The adjustments were notified in the Workers Compensation (Indexation) Order 2019 on the NSW Legislation website on 28 February 2019. SIRA advised directly-affected stakeholders by email on 1 March 2019.