The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) is carefully monitoring Commonwealth and State Government announcements and health advice relating to coronavirus (COVID-19). We are also closely monitoring the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on businesses and our customers.
SIRA has confirmed that insurers have business continuity plans in place to ensure normal business operations are maintained. We will continue to closely monitor and engage with insurers as the situation develops to ensure the CTP insurance services provided are maintained and any impact to injured people, policy holders and other stakeholders is minimised.
Internally, our Crisis Management Team has been meeting regularly and business continuity planning has been underway for some time. As a result, we are well-equipped to manage several scenarios should they occur.
Please read below for important updates in relation to:
- access to telehealth services
- Certificates of fitness
- SIRA's Dispute Resolution Service
- screening protocols for independent medical examinations and other assessments
- SIRA-funded programs - support for injured people and employers.
Access to telehealth services
COVID-19 has the potential to impact face-to-face treatment services, so we encourage the use of telehealth facilities where possible. Telehealth services require pre-approval from the insurer and must be consented to by all parties.
Practitioners must consider the appropriateness of this mode of service delivery on a case-by-case basis. They are responsible for delivering telehealth services in-line with the principles of professional conduct and the relevant practice guidelines, and ensuring all care is taken to maintain the safety, appropriateness and effectiveness of the service.
Certificates of fitness
Insurers and practitioners are reminded the legislation allows certificates of fitness to be issued for periods greater than 28 days. Longer certificates reduce the risk for injured people and GPs potentially being exposed to the coronavirus.
Insurers are encouraged to proactively discuss longer certificates with all parties where appropriate.
SIRA's Dispute Resolution Service
SIRA's Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) is focused on the safety and wellbeing of injured people, our stakeholders, assessors and employees. The following provisions have been put in place to manage the current situation:
- Where possible, DRS determination of disputes will be held by teleconference or ‘on the papers’ to reduce in-person contact.
- Stakeholders are asked to correspond with DRS electronically (including the lodgement of applications), rather than attend the DRS offices in-person. Documents can be scanned and emailed to email@example.com.
- For disputes currently in progress, anyone feeling unwell or who has been overseas in the past 14 days is requested not to attend their assessment and advise DRS as soon as possible.
- DRS will contact injured people with upcoming medical assessments. If there is any concern about their health or exposure to COVID-19, DRS will cancel the appointment and reschedule to another time.
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to our customers and stakeholders as COVID-19 response planning progresses. If you have any questions or concerns you can contact DRS on 1800 347 788.
Screening protocols for independent medical examinations and other assessments
Insurers are encouraged to work with providers to develop and implement suitable screening protocols for independent medical examinations and other meetings or assessments requiring face-to-face contact during this time. Video may be appropriate to use in some cases.
Insurers should also have regard to an injured person’s broader health conditions as well as their compensable injury, including any concerns a person may have regarding travel.
SIRA funded programs - additional support for injured people and employers
We recognise injured people and employers may need additional support to manage recovery at work during the COVID-19 pandemic. SIRA-funded programs can help:
CTP JobCover placement program
- For employers who have employed an injured person using the JobCover placement program (JCPP) but need to scale back or close their workplace temporarily due to COVID-19, the duration of the JCPP for the person will be increased to accommodate that period of change
- Employers should keep a record of the period of changed operations to support their claim for the incentive payments as their business re-opens
CTP Recover at Work Assist Program
If a business using the Recover at work assist program to support an injured person scales back or closes due to COVID-19, the period of the program remaining can be resumed once the period of changed business operations is over and the person returns to work on their upgrading plan.
Contact us for support
Our team is here to support you at this challenging time. You can contact us Monday to Friday between 8.30 am and 5.00 pm.
Phone: 1300 656 919
Dispute Resolution Service (DRS)
Phone: 1800 347 788
Stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 developments.