Workplace rehabilitation providers

Published: 12 August 2019
Last edited: 12 August 2019

What is a workplace rehabilitation provider?

A workplace rehabilitation provider helps workers recover at and return to work.

Workplace rehabilitation providers employ rehabilitation consultants who have the qualifications, experience and expertise to provide timely intervention services based on the assessed need of the worker and the workplace.

Workplace rehabilitation provider services

A referral can be made to a workplace rehabilitation provider for the following services:

  • workplace assessment – assessing a workplace and identifying duties that will support improvements in a worker’s capacity
  • developing, implementing and monitoring a plan to achieve an agreed recovery at work goal with the same employer or a different one
  • functional assessment – assessing a worker's capacity to perform duties safely
  • vocational assessment – assessing the worker’s skills, education and experience
  • accessing appropriate programs and services that support the worker to secure new employment.

The rehabilitation consultant will work with the worker, employer, doctor and insurer to achieve a recovery at work outcome. They may be engaged for a single service (for example, a workplace assessment) or for a program of work that will include a range of services to help the worker achieve a safe and durable recovery at work.

When a workplace rehabilitation provider may assist

Early intervention can significantly improve the worker’s recovery at work. A referral to a workplace rehabilitation provider may be considered to:

  • assess a worker’s capacity to perform duties safely
  • identify duties that will support improvements in a worker’s capacity
  • identify options to help reduce work demands (including providing advice on equipment, job or workplace modifications)
  • identify and address risks that may impact a worker’s recovery at/return to work outcome
  • implement and monitor a plan to achieve an agreed recovery at work goal.

If a worker is not able to return to their pre-injury duties a workplace rehabilitation provider may:

  • assess the worker’s skills, education and experience
  • identify suitable work options, provide job-seeking assistance and organise training (where appropriate)
  • access appropriate programs and services that support the worker to secure employment.

A workplace rehabilitation provider is not to be engaged for claims management tasks that should be completed by the insurer.

For more information about workplace rehabilitation providers, refer to this fact sheet.

Making a referral

The insurer is responsible for engaging the provider and paying for their services, however any other member of the support team may also request a referral to a workplace rehabilitation provider.

Insurers may utilise a workplace rehabilitation provider from their own panel, or use one the employer has nominated who is familiar with their workplace and the type of duties available.

While it is usually the employer or insurer who decides which provider will be used, the worker should be consulted on the decision and given the opportunity to refuse or request a change in provider.

A list of approved providers is located on the SIRA website.

The insurer is to discuss the provider with the employer, worker and nominated treating doctor (if appropriate). The insurer should ensure all parties understand the role of the workplace rehabilitation provider and what they can expect from the provider’s involvement.

Approving a rehabilitation plan

If the workplace rehabilitation provider is asked to develop, implement and monitor a rehabilitation plan in order to achieve an agreed recovery at work goal (for the same or a different employer), they will submit a rehabilitation plan for insurer approval.

The rehabilitation plan will include the plan goal, the activities required to achieve the goal and the proposed costs.

Prompt consideration of the plan is important to ensure the momentum of the rehabilitation intervention is maintained. Insurers are encouraged to review and either approve or reject the plan within five days to help with the timely provision of services. Early intervention remains the focus.

The engagement of a workplace rehabilitation provider does not lessen the insurer’s responsibility to manage and monitor the injury management plan. The insurer is to maintain regular communication and engagement with all stakeholders and ensure that the rehabilitation plan remains relevant and on track.

Complaints about a rehabilitation provider

If the employer or worker has concerns about a rehabilitation consultant, these should be raised with the insurer and addressed as per the insurer’s complaints handling process.

If the issue cannot be resolved and a change of rehabilitation consultant is required, a change of consultant within the existing workplace rehabilitation provider organisation should be considered. If this does not resolve the issue, then a change to a new workplace rehabilitation provider should be actioned.

A change to consultant or workplace rehabilitation provider should be actioned promptly to ensure continuity of service and momentum.

Complaints about a provider can be referred to SIRA on 13 10 50 or by email at contact@sira.nsw.gov.au.

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