The following working groups have been established under the HWCA Work Plan 2007-2009:
- Definition of a Worker Working Group - Cross-border Coverage of Expatriates
- HWCA Study Tours
- National Environmental Scanning Network (HWCA Jurisdictional Scan - April 2008)
- National Research Network
- National Self Insurance Working Group (National Self-Insurance Harmonisation Projects)
- provide a robust approval system across participating workers’ compensation authorities;
- enable the objective measurement of provider performance against the Conditions of Approval; and
- establish practice principles designed to deliver high quality workplace rehabilitation services to workers, employers and insurers.
Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers
In June 2008, the HWCA endorsed the introduction of a Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers from 1st July 2010. Comcare, WorkSafe Victoria, WorkCover South Australia, WorkCover Western Australia, WorkCover Tasmania, WorkCover New South Wales, Northern Territory Workers Compensation and ACT Workers Compensation have adopted the Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers. (Queensland is not currently party to the framework as it does not approve Workplace Rehabilitation Providers.)
The Nationally Consistent Approval Framework is intended to:
For more information about the approval framework and process refer to the Guide: Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers.
Approved Workplace Rehabilitation Providers
Approved workplace rehabilitation providers are organisations approved by a workers compensation authority to offer specialised services to help injured workers to return to work. They have the qualifications, experience and expertise appropriate to provide services in accordance with the following definition based on NOHSC (1995) definition:
"Workplace rehabilitation is a managed process involving early intervention with appropriate, adequate and timely services based on assessed need, and which is aimed at maintaining injured or ill employees in, or returning them to, suitable employment."
Becoming an Approved Workplace Rehabilitation Provider
Organisations seeking to be an approved workplace rehabilitation provider will submit an application to the jurisdiction in which approval is sought demonstrating how they will meet the Conditions of Approval. The Conditions of Approval and the application process is outlined in the Guide: Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers.
The application process is also detailed in the Application for Approval as a Workplace Rehabilitation Provider form. (Note: if you are having trouble viewing this form, please right-click the link, save the PDF to your computer and open it in Adobe reader). Applicants should refer to the websites of the workers’ compensation jurisdictions for information about specific jurisdictional application requirements.
If the application is approved, the provider is granted a three year Instrument of Approval.
Renewal of Approval
If the provider seeks to renew their Instrument of Approval they are required to submit a renewal application to the workers compensation authority in which renewal of approval is sought. The application is due 31st December before the year that their approval period is due to expire. The renewal application process is detailed in the Guide: Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers and in the Renewal Application for Approval as a Workplace Rehabilitation Provider form.(Note: if you are having trouble viewing this form, please right-click the link, save the PDF to your computer and open it in Adobe reader).
Application fees will be charged and applicants should refer to the websites of the workers’ compensation jurisdictions for information about the applicable fees.
Evaluation of Approved Workplace Rehabilitation Providers
As part of the Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers, providers may be required to undergo a workers compensation authority initiated on-site evaluation. During their three years of approval the provider is also required to undertake annual self-evaluations.
The Workplace Rehabilitation Providers Evaluation Manual and the Evaluation tool builds on the information contained in the Guide: Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers and provides workplace rehabilitation providers with guidance, information and tools to conduct self-evaluations and participate in evaluations initiated by the workers compensation authority. The Evaluation Manual must be used in conjunction with the Guide.
Return to work rates
The workers' compensation jurisdictions have agreed to measure return to work for same and new employer separately and agreed to a 13-week durability of employment measure. 13-week durability of employment was defined by HWCA as follows:
"13 weeks after the workplace rehabilitation provider determines in agreement with the insurer (agent) the employment placement is likely to be durable, either the provider or insurer will make contact with the worker and/or employer to confirm durability of employment placement. It is at this point the 13 week return to work durability measure is made."
Each jurisdiction will initially set their own return to work rates however HWCA are committed to setting national return to work rates and durability measures as phase 2 of this initiative.
HWCA and the working group are committed to meeting the objectives of a Nationally Consistent Approval Framework. It is understood that issues may arise when adopting a single provider approval model and as such a review of the framework is therefore proposed 18 months after implementation and then every three years.
Statement of Agreement
The Statement of Agreement is a voluntary statement of intent and contains a commitment by the workers compensation authorities to the Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers. However, nothing in this Agreement is legally or contractually binding, nor is it enforceable in any court, mediation or arbitration.
Bio-Psychosocial Screening Working Group
The Biopsychosocial Injury Management Position Paper outlines the HWCA and HCTP position on a biopsychosocial approach to injury management. Also included are a harmonised glossary of relevant biopsychosocial terms and relevant risk assessment tools, both of which will be progressively updated.