An approved workplace rehabilitation provider can assist the employer and injured worker if there are problems with the return to work process. Workplace rehabilitation providers are commonly health professionals such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists or psychologists who have expertise in addressing the physical, psychological and/or workplace barriers that may prevent an injured worker returning to work.
Workplace rehabilitation providers are approved by WorkCover WA and have the qualifications, experience and expertise appropriate to provide timely intervention with services based on the assessed need of the worker and the workplace.
When should a workplace rehabilitation provider be engaged?
- The worker is unable to carry out pre-injury duties and there is a need to identify alternative or modified duties with either the same employer, or with a new employer.
- There is a need to complete a practical assessment of a worker’s capacity to return to work (for example, when there are conflicting opinions of the worker’s physical or psychological capacity to return to work; or there are reports of ongoing symptoms when the worker is at work).
- The worker is experiencing problems associated with returning to work (for example, the worker may be anxious about returning to a particular work area or job).
- Modifications are required to the workplace, or aids and equipment are required to assist the worker return to work (for example, this may be required where an injured worker is restricted while recovering from major surgery or there are multiple injuries).
- There is a need to assess the suitability of a return to work program with a new employer if this is identified by the injured worker, employer and treating medical practitioner as the new rehabilitation goal.
- There is a need to determine whether retraining should be provided.
Who pays for a workplace rehabilitation provider?
Workplace rehabilitation providers are approved by WorkCover WA and their costs are covered by the Prescribed Amount in every workers’ compensation claim. Costs may vary according to the services they provide, but the maximum amount they can charge is determined by WorkCover WA and reviewed annually.
How do I get a referral to a workplace rehabilitation provider?
An injured worker, employer or treating medical practitioner can initiate a referral to a workplace rehabilitation provider - see the list of Approved Workplace Rehabilitation Providers (PDF - 100kb). However, to comply with their conditions of approval, the provider must ensure all parties agree to the referral for rehabilitation services.
A referral may be completed on the Workplace Rehabilitation Referral Form (Word - 200kb) or may be made on the worker’s First or Progress Medical Certificate.
Note: Injured workers have the right to choose their workplace rehabilitation provider, even when the referral is made by a medical practitioner or employer.
What does a workplace rehabilitation provider do?
A workplace rehabilitation provider will deliver an appropriate professional return to work program in a timely and cost-effective manner.
- When the referral is received, the rehabilitation provider completes an assessment to determine if further rehabilitation services or a specific service would be of benefit.
- If the assessment indicates that rehabilitation services are recommended, the rehabilitation provider should discuss the findings of the assessment with the employer, the injured worker and the treating medical practitioner.
- If agreed, the recommended services are then described in a service delivery plan, which must be signed by the worker and agreed by the employer and the treating medical practitioner before the services can be provided. A service delivery plan is not required when a single rehabilitation service is to be provided.
- The rehabilitation provider should give a copy of the agreed plan to the injured worker, employer and treating medical practitioner. All parties should receive regular information about the costs incurred and the anticipated costs of the worker’s rehabilitation services. The insurer should also receive a copy of the service plan; in most instances, the insurer will provide approval for payment of rehabilitation expenses as part of the claim.
Note: In all circumstances, employers should remain the workplace decision maker regarding return to work activities. Resolution of issues not related to the return to work program and the worker’s rehabilitation generally should not become a part of the rehabilitation provider’s involvement.
What rehabilitation services may be recommended?
Rehabilitation providers can provide any of the following services in helping workers return to work:
- support counselling
- vocational counselling
- purchase of aids and appliances
- case management
- retraining criteria assistance
- specialised retraining program assistance
- training and education
- workplace activities
- placement activities
- assessments (functional capacity, vocational, ergonomic, job demands, workplace and aids and appliances)
- general reports