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WCC and SIRA updates

  • Newsletter Article
  • Published 09.04.2020

New Guidelines for AMS examinations

The NSW Workers Compensation Commission released new Guidelines on 2 April 2020 addressing how Approved Medical Specialist (“AMS”) examinations will proceed in light of the public health risks associated with COVID-19.

The main points of note are:

  1. AMS examinations for psychiatric/psychological disorders will be via video assessment, unless a party objects. If there is an objection a teleconference will be held to resolve the issue (which may include putting the matter on a “pending” list for a face-to-face examination once the current restrictions are lifted).
  2. AMS examinations for all other body systems will be listed for a teleconference. At the teleconference, the Arbitrator will attempt to bring the parties to a resolution of the medical dispute. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the Arbitrator may:
  • determine the medical dispute;
  • refer the dispute to an AMS for a video assessment; or
  • have the matter put on the “pending” list for a face-to-face examination.

A number of other issues are addressed in the Guidelines, including a procedure for allowing face-to-face examinations in urgent cases.

A copy of the Workers Compensation Commission’s Bulletin detailing the changes can be found here.

Telehealth services

SIRA has introduced new arrangements for telehealth services. Consultations between workers and health professionals can now occur over the telephone with pre-approval from the insurer.

SIRA has noted that insurers are to consider the appropriateness of telehealth services on a case-by-case basis.

The 2020 Fees Orders have been updated to include telehealth as a delivery method for medical practitioners and allied health professionals.

Reporting of COVID-19 workers compensation claims

SIRA is now sharing data related to COVID-19 workers compensation claims. A link to the data is here. The data is updated daily by SIRA.