The role of osteopaths in the Victorian WorkSafe Scheme
Workers injured at work in Victoria are approved to access compensable injury management services that are paid for by the worker’s compensation scheme. WorkSafe Victoria.
Osteopaths are treating practitioners considered to run ‘primary contact services’ for injury management. Practitioners work with clients to progress early or timely return to the pre-injury workplace and role wherever possible, in line with the nationally endorsed Clinical Framework for the Delivery of Health Services.
Under this framework, all osteopaths when providing workers’ compensation services:
- Measure the outcomes of clinical management
- Adopt a biopsychosocial approach for injury and pain management
- Focus on empowering injured workers to manage their injury
- Develop functional treatment goals focused on return to work
- Base clinical management treatment on best available evidence.
Osteopaths also have a coordination, communication and reporting role in the Victorian WorkSafe scheme. As practitioners they identify risks of prolonged client absence from work and communicate client risks, assessment findings and intervention plans with scheme case managers whenever requested or needed. Osteopaths also work with other treating practitioners involved in client management when necessary for case coordination. The aim of this coordination is to encourage clients to access the right clinical intervention to prevent absence from work at the earliest point in time.
Referral from a medical practitioner is not required for provision of osteopathic services. WorkSafe considers osteopathy to be a primary contact service. A referral from a medical practitioner is therefore not required.
How much WorkSafe will pay
WorkSafe will pay the reasonable costs of osteopathic services up to the maximum amount, as detailed in the WorkSafe Osteopathy services fee schedule.
What WorkSafe will pay for
WorkSafe will pay the reasonable costs of osteopathic services that meet all of the following criteria:
- Treatment is for a work-related injury or illness.
- The provider is currently registered as an osteopath with WorkSafe.
- The service is in line with the principles of the Clinical Framework.
What WorkSafe will not pay for
- Non-attendance/cancellation. WorkSafe will not pay for appointments where injured workers cancel or do not attend.
- Telephone conversations. WorkSafe will not pay for telephone consultations or conversations, either to the injured worker or other related parties (such as the employer, WorkSafe, WorkSafe Agents, self-insurers or other healthcare professionals).
- Concurrent osteopathy, chiropractic and/or physiotherapy treatment. WorkSafe considers osteopathic, chiropractic and physiotherapy treatment to be similar. When an injured worker is receiving osteopathic, chiropractic and/or physiotherapy treatment at the same time it is difficult to effectively measure the benefits and outcomes of treatment. The worker will be asked to select the treatment that they believe to be the most beneficial for their work injury.
- More than one consultation on the same day. WorkSafe will not pay for more than one osteopathy consultation provided on the same day to the same injured worker.
- Provision of more than one allied health service on the same day. Where an osteopath is registered with WorkSafe for more than one allied health service (for example, osteopathy and remedial massage), WorkSafe will not pay for provision of more than one service type to an injured worker on the same day.
- WorkSafe will not pay for consumable items (i.e. tape, ultrasound gel, dry needles, wax therapy) used as part of a consultation with the provider.
Gym and swimming programs
WorkSafe can pay the reasonable cost of gym and/or swimming programs required as a result of a work-related injury or illness when requested by an osteopath. For more information please refer to the Gym and swimming programs policy.
Certificate of Capacity
A Certificate of Capacity needs to be completed if the injured worker ‘s capacity for work is impacted due to a work related injury or illness. For example, where an injured worker’s capacity for their pre-injury employment is affected and they have no capacity for any employment or they are fit to work in suitable employment.
First Certificate of Capacity
- Can only be completed by a medical practitioner.
- Can be issued for up to a maximum of 14 days, unless special reasons apply and approval is obtained from the Agent or self-insurer.
Subsequent (Continuing) Certificate of Capacity
- Can also be completed by a registered osteopath, registered chiropractor, or registered physiotherapist.
- Can be issued for a maximum of 28 days, unless special authorisation is obtained from the Agent or self-insurer.
The Certificates of Capacity can be downloaded from and is available as a supplied template for use on a range of clinical management software.
Reporting requirements of osteopaths
Information is required by the Agent/self-insurer and/or employer to assist in the injured worker’s return to work. As a provider, you must:
- Submit an Osteopathy Treatment Notification (OS100)
The treating osteopath is required to complete the Osteopathy Treatment Notification by the fifth consultation.
This form must be forwarded to the injured worker’s employer or Agent or self-insurer advising that treatment has commenced and providing information regarding the goals, strategies, and proposed outcomes of treatment. This information assists the treater, employer and the Agent or self-insurer to manage the worker’s return to work.
Please Note: For workers who are part of the Community Integration Program the request, approval and submission of outcome measures for services will form part of the independence planning process.