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Vocational Rehabilitation - What do they do? Jul 26th, 2014
Approved Vocational Rehabilitation Providers (Voc Rehab) can assist an injured worker if there are problems with the return to work process. Voc Rehab providers are commonly health professionals such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists or psychologists who ‘generally’ 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.

GraphicWhat does a workplace rehabilitation provider do?

A voc rehab provider is essentially an injury management co-ordinator. Voc Rehab will attempt to deliver an appropriate professional return to work program when the situation requires an external provider (see below).

If an initial assessment indicates that rehabilitation services are recommended, the rehabilitation provider must discuss the findings of the assessment with the employer, the injured worker and the treating medical practitioner.

The rehabilitation provider should give a copy of their plan to the injured worker, employer and treating medical practitioner. 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.

In all circumstances, employers should remain the workplace decision maker regarding return to work activities.

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

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, personality clashes with worksite injury management staff.).

Modifidations are required to the workplace are being considered to assist the workers return to work (for example, special lifting equipment or special seating arrangements).

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 is likely required. (back)


Who pays for a workplace rehabilitation provider?

Vocational 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. These costs will add to your yearly claim costs, used to determine your insurance premiums.

How to activate a referral to a workplace rehabilitation provider?

GraphicAn injured worker, employer or treating medical practitioner can initiate a referral to a workplace rehabilitation provider - see the list of Approved Vocational Rehabilitation Providers. 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 or may be made on the worker’s First or Progress Certificate of Capacity.

Note: Injured workers have the right to choose their vocational rehabilitation provider, even when the referral is made by a medical practitioner or employer.

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