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Increased return-to-work fees

The APA meets regularly with ReturnToWorkSA (RTWSA) to discuss a range of professional matters, including the fees and services descriptors. At a recent meeting, the discussions focused on increased fees for physiotherapy treatment.

In 2015, the APA agreed to a three-year fee cycle agreement on the fees component of the schedule. In line with that agreement, physiotherapy fees will be increased by 2.2 per cent from 1 July 2016. The new hourly rate is $177.70, an increase from $173.90.

RTWSA provided the APA with statistics on the use of the new restricted consultation item, PT214, which was introduced last year after several years of lobbying by the APA. It was disappointing to hear that the new item is not being used as often as the APA had hoped.

The APA would like to remind all physiotherapists who treat injured workers to find out more about the restricted consultation item, which covers specific diagnoses such as acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation of limb, severe burns, trauma resulting in severe functional capacity defect, and more.

Any treating physiotherapist who feels a patient with complex needs would benefit from longer consultations as part of their management plan may apply to the case manager via the ‘restricted consultation application form’ to provide up to six one-hour consultations. The application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and approved where appropriate clinical reasoning has been provided.
It’s worth remembering that if you, as the treating physiotherapist, identify that the patient could benefit from some longer consults but you don’t feel confident providing those services, you can refer the client to a more experienced physiotherapist for the delivery of the ‘restricted consultation’ services.

The new return-to-work scheme has also introduced a new physiotherapy service, the workplace visit (item PT216). Treating physiotherapists can visit the workplace for up to one hour to review the work area and set-up, evaluate a patient’s technique performing work tasks, etc. It’s important to note that this service is to maximise the effectiveness of treatment, rather than return-to-work planning. Case manager approval is not required, however it is recommended to speak with the case manager prior to contacting the employer to arrange the session in case there are any workplace issues that the physio is not aware of.

For more details on the above items, head to ReturnToWorkSA.


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