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South Australia's new return-to-work scheme has important changes for physiotherapists and allied health

Latest in SA’s return-to-work changes

South Australian Branch President Martin van der Linden, APAM, and State Manager Carolyn Coleman recently attended a quarterly meeting with ReturnToWork SA to discuss the new scheme’s rollout.

One of the big changes under the new return-to-work scheme in South Australia affects duration of income and medical support for patients. This includes funding for physiotherapy treatment. The APA encourages all physiotherapists to speak with their patients and case managers to clarify the dates when support will cease for particular cases. For some patients, this date may be 30 June 2016 so the conversations should happen sooner rather than later.

If ongoing treatment is required, physiotherapists are encouraged to help their patients transition to community, state, Commonwealth or privately-funded services to ensure they receive support.

It’s crucial that physiotherapists think about how to achieve the best outcomes for patients and choose treatments that will maximise a person’s recovery in a timely manner. Physiotherapists are effective motivators and can greatly assist patient empowerment. A patient’s knowledge and confidence in how to manage themselves and prevent future injuries are important predictors of positive outcomes

 A key factor to treatment efficacy is regularly measuring the impact of treatment on functional abilities using standardised outcome tools. This will assist the physiotherapist to review the plan and ensure that the most effective treatments are made available to their patient while their treatment payments are supported.

It’s crucial that physiotherapists think about how to achieve the best outcomes for patients and choose treatments that will maximise a person’s recovery in a timely manner.

If little to no benefit is being achieved and the physiotherapist has exhausted all of the options they are familiar with, it is important to consider referral to a more experienced colleague within or outside of the practice, or even another service. This is consistent with best practice of service provision to any patient, either private or compensable.

Members should keep this in mind when using the new Restricted Consultation service code. The treating physiotherapist can apply for up to six one-hour consultations, where the patient’s condition meets defined criteria. The treating physiotherapist might alternatively choose to refer their client to a more experienced physiotherapist to provide the restricted consultation item if they feel this will achieve enhanced outcomes for their patient.

To find out more about these changes subscribe to ReturnToWork SA’s latest news, which provides updates by email on topics of relevance to you.


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