This edition was issued on 31 January 2022
I am pleased to advise that the Commission’s in-person medical assessments will resume from 21 February 2022, following the interim pause to 18 February 2022 that I notified in Personal Injury Commission News last week.
The procedural direction and protocol related to conducting medical assessments during the pandemic have now been updated and the Commission has successfully sourced Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits to provide to our Medical Assessor cohort.
Please read on for further details about the new settings and the circumstances in which scheduled in-person medical assessments can proceed.
I am grateful for the patience all parties have displayed as the Commission has evolved its operations aligned to the ever-changing pandemic and pandemic response conditions.
I look forward to in-person assessments proceeding from 21 February and a return to somewhat normal provision of services in the medical assessment space.
I will be in touch with another edition of Personal Injury Commission News soon.
Judge Gerard Phillips
Medical Assessment Procedural Direction and Protocol Updated
- Procedural Direction PIC11 – Medical Assessments Procedure – COVID-19
- Protocol for Medical Assessments During Coronavirus Pandemic
The key requirements for an in-person medical assessment to proceed are that:
- Participants in the assessment:
- are not COVID-19 positive
- are not close contacts of a person with COVID-19 and required to self-isolate for that, or any other reason
- do not have COVID-19 like symptoms
- The claimant/worker must submit to a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) that is administered at the premises of the Medical Assessor shortly before the scheduled in-person assessment and receive a negative result.
- The claimant/worker must provide evidence to the Medical Assessor at their in-person assessment appointment that they have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, with the second dose undertaken at least 14 days before the date of their appointment.
- The claimant/worker must comply with the Commission’s Protocol for Medical Assessments During Coronavirus Pandemic and any other COVID-safe measures in place, including wearing a mask during attendance at the in-person assessment and the Medical Assessor’s COVID-19 protocols.
- The claimant/worker must follow the reasonable directions of the Medical Assessor during the assessment and behave courteously and respectfully towards the Medical Assessor and their staff, and Commission staff.
Please also note that:
- Support persons may only attend an assessment in person in exceptional circumstances, approved by the President or Principal Registrar and must meet the same vaccination and negative COVID-19 test result requirements as the claimant or worker. A written application can be submitted to the President.
- The participation of an interpreter to be in-person, rather than by telephone or videoconference, also requires approval and the submission must include the reasons that in-person attendance is necessary.
Please familiarise yourself with the new Procedural Direction and Protocol and educate your clients about the requirements to ensure that their in-person medical assessments can proceed as scheduled.
Please be aware that some existing appointments scheduled prior to 18 February are proceeding in circumstances where the Medical Assessor is able to supply the RAT kit. We are thankful to the Medical Assessors who are enabling this to occur. These appointments are being managed on a case-by-case basis and participants must comply with the newly-updated Procedural Direction PIC11 – Medical Assessments Procedure – COVID-19 and Protocol for Medical Assessments During Coronavirus Pandemic.
How You Can Help Ensure In-Person Medical Assessments Can Proceed
- Familiarise yourself and your clients with the new settings, what they can expect when they attend an in-person assessment and what they need to do in order for their assessments to proceed.
- Advise the Commission as early as possible when a client is not able to comply with the requirements so that the appointment can be reallocated to another claimant or worker.
- Ensure that the Commission is advised when a client cannot attend an appointment because they have COVID-19, are a close contact or have COVID-like symptoms or are required to isolate.
- Advise the Commission as early as possible when a claimant or worker chooses not to attend a scheduled in-person appointment based on their own assessment of risk so that the appointment can be rescheduled to a later date and the appointment freed up for another claimant or worker.
- You can also encourage your clients to self-administer a RAT within 24 hours of the appointment to avoid any disappointment, and to travel to the appointment by private vehicle, if possible.
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