Rebranded WorkCover SA said to already show improvements

john-rau-workcover-sa

The WorkCover SA scheme which is being rebranded as Return to Work SA, is already showing improvements with fewer injured workers on long(er) term benefits. Mr Rau -Industrial Relations Minister- also said the changes made so far had already reduced the unfunded liability (from 1.4 billion) to about $1 billion. Hard to believe indeed!

Rebranded WorkCover SA shows improvements as fewer injured employees on benefits for long periods

Lauren Novak | Political Reporter
The Advertiser
February 08

Fewer injured employees are relying on WorkCover SA benefits for long periods following changes to the workers compensation scheme, latest figures show.

As of December last year, 2053 fewer people remained on WorkCover SA claims than at the same time the previous year.

There are almost 4750 people on claims ranging from two weeks to more than two and a half years.

Authorities say the improvement in the historically poor-performing scheme is the result of kicking injured workers off the scheme, ripping injured workers of by lowball ‘settlements‘ changes over the past 18 months, including “earlier intervention” and more face-to-face support for workers. [Really?!]

Industrial Relations Minister John Rau said he expected even better outcomes when an overhauled workers compensation scheme takes effect from July 1.

The WorkCover scheme is being rebranded as Return to Work SA, to reflect a more intense focus on getting people back to work rather than prolonging injury or illness to continue receiving financial payments.

Under the new scheme, injured workers will be eligible for regular compensation payments for a maximum of two years, after which time payments will be scaled down according to a worker’s level of impairment.

Seriously injured workers will remain eligible for financial support for life.

Return to Work SA has written to about 900 people who are on the existing scheme to offer them the chance to effectively cash out when the new scheme takes effect.

They would be eligible to receive a one-off lump sum payment, instead of continuing to receive weekly payments, in a bid to clear hundreds of people off the books to coincide with the start of the new regime.

Late last year MPs passed legislation that proposed a “complete rewrite” of WorkCover.

The Government says it will save the business community $180 million a year, lower premiums and wipe $1.4 billion off the scheme’s unfunded liability.

Mr Rau said changes made so far had reduced the unfunded liability to about $1 billion.

The premium paid by employers has fallen from about 3.3 per cent to 2.8 per cent and Mr Rau said it was “on track” to drop to about 2 per cent when the new rules take effect.

Return to Work SA chief executive officer Greg McCarthy said there was a “ceiling on just how much improvement” could be achieved under the existing scheme and the planned reforms were needed to get the best results for workers.

“Its still a scheme that generally promotes people staying sick,” he said.

Mr McCarthy said there had been a “lack of confidence in the past” in the ability of WorkCover SA to deliver results but the latest figures showed it was making progress.

Mr Rau said there was “no doubt a complete overhaul of the scheme was needed to bring about the big changes we want to see, but we did already make changes where we could to the existing WorkCover scheme”.

Originally published as WorkCover changes show improvement to scheme

[Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/rebranded-workcover-shows-improvements-as-fewer-injured-employees-on-benefits-for-long-periods/story-fnii5yv7-1227212317624]



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3 Responses to “Rebranded WorkCover SA said to already show improvements”

  1. How this new scheme will exactly effect injured workers remains a huge secret The 30% impairment is vague. No one knows if that is likely to change. For those unfamiliar with the 30% impairment. It is likened to be hit by a Mac truck. If the sum of all your injuries add up to 29% each appendage. Your injuries do not meet the criteria of 30% for, eg injured shoulder. (one injury must equal 30%) otherwise The injured worker must come off workcover and all its benefits in 2 years. All injuries to the shoulder must occur within 12 months . Calendar year not an accumulation of months. Hardly a fair system. Discrimination is a better term. I’m sure the noose will be tightened in the next few years so no one will fit. It doesn’t consider psychological injury or medical conditions. But who knows, it’s a big secret. How can it be such a fantastic scheme when no one but Rau knows how it works? Who is allowed to critique? Not democratic and completely snakey.

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  2. Injured workers scheme rehabilitated
    http://www.psnews.com.au/grfx/ed/sa_newspic2953.jpg

    The scheme to help injured workers return to work has been renamed and rebranded as ReturnToWorkSA.

    The former WorkCover scheme is to be replaced by the Return to Work scheme, effective from 1 July 2015.

    Chief Executive of ReturnToWorkSA, Greg McCarthy said the new brand illustrated “the new focus for the Corporation”.

    “Our new brand incorporates two speech bubbles which symbolise our new focus on providing a more personal face-to-face service focused on matching the specific needs of the worker who has been injured and their employer,” Mr McCarthy said.

    “Anyone who is injured at work can expect an approach from us and our claims agents which is a complete contrast to what they would have experienced in the past.”

    Mr McCarthy said under the current legislation there was a ceiling on just how much improvement could be achieved and that was why the reforms were necessary.

    Re-branding reflects ‘new focus'”Employer premiums would have remained higher than interstate, the unfunded liability would remain at higher levels and the prospect of being able to return the system to the best possible performance was impossible,” he said.

    “ReturnToWorkSA next month will announce its mid-year financial figures and the new average premium rate for 2015-16.”

    Mr McCarthy said he expected to show “a continuation of the unprecedented $298 million reduction” in claims liability from 2013-14 and “a big reduction” in the insurance premium rate charged to all registered South Australian businesses.

    “This is a direct result of our new active management of the scheme which is seeing significant improvements in return to work rates at all milestones,” he said.

    Mr McCarthy said the latest data showed further improvements in claims performance, return to work rates and the insurance break-even premium rate.

    “The new management team has also been able to not only halt, but start to reverse the poor financial performance of the scheme,” Mr McCarthy said.

    “This is a massive achievement and I think we have the right team in place to deliver the changes possible under the new legislation.”

    Minister for Industrial Relations, John Rau said the new approach was much more than just a change of the name.

    “It represents a new era in how we help people injured at work to return to meaningful employment,” he said.

    Source: http://www.psnews.com.au/sa/Page_SApsn2953.html

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  3. Does improvement in performance of this scheme mean. Only a small percentage Injured workers are not able to meet a set standard of impairment before they are removed from the scheme.? No wages, onto a benefit? No needed medication. Placing burden onto an already stressed Medicare system? What is the proposed plan for those who hit the magic 29%? Please don’t tell injured workers that employers and workcover insurance companies are going to find them all jobs. Leopards don’t cange their spots. Please glance your eyes across the unemployment statistics. If able bodied are not able to have employment generated how is the injured? Does the words submarines, car industries, and mining in South Australia tell anyone how much employment is being generated.? This scheme will work well for the employer and insurance companies whom control has been given. You may be able to blind some with a brilliant sales pitch. The scheme is yet to see a reality check.

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