Procedural Direction PIC11 – Medical Assessments Procedure – COVID-19
This Procedural Direction sets out the requirements that must be satisfied by a worker/claimant for an in-person medical assessment to proceed during the pandemic.
This Procedural Direction applies to: Workers Compensation Division and Motor Accidents Division
Date of commencement: This Procedural Direction commences operation on 1 June 2022. The earlier version ceases to operate on 1 June 2022.
1. The Commission is committed to delivering services efficiently during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff, members, service partners, parties, their legal representatives, and any other person involved in Commission proceedings.
2. This Procedural Direction sets out the requirements that must be satisfied for Medical Assessments until further notice.
A person appointed under section 33 of the Personal Injury Commission Act 2020.
A Medical Assessment is an independent assessment, conducted by Medical Assessor, of a medical dispute involving persons who have been injured at work or on the road, their employers and insurers.
Commission’s Medical Suites
The Medical Suites located at Level 8, 1 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.
Assessors’ Medical Suites
A Medical Suite controlled by a Medical Assessor and identified by the Medical Assessor as appropriate to conduct a Medical Assessment.
The spaces/mechanisms used to conduct a Medical Assessment.
3. The President, Principal Registrar or a Division Head may excuse a party from complying with any aspect of this Procedural Direction before or after the time specified for compliance.
4. Subject to paragraph 3, nothing in this Procedural Direction prevents the President or a member directing a party to take any appropriate step in proceedings.
5. This Procedural Direction must be read with, and subject to, any provision of the Personal Injury Commission Act 2020 (PIC Act), the enabling legislation, the Personal Injury Commission Rules 2021 (PIC Rules) and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).
6. Parties should be familiar with the following:
(a) section 3 of the PIC Act, which sets out the objects of the PIC Act;
(b) part 5 of the PIC Act, which sets out the practice of the Commission, and
(c) part 2 of the PIC Rules.
7. The following Venues can be used to conduct a Medical Assessment:
(a) Venue 1 – Online (using a platform approved by the Commission);
(b) Venue 2 – On-the-papers;
(c) Venue 3 – In-person at the Commission’s Medical Suites;
(d) Venue 4 – In-person at the Medical Assessors’ Medical Suites; or
(e) Venue 5 – A combination of any of Venues 1 -4.
8. Subject to paragraphs 9 and 10, the Commission will select the Venue for each Medical Assessment based on its assessment of the relevant facts including any submissions from parties.
9. Assessments that deal with psychiatric conditions will generally use Venue 1.
10. Venues 3 and 4 will only be used if the proposed participants:
(a) Are not COVID-19 positive on the scheduled assessment date;
(b) are not a close contact of a person with COVID-19 and required to isolate for that or any other reason on the scheduled assessment date;
(c) are not displaying COVID-19 like symptoms or flu and cold symptoms on the scheduled assessment date;
(d) are within one of the following categories:
i. Category 1 – have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, with the second dose undertaken at least 14 days before the scheduled date of the Medical Assessment and they produce to the Commission (when requested) proof of vaccination status in one of the following forms:
1. COVID-19 digital certificate, or
2. immunisation history statement
ii. Category 2 - they disclosed their unvaccinated or partial vaccination status to the Commission and the Medical Assessment was scheduled on that basis, subject to additional risk controls, and
(e) agree to comply with COVID-19 risk controls in place for the conduct of Medical Assessment including that the proposed participant must produce a negative COVID-19 result for a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) that was administered in accordance with the RAT Protocol that applies to Venue 3 or Venue 4 (depending on the Venue being used) – RAT Protocols for each of Venue 3 and 4 will be advised to proposed participants not less than 5 days before the scheduled Medical Assessment, where it is reasonably practicable to do so.
Who Can Attend a Medical Assessment Conducted Using Venues 3 and 4?
11. Only the person who is scheduled to be assessed, can attend a Medical Assessment where Venue 3 or 4 will be used, unless:
(a) An application for the attendance of another person/s was submitted to the Commission not less than 7 business days before the scheduled Medical Assessment; and
(b) the President or Principal Registrar approved in writing, the attendance of another person/s because exceptional circumstances existed.
12. Exceptional circumstances may include where the other person/s is a:
(a) guardian of a child being assessed;
(b) support person of a person with a psychological injury or illness;
(c) carer of a person with physical or cognitive disability who is being assessed, or
(d) an interpreter who is not able to attend by audio-visual link or telephone because it is not suitable that they do so, for example, to assist someone being assessed who has difficulty hearing and may not be able to be assisted by an interpreter who joins the assessment by online means.
If Venues 1-5 Cannot be Used
13. If Venues 1-5 cannot be used to conduct a Medical Assessment for any reason, the Medical Assessment will be:
(a) Referred for mediation, and/or
(b) deferred until further notice.