Case conferences can be called at any point in time during a work injury claim, by any member of a worker’s support team. There generally needs to be at least three attendees, including the:
- Approved workplace rehabilitation provider
A case conference is a forum to review, plan and agree on your patient’s recovery and recover at work plan. It’s an opportunity to get everyone on the same page about the key issues and barriers facing your patient, and what needs to be done to support their recovery.
Ideally they should be held as a face to face meeting, but can be facilitated over phone or video conferencing. Anyone can request a case conference, but it is generally held at the NTD’s practice.
The person who instigates the case conference is responsible for sharing an agenda ahead of time. You should ensure you set aside enough time to allow for the best possible outcome for your patient. All participants attending should be prepared to contribute openly and honestly in discussions about the key issues.
You can charge for participating in the case conference according to SIRA’s 2019 Medical Practitioners Fees Order.
How to prepare for a case conference
- Talk to your patient
If your patient’s recovery is not progressing as expected, consider suggesting a case conference to them. Getting their consent prior to scheduling a meeting with their employer or the insurer can assist in alleviating any concerns your patient may have about the case conference.
- Allow plenty of time
You may need to allow time for two appointments to ensure there’s enough time to adequately address all issues up for discussion. You should take note of the duration of the case conference for invoicing purposes.
- Consider the location
If it is not convenient for the case conference to be held in your practice rooms, let the case manager know. Case conferences can be held as video or telephone conference calls, or at an alternative location agreeable by all parties.
- Focus on outcomes
When preparing for the conference and during discussions, it is helpful to stay focussed on the outcomes: what needs to happen to ensure your patient can achieve an early and lasting return to work and who is responsible for ensuring these actions are achieved.
- Follow up
After the conference, ensure you stay up to date with your patient’s return to work. Make sure their next appointment is scheduled at an appropriate time after the case conference.
You should always maintain confidentiality regarding other matters unrelated to your patient's workplace injury.