The Provisional Payments Pilot allows eligible emergency workers to access payments for medical treatment and services while their compensation claim is being determined.
To access the pilot, you must:
- be an eligible former or current emergency worker (including employees and volunteers)
- have submitted a compensation claim to your employer for a mental health injury
Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria emergency workers can access the pilot from 17 June 2019.
All other eligible emergency workers can access the pilot from 1 July 2019.
The following emergency workers are eligible:
- Employees and volunteers of Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, Country Fire Authority, Victoria State Emergency Services
- Employees of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and the Emergency Service Telecommunications Authority
- Public sector nurses and midwives
- Child protection practitioners employed by the Department of Health and Human Services
- Corrections Victoria employees – Correctional and Detention Services
- Youth Justice employees – Correctional and Detention Services
- Forest Fire Fighters employed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and partner agencies
External contractors are not eligible for the pilot.
Access the pilot
When a worker submits a claim to their employer or volunteer agency, the agency will:
- ask if the emergency worker would like to take part in the pilot
- provide the worker with a consent form to opt in to the pilot
Payments will begin as soon as the eligible emergency worker opts in to the pilot. They will occur while their claim is being determined.
Medical treatments and services
The pilot covers reasonable medical treatment and services for related mental health injuries. Provisional payments will be provided over a continuous 13-week period.
Reasonable medical treatment and services may include:
- visits to a General Practitioner (GP)
- the cost of prescription medication
- visits to a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist if referred by a GP
Reasonable travel expenses to attend treatment and services are also covered. The scheme may cover other reasonable treatments or services.
An emergency worker can choose their own medical provider under the pilot. If WorkCover accepts the claim, the worker must choose a WorkCover approved provider.
The cost for medical treatment or services are based on the WorkSafe schedule of fees. Reasonable travel expenses are based on the WorkSafe Travel policy and fee schedule. Emergency workers must read and familiarise themselves with the schedule of fees.
To receive payment, emergency workers should:
- claim the Medicare benefit at the time of the appointment
- pay the bill and submit the receipt to the employer or volunteer agency to seek payment
Appointments under a Medicare Mental Health Treatment Plan do not have to be used while provisional payments are being made.
Emergency workers must read and familiarise themselves with the schedule of fees. There may be a difference between what the practitioner charges and what the employer or volunteer agency will pay.
All eligible emergency workers will receive provisional payments while their claim is being assessed.
The scheme will cover medical treatment and services for approved claims.
If a claim is rejected, the pilot will cover the cost of any reasonable medical treatment and services for up to 13 weeks from the date the claim was submitted.
For example: A claim is rejected three weeks after the emergency worker submitted it. Funding will be available for a further 10 weeks.
Emergency workers that already have a compensation claim
An emergency worker can access the pilot if:
- they have a compensation claim that is being determined
- if they are already receiving treatment for their mental health injury
You must have new supporting evidence to make a new claim if your claim has previously been rejected.
Evaluation of the pilot
This pilot is being evaluated to understand emergency workers’ experiences of using this new process to access medical treatment and services when experiencing a mental health injury.
If you have participated in the provisional payments pilot, you are invited to take part in the evaluation.
There are two ways you can do this:
- an interview conducted in person or over the phone (this will take around one hour)
- a 10-minute online survey (a paper-based survey is available upon request)
To take part in the evaluation, please contact the Consulting Team, Department of Justice and Community Safety by:
Learn more about the evaluation
Specialist Network of Clinicians
A Specialist Network of Clinicians has been established to provide mental health support for pilot participants.
The network is a team of mental health clinicians that are qualified to provide psychological assessments and treatment for emergency workers experiencing mental health injury as a result of work. All Specialist Network Clinicians are registered with WorkSafe Victoria and have experience in return to work programs and best practice trauma recovery.
A confidential Central Access Referral and Treatment (CART) telehealth service has been established to link pilot participants with the Specialist Network of Clinicians.
The service is available Monday to Saturday, 7am to 8pm (excluding national public holidays).
For further information, please see the Specialist Network of Clinicians fact sheet.
It is important to note that it is not compulsory under the pilot to seek care through the Specialist Network of Clinicians. You will still receive provisional payments for eligible medical treatment and services provided by a clinician of your choice.
Mental health services
Mental health services in the community are also available to provide assistance.
Employee Assistance Programs
Confidential counselling services offered by some employers
Emergency workers can speak to their employer or volunteer agency, employees union or association for more information.
Reviewed 17 March 2020