Dr. Chris Colquhoun, icare Chief Medical Officer, announced on the 15th of May that they will be trialling medical support panels for approving medical procedures over a 12 week period (no indication as to when this would start).
The reason given is to reduce the delays in approvals for medical procedures the insurers are currently experiencing. As we know these delays can be well in excess of the 21 days (which is itself excessive) the insurers currently have before facing a fine (which to our knowledge has never been enforced by the regulator).
The iCare media release states that the medical panel will be made up of mostly Occupational Physicians and review up to 20 cases a day while the trial is underway. Then provide its advice to insurance case managers.
One suspects that these assessments will be carried out based on the papers only and not involve a medical assessment given the numbers of cases and there is no indication on how many physicians will make up the panel or if there will be a pooled assessment scheme (where one physician makes the assessment and recommends to the the rest of the panel who do not necessarily see the original reports).
Despite this any solution that would increase the independence of doctors assessments from the insurers and speeds up the process of getting an injured person into treatment is a welcome one.
If anyone has been through this process let us know what happened.
View the iCare media release here: https://www.icare.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/icare-medical-panel-trial-to-reduce-approval-times.pdf