An attempt to clear the confusion around S4 restrictions and what it means for myotherapists.
The Myotherapy Association Australia encourage all members working within a Stage 4 restricted area that utilise online practice management software tools to disable their online booking for myotherapy appointments during the 6-week lockdown period. This will help minimise the confusion to the community. All patients requesting appointments should be directed to contact the clinic so that they may be triaged appropriately to determine if they meet the criteria for myotherapy care during these times.
Q. Can I provide in-person care as a Myotherapist under the Stage 4 restricted areas of Victoria?
Unless you are providing F2F care to fulfil a care plan endorsed by NDIS, TAC, Workcover or DVA – in order to provide services that prevent a significant change/deterioration in functional independence necessitating escalation of care (e.g. a requirement for specialist input/review, an increase in care needs and/or alternate accommodation, avoiding a hospital admission or emergency department presentation).’, then the simple answer is NO!
View our decision tool to assist you in making the right decision about in-person care for myotherapy services here.
Q. Can I provide telepractice/remote consultations to my patients?
Yes. In fact, this is strongly encouraged to reduce unnecessary movement within the community and to assist in continuity of care for your clients. Read our telepractice Guidelines here.
Q. Can my patients claim on Telepractice for Myotherapy services?
No. Telehealth is not covered for Myotherapy services at this stage. We are working closely with member funds and their peak industry body to advocate for change.
In order to reduce movement, anyone who can work from home should do so. However if they are providing telepractice services to patients / clients and they cannot do this at home, they can do so from their standard workplace. Please note that the need for COVID Safe Plans and Work Permits will also need to be in place.
Q. Can my clients attend my clinic with a GP or a Specialists letter?
No. Providing in-person care to patients MUST meet the overarching criteria above. MA have provided you with a decision making tool to assist you in determining if and when face to face myotherapy care can be provided.
Q. Why can some allied healthcare professionals work, but not me?
While the Stage 4 directive allow for AHPRA registered health workers – and in addition, social work, speech pathology, dietetics, audiology to continue in-person care, all must adhere to ‘tight’ restrictions. This means, these practitioners can only provide in-person care providing these services prevent a significant change/deterioration in functional independence necessitating escalation of care (e.g. a requirement for specialist input/review, an increase in care needs and/or alternate accommodation, avoiding a hospital admission or emergency department presentation)’
It is NOT business as usual or anyone.
Q. Will my Professional Indemnity insurance cover me if I work when I have been directed not to?
If you attend clinic to provide face to face care during the stage 4 lockdown [that does not meet the above criteria], you must be mindful that it may void your PI insurance if deemed in breach of the below clause.
Page 21 – Section 6: What We Do Not Cover
“We will not pay for any claim made under any section of this Policy…..where you: (a) are in breach of terms, conditions, undertakings or limitations on your registration as a myotherapist…”
Furthermore, we refer members to page 29 of the policy, section titled Compliance with statute. This states, “Where any term or condition of this policy conflicts with any applicable and governing statute or regulation, the statute or regulation shall prevail and shall apply, but only to the extent necessary to achieve compliance therewith.”
The insurer would have to review any claim on their individual merits, including if the individual was not aware of the guidelines.
Q. Can I work as a Myotherapist under the Stage 3 Lockdown in Regional Victoria?
Yes – providing you cannot do it from home, maintain 1.5m distancing where possible, wearing of relevant PPE equipment and keeping yourself and patients home if any of you display symptoms or have recently been tested and are awaiting results. All businesses are encouraged to ensure they have a COVID Safeplan in place, however this is a mandatory requirement for businesses that have 5 or more staff. For more information visit https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/stage-3-restrictions-covid-19
Ensure you have pre-screening procedures in place for all patients requiring in-person care, and remember to carefully evaluate your patient list and treat F2F only where telepractice is not suited.
Q. What is MA doing to fight for their members?
The short answer is that MA is doing everything we can to help our members. Our impression is that government is overwhelmed and that is why they are at times, giving mixed messages. As we know that one day feels much like the next right now, our team have put together this Advocacy Flowchart that demonstrates the work MA have undertaken and continue with throughout COVID.
Read more about how MA are continuing their advocacy for you and what you can do to help support these efforts here.
Q. How do I get involved?
MA is the peak professional body for myotherapy and myotherapists, with the mission to represent our members at all levels from public messaging through to government. We have a talented, strong and dedicated team of staff and volunteers working behind the scenes.
If you would like to get involved and support your association and the ongoing advocacy, public messaging about myotherapy and overall development of our profession, please click here.
We understand that these restrictions are far from ideal and will mean that closing your practices for now will be the only option for many Melbourne based therapists. Your Association is here for you at this time and we will continue to advocate for you in every way we can.
Stay safe and take care of one another.
More information can be found on our website at here.
Please remember, Victoria is in a ‘State of Disaster’ – it is important that we all do our part and consider how we as businesses and individuals can support the State and Nation to get through this safely and minimise the spread of COVID.
Published August 17th, 2020