23 March 2020
Thank you for your support and valued referrals. At OccPhyz Consulting, we would like to reassure our clients and stakeholders that our practice is still operating and delivering high quality IME services to your employees and claimants across Queensland. We wanted to update you about the measures that OccPhyz Consulting are putting in place to be able to continue to provide our services to you as a highly valued client.
At this stage we are largely operating business as usual with the provision of face to face medical assessments for Independent Medical Examinations and Permanent Impairment assessments in both our south east Queensland and in multiple regional locations. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rules regarding social distancing and the exclusion of any unwell claimants are being enforced within all our Queensland locations to ensure the health and safety of both examinees and medical and clinic staff.
We would like to confirm that we are:
• still seeing your patients/employees/claimants in Brisbane and the Queensland regions from Cairns to Southport in person at this time
• all booked patients/employees/claimants are contacted directly (24 hours prior to their scheduled appointment) by our registered nurse to determine their current health status re an acute upper respiratory illness and whether they are well. If unwell or in self-isolation for COVID-19, we will liaise with the referrer to reschedule the appointment or discuss alternate assessment options.
• we will also screen examinees upon arrival and if there are any concerns with reported symptoms or observed signs, we advise that the appointment will have to be rescheduled.
We are mindful of the very significant current challenges and the potential need for cessation of regional travel depending on how government policy and airline service changes develop over the coming weeks (or days). We have also considered the potential implications of a shutdown of non-essential services.
As such, we are putting in place arrangements to be able to continue to provide services in the event that we are no longer able to travel to regional locations, or if requirements/regulations change such that we are unable to continue to offer the extended face to face consults. We are also aware of that the examinee may not wish to travel outside of their homes at this time due to self-isolation or mandatory government quarantine restrictions.
For regional appointments we can offer secure audio-visual tele-consultations for examinees as an interim measure if ongoing face to face consultations are required to cease. We note that these electronic assessments are not meant to replace our current means of directly assessing a claimant in person (which remains the gold standard), but rather to provide a viable framework in order to provide continuation of services during this health crisis, should individual claimants, the insurer or the regional airline services determine travel to a pre-booked appointment will not be feasible.
For assessments that are directly reliant on accurate clinical measurements, such as many permanent impairment assessments, there are a number of potential options which we are working through and would be happy to discuss further with you.
We remain available for Fitness for Work assessments, silica health screening and Complex File Reviews. We have considerable experience with the provision of independent expert file reviews and would welcome the opportunity to provide more of these as another potential alternative method of providing independent medical advice and opinion if travel and face to face consultations become temporarily unfeasible.
We would also like to confirm that as consultant Occupational and Environmental Physicians, we are uniquely skilled and suited to the provision of Corporate Consultancy work and advice to organisations relating to COVID-19 and the impact for their businesses. We would be most happy to discuss any questions that you have in this regard.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the current situation further and as above remain committed to the ongoing provision of high quality independent medical advisory service to you in this challenging climate.
We look forward to continuing to assist you now and in the future.
Dr Chris Cunneen Dr Andrew Lingwood