Information for TAC providers

Updated Tuesday, 7 April 2020

The TAC is closely monitoring the rapidly changing COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation.

We continue to work with government, health agencies and our providers to ensure TAC clients receive the care they need with minimal disruption.

If you are a TAC provider, please check this page for regular updates.

How to contact the TAC

As a precautionary measure, many TAC staff are working remotely.

Due to this situation we have some different options for how you can contact us.

We will respond to all enquiries as quickly as possible, however you may experience delays.

We appreciate your patience and ask if you can minimise repeat calls or requests about the same enquiry.

Please use the Contact us online form if you need to get in touch.

Phone lines - urgent calls only

We recommend that you only call 1300 654 329 for urgent matters. You can leave us a voicemail message. Our staff will monitor messages and call you back as soon as possible.

General provider information

TAC providers are expected to have the necessary plans in place to ensure continuity of care for TAC clients.

You should regularly check the Department of Health website for the latest coronavirus advice and resources.

Frequently asked questions

New FAQs

Will the TAC pay for the delivery of pharmacy items?

The TAC can pay for medication to be delivered to a client’s home if the client is unable to attend a pharmacy due to their transport accident injuries.

If a client is cannot visit a pharmacy because they are self-isolating due to COVID-19, they should consider home delivery options through local pharmacies or the government's Home Medicines Service.

Can home services still be funded during the COVID-19 pandemic?

At present home services are considered an essential service. Therefore, the TAC will continue to fund home services unless government guidelines change. However, home services providers need to follow Commonwealth Government and respective State Government guidelines while working with TAC clients during the pandemic, including adhering to social distancing while delivering services.

Can the TAC fund taxis instead of public transport for clients who are worried about contracting COVID-19?

The TAC will not fund taxis in place of public transport if a client is concerned they will contract COVID-19. Clients are encouraged to practice social distancing on public transport and follow government guidelines around the need to leave home and hygiene practices.

Can the TAC fund thermometers for clients to screen TAC-funded service providers for COVID-19 before entering client homes?

As thermometers are not directly linked to a motor vehicle related claim, the TAC cannot fund them. If you have reason to believe the client’s TAC-funded service is at risk of instability, you should discuss this with the claims manager.

Can I ask the TAC for a client’s COVID-19 status?

The TAC is bound by privacy laws and may not be able to disclose a client’s COVID-19 status to you. If you are seeking this information you will need to ask the client’s claims manager. The claims manager will work with the TAC privacy team to determine if this information can be shared. You will then be notified either that the information cannot be disclosed, or can be shared. If the information can be shared, the claims staff member will be required to continue to work within TAC legislation and policy.

Can telehealth be used for case management, outreach services or Network Pain Management Programs?

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, case managers, outreach service providers, and Network Pain Management Program providers can deliver services via telephone and video conferencing. Given the traditional face to face nature of these services, it is anticipated reduced services will occur throughout the pandemic. However, if remote service provision is required, it must be clinically justified and be outcomes focused. Prior to commencing sessions remotely, service providers should discuss this option with the client to ensure they want continued services and are comfortable receiving a remote service. Billing codes will not change during this time as MBS billing items do not apply for case management, outreach services, and Network Pain Management Programs.

Will the TAC provide an extension for a client’s certificate of capacity?

Yes, we may provide a brief extension to the due date of a client’s certificate of capacity based on their individual circumstances. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis and clients should contact us to discuss their situation.

As per our current policy, we may consider paying LOE or LOEC payments without a certificate of capacity in exceptional circumstances, or where there is verbal confirmation from a treating doctor, followed up with a certificate of capacity.

Due to the coronavirus situation, the TAC will fund temporary telehealth items for services provided by medical specialists, such as GPs, consulting physicians and psychiatrists. Payment will be made at the MBS rate.

Communication

How can providers contact the TAC?

As a precautionary measure, many TAC staff are working remotely. Due to this situation, we have made some changes to how you can contact us.

  • Send us a message using the online form on our website
  • Call 1300 654 329 and select an option to leave a message. We will call you back as soon as possible from a private number.

We will respond to all enquiries as quickly as possible, however you may experience delays.

We appreciate your patience and ask that you avoid making repeat requests about the same enquiry.

Visit tac.vic.gov.au/coronavirus for more information. Check this page regularly, as it will be updated as new information becomes available.

Will meetings involving TAC staff continue?

TAC staff will cease face-to-face meetings with TAC clients, including those in hospital and at client homes, until further notice. Meetings with providers or other stakeholders will also cease. This is done as a precautionary measure.  We will still maintain contact with our clients and providers via phone or video call as required.

How can I contact the TAC’s Clinical Panel?

You can submit an enquiry to the Clinical Panel via our online form or by emailing clinical_panel@tac.vic.gov.au. Your request will be directed to the most relevant person to assist. Please note there may be delays above normal response times while we operate at reduced capacity.

What we can pay for

Will the TAC pay for telehealth services?

In response to COVID-19, the TAC continues to focus on ensuring its clients can access the essential treatment and support they need, and providers can safely deliver these services.

The government recently announced a temporary expansion of telehealth MBS items to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection for patients and health care providers.

The TAC will fund these temporary telehealth items for services provided by medical specialists, such as GPs, consulting physicians and psychiatrists. Payment will be made at the MBS rate.

The TAC expects its providers to only use telehealth when it is clinically appropriate to do so and relates to a client’s accident injuries. Telehealth services must be provided in line with the TAC Clinical Framework.

Other service providers

We are reviewing the expansion of our funding of telehealth services to ensure TAC clients can continue to access the critical services they need. This includes ongoing discussions with the APA and OTA.

We have also agreed to create new TAC telehealth item codes for psychology and neuropsychology and will let you know when those are available. You can hold invoices until these are ready and then invoice us retrospectively.

Submitting invoices

We are currently updating LanternPay to allow telehealth items to be invoiced online. We will notify you when our system has been updated. In the meantime, please send manual invoices for telehealth services to invoices@tac.vic.gov.au

Invoices can be submitted in retrospect for eligible telehealth services provided to TAC clients since 13 March 2020.

Can the TAC pay for providers to participate in client planning meetings via teleconference or phone conferencing?

Yes. The TAC will  continue to pay for providers to participate in client planning meetings/conversations taking place by teleconferencing or phone conferencing.  This is not considered a telehealth service.

Will the TAC extend treatment or service approvals due to the coronavirus situation?

As is our current practice for all TAC funded treatment and services, we will consider requests to extend a treatment or service approval based on a client's individual circumstances.

If you believe a client will require a reasonable extension to their current approval period, the client or their provider should contact us to discuss their needs.

There are currently different options for how to contact us. We will respond to all queries as quickly as possible, however you may experience delays given the current situation.

Will the TAC fund health provider home visits to TAC clients?

The TAC will consider requests to fund home visits if a TAC client needs to access essential health services, but is isolating themselves at home on advice from a medical practitioner, or they are a patient in a vulnerable group*.

As is our current practice for all TAC funded treatment and services, the need for a home visit must:

  • relate to the TAC client’s transport accident injuries
  • be reasonable, according to the Transport Accident Act, 1986
  • be clinically justified and outcome focussed.

*Vulnerable groups are people aged over 70, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 50, people with chronic health conditions or those who are immunocompromised

What happens if a TAC client cancels an appointment because of the coronavirus?

There is no provision in our legislation to pay for services that aren’t provided. This includes appointments cancelled due to the coronavirus.

You can find this information in our general provider guideline.

Please see your relevant provider guideline for more information about what the TAC can and can’t pay for.

Does the TAC pay for rubber gloves and hand disinfectants?

The TAC cannot pay for rubber gloves and hand disinfectants. For most health providers, these items belong to consumables that should be provided as part of in-rooms treatment. See our Equipment guidelines. For attendant care agencies and accommodation facilities, these items are expected to be provided as part of the provider's Occupational Health and Safety requirements as part of regular infection control practice

Does the TAC pay for face masks?

No, the TAC cannot pay for face masks or other items unrelated to a client’s transport accident.

The advice from the DHHS is that “wearing a face mask is not necessary if you are well.”

Processing times

Will provider payments be impacted?

TAC staff are working to minimise any impact to provider payments as a result of new TAC working arrangements.

The best way to avoid payment delays is invoicing us through LanternPay, our online payment platform. Use LanternPay to:

  • get paid quickly and efficiently
  • avoid contacting the TAC to ask about payment or service decisions
  • submit digital invoices to streamline your bookkeeping
  • easily reconcile invoices
  • instantly confirm your patient’s eligibility for TAC services before you treat or bill
  • receive payment for approved invoices the next business day

Visit tac.vic.gov.au/lanternpay for details, or register at lanternpay.com/providers

Will hospital-lodged TAC claims be impacted?

Hospital-lodged TAC claims (Squiz) may take slightly longer to process. However, we will keep you up to date should any delay be experienced.

Will there be impacts to discharge planning or approval of discharge needs?

Discharge planning and approval of injury-related discharge needs (e.g. home modifications, equipment provision, support services) will continue in a timely way. However, we may begin to experience delays as a result of the COVID-19 impact on other industries (e.g. reduced access to community allied health services, reduced access to building professionals or supplies). The TAC is ensuring close and regular contact with hospital teams to ensure all supports are in place to facilitate effective discharge.

Health and safety

How is the TAC responding to the coronavirus situation?

We are closely monitoring the rapidly changing COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation and taking the necessary steps to prepare for any potential impact to our clients, their providers and our staff.

As a precautionary measure, many of our staff are working remotely.

To help reduce the risk of infection and slow the spread of coronavirus in Victoria, the TAC is following advice from the Department of Health.

This means that until further notice TAC staff will not meet with TAC clients in person. We will use other appropriate channels to maintain contact and give our clients the ongoing support they need.

We also have business continuity plans in place to ensure that we can continue to support our clients and providers, regardless of where our staff are working.

We continue to work with government, health agencies and our providers to make sure our clients receive the care they need with minimal disruption.

How can providers safely deliver support and services to TAC clients?

All providers are encouraged to review their business continuity and contingency plans to ensure they are prepared to deliver critical support and services for TAC clients whilst limiting their risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

The TAC recognises and supports providers’ need to potentially reduce community access and some face to face contacts whilst ensuring continuity of critical service and support needs, and staff health, safety and availability.

What if I need to reduce my service capacity?

Providers should communicate regularly with clients regarding any changes to regular services and explain the reasons for this change.

Providers should contact the TAC if you have reduced service capacity that you feel will negatively impact on the client’s health and safety.

What are the expectations around infection control?

Health and disability providers are expected to have infection control protocols in place to help detect and control the spread of any infections and ensure safe work practices.

For this reason the TAC can not pay for rubber gloves, hand disinfectants and other consumables that should be provided as part of usual service.

Providers are expected to communicate regularly with their workforce and ensure they follow correct infection control practices to minimise the risk to clients and themselves. Further information regarding infection control practices can be found on the DHHS website.

Worldwide personal protective equipment (PPE) stocks are under pressure from the pandemic. The TAC encourages providers to follow the World Health Organisation interim guidelines for the rational use of PPE.