WCB Nova Scotia introduces new approach to multidisciplinary health services (March 1)

Change will bring province-wide consistency in complex care for workplace sprain and strain injuries

HALIFAX, NS – A new strategic partnership will ensure consistent, focused care for injured workers who need more advanced treatment for work-related sprain and strain injuries, WCB Nova Scotia announced today.

The change will see WCB Nova Scotia enter a single contract with one health care provider for these particular services, building a stronger, more effective, and more efficient business relationship. 

The approach will improve quality and consistency of the more complex functional rehabilitation services involved in helping injured workers return to the job.

CBI Health Group was the successful vendor in a tender issued to clinics across Nova Scotia last fall. WCB Nova Scotia and CBI Health Group are currently in contract negotiations. 

Services will be delivered by CBI Health Group clinics and a number of their affiliates in a province-wide network which has clinics in all regions.

“It takes longer, on average, for an injured worker to return to work in Nova Scotia than other Canadian provinces. Although there has been progress over the last decade, there is much room for improvement,” said Shelley Rowan, WCB Nova Scotia’s VP Prevention and Service Delivery. “A more focused partnership will help support injured workers in a safe and timely return to work.” 

The new arrangement will become effective later this spring for new referrals of injured workers requiring Tier 2/3 care. All injured workers already receiving Tier 2/3 care will complete their treatments with existing clinics.

These health services help a small population of injured workers with needs that exceed standard physiotherapy. This may include other disciplines such as occupational therapy, psychology, or pain management. Today, WCB Nova Scotia has 56 contracts for the provision of Tier 2/3 care, serving about 750 injured workers annually. 

“We do understand this will be a change for workers and for some of our valued service providers,” Rowan says. “The new contract will bring improved consistency and quality of care to workers, while also creating operational efficiency.”

This arrangement does not impact standard functional rehabilitation, known as Tier 1 care. About 10,000 injured workers receive Tier 1 care from 160 clinics across Nova Scotia, including the 56 clinics that currently also provide Tiers 2 and 3, and 104 clinics that provide only Tier 1. All of these valued Tier 1 health service providers will continue to help injured workers recover from musculoskeletal injury, or sprains and strains, by far the most common workplace injury in Nova Scotia.