The impact of long-term workers' compensation benefit cessation on welfare and health service use: protocol for a longitudinal controlled data linkage study

Publication type
Journal article
Lane TJ, Berecki-Gisolf J, Iles R, Smith PM, Collie A
Date published
2021 May 01
International Journal of Population Data Science
Open Access?

BACKGROUND: In 2012, the Australian state of New South Wales passed legislation that reformed its workers' compensation system. Section 39 introduced a five-year limit on income replacement, with the first affected group having their benefits cease in December 2017. There is limited evidence on how this will affect their healthcare service use and where they will go for financial support. METHODS: Multiple data sources will be linked: administrate workers' compensation claims data from the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), universal health insurance data from the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), state hospital and emergency department data, and social welfare data from the Department of Social Services' Data Over Multiple Individual Occurrences (DOMINO). An estimated 4,125 injured workers had their benefits cease due to Section 39. These will form the exposure group who will be compared to 1) a similar group of workers' compensation claimants who have had at least two years of compensated time off work but whose benefits did not cease due to Section 39; and 2) a community comparison group drawn from state hospital and emergency department records.An accredited third party will link the data, which will be accessible only via secure virtual machine. Initial analyses will compare the prevalence and incidence of service use across groups in both the year before and year after benefit cessation; the community control will be assigned the median benefit cessation date in lieu of an actual date. To estimate the impact of benefit cessation due to Section 39, we will conduct time series analysis of the prevalence and incidence of service use. DISCUSSION: This study will provide much-needed evidence on the consequences of long-term benefit cessation, particularly on subsequent healthcare and welfare service use