Treatment & Assessment



On Wednesday, September 16, 2015 Dr. Jim Arnold and Chris Drobot did a presentation about a trial of an enhanced model of mental health care. This model involves the provision of support services for psychologists in a tertiary treatment centre. The presentation also included information about:

  • The enhanced treatment model.
  • Revised reporting templates
  • A review of the WCB policies, procedures and standards of care for psychologists, and
  • The management and RTW arrangements of mental health claims.

View the PowerPoint presentation or watch the archived webinar.

On Friday, November 7, 2014 Dr. Terry Levitt did a presentation on the management of WCB concussions cases. The webinar is called Concussion lessons – A Biopsychosocial approach.

View archived webinar.

On January 12, 2013, the WCB and Sask. Government Insurance retained the services of Dr. Murray Opdahl to speak to multidisciplinary assessment team physicians regarding assessment for and making recommendations regarding chronic pain.

Listen to the recording now.

Treatment Philosophy
We support a functional restoration approach that promotes a return to normal activity – including work – in a safe manner. Passive care is discouraged. The goals are:

  • Maximize the injured worker’s functional abilities to the pre-injury condition, if possible, and
  • Enable an early return to work, with the pre-injury employer if possible.

The Functional Rehabilitation Model of care is encouraged because it:

  • Uses the restoration of function as the first measure of treatment success.
  • Encourages care providers and clients to recognize that successful long-term recovery is associated with return to function, even in the presence of increasing symptoms where there are no objective signs of harm.
  • Is supported by significant evidence-based literature.

Primary Treatment
Primary treatment is provided as soon as possible following an injury.  The primary practitioner is usually the first health care provider to see an injured worker after an incident. This is generally a family doctor or general practitioner, a chiropractor, dentist, optometrist or physiotherapist.

A primary practitioner assesses an injured worker and develops a management plan that may include:

  • diagnostic investigation,
  • referrals to specialists, other health care professionals or treatment facilities, and
  • a referral, if appropriate, to an assessment team via the WCB.

Sometimes, workers seek treatment without knowing their condition is work related. (A work injury is an injury that happens on the job and that needs medical treatment and/or time away from work.) In these cases, we ask primary practitioners to:

  • Inform the worker that the condition might be covered by the WCB.
  • Submit an Initial Report to the WCB to initiate a claim.
  • Advise the injured worker to report the injury to the employer and the WCB.

Because most workers can perform sedentary or light duties very soon after their injuries, the primary practitioner should, with the knowledge and agreement of the injured worker, provide information to the employer regarding the worker’s fitness for transitional return to work.

Return to Work
Return to work is a vital part of the recovery process. Because most workers can perform sedentary or light duties very soon after their injuries, the primary practitioner should give the worker a list of any restrictions they may have because of the injury. The worker should be advised to give the list to the employer so the employer can adjust the workers duties to allow a return to work during recovery.

The primary practitioner should maintain ongoing communication with the worker, the employer, other health care professionals and the WCB to support and encourage full return to work when appropriate.

For more information, see our Recovery and Return to Work brochure.

If a worker’s recovery doesn’t go as expected, the primary practitioner is expected to:

  • Recognize patients who would benefit from an assessment team review, and to ask the WCB to arrange the review.
  • Provide information to an assessment team when needed.
  • Review the assessment team’s recommendations with the injured worker and implement a treatment plan.
  • Cooperate with return-to-work programs.

If the injured worker’s recovery does not proceed as expected, they are referred to an assessment team that confirms the diagnosis and recommends a plan of treatment to assist the primary practitioner in management of the patient.

Besides recommending any specialist and diagnostics services, assessment teams also identify the appropriate level of treatment for the worker (primary, secondary or tertiary), a timeline for RTW planning, and an indication of whether the worker has pathology to preclude his/her return to the pre-injury job on a permanent basis.

The WCB has a network of approved assessment teams and treatment centres around the province, so that injured workers can receive treatment close to their homes.

Secondary Treatment
Secondary treatment programs provide multiple services by an interdisciplinary team of health care providers. At the secondary level:

  • Functional impairment may be greater than expected.
  • Psychosocial issues may be delaying recovery, but generally are not affecting participation in a treatment program and the worker is reasonably expected to return to full pre-injury job duties
  • Treatment programs are available regionally, are typically six to eight weeks long and have a functional focus.
  • Discharge from the program is related to the ability to perform pre-injury job duties.
  • Development and support of the worker’s transitional and full RTW plans are also part of the treatment program.

Tertiary Treatment
Tertiary (third level) treatment programs provide multiple services by an interdisciplinary team of health care providers experienced in the management of injury with permanent impairments and/or significant psychosocial and pain management issues. At this third level of treatment:

  • Functional impairment may be far greater than expected.
  • Psychosocial and pain management issues often interfere with the injured worker’s participation in a treatment program and prevent recovery, and/or the worker may have permanent restrictions from the pre-injury job.
  • Programs are available regionally, generally last 8 to 12 weeks and have a functional focus.
  • Development and support of the worker’s transitional and full RTW plans are part of the treatment process.

If a worker participates in a secondary or tertiary treatment program, please fill in the Notification of Intake for Secondary or Tertiary Treatment Program form (MCARETX) (revised October, 2017)