The Low Back Program of Care (Low Back POC) is an evidence-based health care delivery plan which describes treatment shown to be effective for workers with most low back injuries. Workers treated in the Low Back POC achieve better health and functional outcomes, including earlier return to work, when compared to workers treated in fee-for-service care.
The WSIB requires workers with a low back injury who meet the admissions criteria to be treated within the guidelines of the Low Back POC. This is to ensure all workers benefit from the evidence-based treatment interventions to achieve the best recovery and return to work outcomes. The Low Back POC is focused on functional recovery and also enables early identification of cases which may require specialized services.
All workers with a new low back injury who meet the admission criteria will be treated in the LB POC, which is up to 8 weeks in duration (from date of first assessment/treatment). It includes two phases of care, Phase 1 (weeks 1-4) and Phase 2 (weeks 5-8). It focuses on evidence-based treatment interventions, which include:
- Patient education,
- Pain and self-management strategies,
- Treatment (exercises, spinal manipulation and/or mobilization),
- Progressive pain management steps and,
- Transition to work.
WSIB will only pay for treatment provided through the LB POC for workers who begin initial treatment within six weeks of the date of injury or recurrence. Fee for service care will not be covered.
Health care providers may deliver the Low Back POC to workers within 42 days (6 weeks) from the date of injury or recurrence.
s a result of an injury, a worker is entitled to such health care as may be necessary, appropriate, and sufficient and, the worker is entitled to make the initial choice of health care provider (in the context of WSIB, primary health care providers include physicians, chiropractors, nurse practitioners or physiotherapists). A referral is not required if the Low Back POC is provided by these health care providers.