What the New ICBC Changes Mean for You, Your Health and Your Injury After A Car Accident

What has changed with ICBC under the new Enhanced Care model?

Summary

  • On May 1, 2021, new ICBC regulations are in effect which impact your recovery and care
  • All British Columbians, regardless of fault, have access to care – including pedestrians and passengers
  • Access to care if needed, for the lifetime of your injuries
  • Get immediate care after reporting an accident to ICBC
  • Get access to Physiotherapy, Chiropractic Care, Acupuncture, Active Rehab, Counselling and Massage
  • No doctor’s note needed within 12 weeks of the accident date
  • Seeking Care from multiple services soon after your accident increases your chance of a speedy recovery

  
In April 2019, ICBC made some significant changes to better assist drivers and passengers involved in car accidents, along with pedestrians who had been hit by a car. As of May 1, 2021, ICBC is transitioning to a care-based model which replaces the compensation model that was there previously. From the perspective of your health-care, this means that some of the previous barriers to you getting better have been significantly reduced or eliminated.

This blog focuses on your health, recovery and treatment options after an accident. For information on other changes such as compensation and pain and suffering, you can visit the ICBC Enhanced Care pages.

Who is eligible for care and recovery after an accident?

All British Columbians injured in a car crash, no matter who is at fault, are eligible for post-injury care. This means every driver, passenger and pedestrian who is impacted has access to the care they need.

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How do I get access to this care?

Within 12 weeks after your accident date (what ICBC often calls date of loss or MVA date), you are considered by ICBC in the “early access” period. If you have been in an accident before and received access to this care, you might be more familiar with it as “pre-authorized treatments.”

If you are in Lower Mainland, you can get access to all of your care-related needs at our East Vancouver ICBC Clinic. Please give us a call, book an online appointment if you know the service(s) you want or fill out this 10-second form and we’ll call you to answer any questions you have.

We can often get you a same-day or next-day appointment depending on the urgency of your care.

Is this care only available to me in the first 12 weeks after an accident? What happens if I need care after this period?

Within the first 12 weeks after the accident, you no longer need a doctor’s note to gain access to a physiotherapist, a chiropractor, a kinesiologist, an acupuncturist, a massage therapist or a counsellor for your mental health.

So, for example, if your accident is on April 12, you have access to one or a combination of physiotherapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, active rehab (kinesiology), massage and counselling without a doctor’s note or referral until July 5. After this date, ICBC will have to approve any further care you get based on a treatment plan put in place by your therapist.

After the first twelve weeks, ICBC has moved away from requesting a doctor’s note to requesting a treatment plan from your therapist. To fulfil this requirement, ICBC will generally approve one session with the therapist you would like to see (e.g. a physiotherapist, a chiropractor, etc.). During that session, the therapist,  a physiotherapist or chiropractor, for example, will examine you, assess your situation and fill out a treatment plan which will be submitted to ICBC. As part of that treatment plan, the therapist will make a recommendation as to the number of sessions you require to get you back to your pre-accident level of health.

Once approved by ICBC (usually after a few days), you can continue to see your therapist (or therapists) for the number of sessions that have been approved. Once the number of sessions have been completed or the end-date for those sessions has been reached, the therapist will re-assess your health, talk to you about your situation and make further recommendations for additional treatments if required. We will reach out to ICBC again and request further treatment. 

At Backs in Action, we manage all of this for you, so you don’t have to. We want to make your care and recovery seamless and worry-free so you can focus on getting better.

Download our 2021 ICBC Guide For More Information 

Why does the early access period last only 12 weeks?

Most injuries, including serious and acute ones, generally present themselves in the first 12 weeks after the injury date. For those that surface more than 3 months after an accident, ICBC requires further information about the nature and severity of the injury before they will formally approve care.

Current research also demonstrates that those first 3 months are crucial to your healing. It is in this period that scar tissue begins to form. Once that happens, the healing process can take significantly longer and progress may be slower.

Although this might be counter-intuitive, especially if you are in pain, the quicker you can get care after an accident, the quicker your recovery will be and the better chance of a full recovery you will have.

Not seeking care in the first 12 weeks after an accident may mean recovery will be more involved and slower than if you seek care as soon after the car accident as possible.

ICBC may also question why you waited so long if the injury requires attention. This is why treatments have to be agreed upon by them rather than automatically approved.

 Further Resources

I was ok for the first few months after my accident but I’m starting to feel a toll on my body now. More than 3 months have passed, can I still access care?

 Yes. You can access care, but your care is not automatically approved and will be based on a treatment plan. You will have to contact your adjuster or claims specialist to see if you might be eligible. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone or email and we can contact your adjuster for you.

A long time has passed since I last received care, maybe even more than a year. I feel that the last year has taken a toll on me mentally and physically. Can I still get access to care?

Yes. Under the new provisions, you may still be eligible for care. And some of that care can be rendered virtually if you feel more comfortable accessing your treatments that way. In fact, under the new care-based model, you should be able to receive care as long as you need it since there are expanded funds available for all those involved in an accident.

 

I’m still uncomfortable visiting a clinic with the current Covid-19 situation or I’m socially isolating or not able to for health or travel reasons. Can I still get care somehow?

Yes. We continue to offer telehealth appointments and complimentary consults for those just in situations like these to see if this might be a viable option for you. The current climate shouldn’t deter or impede you from getting the care that you need. Kinesiology and Active Rehab sessions, physiotherapy, chiropractic and counselling sessions can still be accessed virtually.

What treatments am I eligible for if I’ve been involved in an accident?

In the early access period, that is 12 weeks after your accident date, you are automatically pre-approved to take advantage of early access treatments. These include the following services and treatment numbers with no questions asked.

Chiropractic Care                             25

Physiotherapy                                   25

Kinesiology and Active Rehab      12

Massage                                            12

Acupuncture                                      12

Counselling                                        12

After the first twelve weeks, you can continue to get access to care upon approval from your adjuster. At Backs in Action, we can help facilitate that approval by contacting your adjuster and having our therapists complete a treatment plan for you, informing your adjuster of your progress and what further care you need to get you back to a pre-accident level of health, and hopefully get you even better.

Are there any costs for these treatments?

ICBC covers most or all of your treatments. However, there is sometimes a gap between what ICBC pays and a clinic’s rates. The difference is called a user fee. At Backs in Action we levy user fees, where necessary, to ensure our therapists are fairly compensated for their expertise and time and to ensure you’re getting the best possible care for your injuries. The treatment costs are minimal and can often be charged to your extended health insurance which we can direct bill to in many cases.

 

What are the costs of ICBC treatments?

Your initial assessment for any service is always at no cost to you.

Treatment User Fee Treatment Length
Chiropractic Care Initial $0 Subsequent $5 Initial: 30 mins Subsequent 15
Physiotherapy Initial $0 Subsequent $5 Initial: 30 mins Subsequent 30
Massage Initial $0 Subsequent $0-$36 depending on treatment time Initial: 60 mins Subsequent 30-60 mins
Acupuncture Initial $0 Subsequent $0 Initial: 40 mins Subsequent 40 mins
Kinesiology and Active Rehab Initial $0 Subsequent $10 Initial: 45 mins Subsequent 45 mins
Counselling Initial $0 Subsequent $0 Initial: 50 mins Subsequent 50 mins

What sets Backs in Action apart from other clinics?

There are many reasons that Backs in Action stands out. Here are just a few:

  • We care about your recovery and your goals and work in tandem with you to reach them
  • We have a multidisciplinary team that works collaboratively to ensure you’re getting the best possible care
  • We offer physiotherapy, chiropractic care, active rehab and kinesiology, massage, acupuncture and counselling all in one place
  • We offer one-on-one care ensuring you’re spending your time in treatment face-to-face with a practitioner who listens to your concerns, works with you to achieve your goals together and maximizes healing and recovery time.
  • We use evidence-based research to ensure the best possible outcomes for your recovery and getting you better as quickly as possible so you can return back to your activities of daily living sooner
  • We are a multi-award winning clinic including accolades from the Best of Vancouver 2020 and 2021
  • We try and eliminate any barriers to care by offering:
    • Convenient hours and appointments, including early morning, evening and weekend appointments
    • Male and Female practitioners
    • Direct Billing to your extended health insurance
    • Friendly, helpful and professional staff to assist you with any concerns and to assist you booking multiple appointments
    • 24/7 booking through our online booking portal
    • Therapists speaking multiple languages including Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Farsi, and Korean
    • Free short-term parking directly in front of the clinic and free longer-term street parking
  • We have a Google Rating of 4.8 with more than 150 reviews. We also have 5-star ratings on Yelp and Facebook
  • We’re conveniently located:
    • Across Renfrew Skytrain Station (one station from Commercial Broadway Station)
    • On the ground level with wheelchair access
    • Along the Bike path with bike stands outside the clinic

Book an Appointment | Call us at 604-876-9977 | Email Us With Any Questions

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Book an Appointment | Call us at 604-876-9977 | Email Us With Any Questions