‘We’re sorry your son was killed, that will be $50’
A volunteer surf lifesaver who was injured at training has been forced to pay back state insurer icare $3,600 in costs billed by a rehabilitation company, including a $50 charge for an email expressing condolences that his son had died.
The charges were billed to icare as part of payments provided to Glen Roberts, who badly injured his shoulder at Catherine Hill Bay Surf Life Saving Club in 2017.
Mr Roberts said he "tore the tendons off" his shoulder when he tripped while putting a surfboard away.
He was ultimately left unable to continue working his milk run following the injury.
As part of his payments from icare, Mr Roberts said he was required to undertake workplace rehabilitation.
Invoices provided to The Daily Telegraph show The Rehabilitation Company billed icare for sending and receiving emails and taking phone calls.
One charge for $16.86 (including GST) appears to have been incurred when a rehabilitation consultant received a phone call from Mr Roberts' daughter telling the company that his son had died in a motorcycle accident.
Icare was also billed $50.57 for an email sent the next day - when the consultant wrote to express his condolences to Mr Roberts.
In an email sent to icare questioning the costs, Mr Roberts said it was "absolutely disgusting" for the company to charge him "for condolences on my own son's death".
A charge of $202.27 was also included, appearing to be for the rehabilitation consultant to attend an appointment Mr Roberts had with his doctor. A bill for $196.49 seemingly for travel to and from that appointment, was also listed.
Deputy Labor Leader Yasmin Catley said the charges show icare is "ripping off workers".
"The semi-privatised workers compensation scheme which Dominic Perrottet has devised is a complete failure. It is ripping off workers and is just a get-rich-quick scheme for private health and rehabilitation companies," she said.
Mr Roberts only questioned the charges when he was required to pay them back, because he had sought damages against the Surf Lifesaving club where he was injured.
He only needed to repay the costs because he received a court ordered settlement for damages. He was required to repay 60 per cent of costs incurred.
"It's like a gravy train that everyone's on," Mr Roberts said.
"Icare doesn't ask anyone 'do you think this is justified what they charge you?'
"They just pay it, that's the thing that annoyed me," he said.
Rehab Co drafted a two page resume as part of its services, but Mr Roberts didn't think the $3,600 bill was justified.
An icare spokeswoman said Rehab Co is one of more than 100 accredited workers' compensation providers people can select for rehabilitation services.
"Rehabilitation often includes costs for different elements of the case including attending case conferences with the Nominated Treating Doctor (NTD), vocational assessment, and liaising with all parties," the spokeswoman said.
Icare said rehabilitation services accounted for less than three per cent of Mr Roberts' total claims costs.
Originally published as 'We're sorry your son was killed, that will be $50'