IPAR and Invictus Australia partnership goes beyond sport

Joel Vanderzwan (Veteran and Invictus Games competitor), Peta Siggers (IPAR Veteran Experience Manager), Michael Hartung (CEO, Invictus Australia) and Jo Broomhall (IPAR Executive General Manager) at the official launch of the partnership

Current and former servicemen and women face untold challenges, from combat exposure to difficulties transitioning from military to civilian life. IPAR is proud to offer tailored services to support the health and wellbeing of Australia’s 580,000+ veterans and their families. However, with 6,000 veterans transitioning out of the Australian Defence Force every year, it is vital that we continue to develop our offering.

We are proud to announce our new partnership with Invictus Australia, which will provide more support to our veterans and their families.

Invictus Australia is operated by the organisers of the Invictus Games, the multi-sport spectacle that inspires recovery, rehabilitation and understanding of the wounded. Invictus Australia carries the legacy of the Games in local communities, making sure all veterans and their families can benefit from involvement with sporting communities.

We will be working closely with Invictus Australia to increase awareness, understanding and appreciation of the Australian veterans and families that they exist to serve. The partnership will see more sport and recreational opportunities, events and resources available for the Defence community.

Invictus Australia will bring their sporting expertise and connections to the partnership, to help facilitate local initiatives, through its extensive network of sporting partners. IPAR will provide support for local activations around the country, helping to facilitate and communicate sport and recreational opportunities to their audience of veterans.

Jo Broomhall, Executive General Manager of IPAR said:

“Our partnership with Invictus Australia is all about supporting veterans and their families in practical ways that truly make a difference, whether it’s through improved access to local sporting activity and the many physical and mental health benefits that flow from it, or by creating meaningful connections to the local Invictus community. We will leverage this partnership to help veterans find or reignite their passion for sport and integrate this into their unique rehabilitation and reintegration journey for themselves and their family.”

Michael Hartung, Chief Executive Officer of Invictus Australia said:

“We are delighted to partner with IPAR to share our expertise in the sporting arena, and together show real collaboration in action to deliver better outcomes for veterans and their families. We know the powerful role sport can play in the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of our veterans and their families, and look forward to working with the extensive IPAR network across Australia to deliver upon our shared passion and purpose to support all those who have, and continue to serve our country.”

View the media release here.

The art of science: Towards understanding Long COVID in the workplace

COVID Matters Edition 6

“This is science as we’re living it, and it’s quite unusual. People like myself are constantly looking at what is happening around the world, and if you look at medical journal databases, you can see there are over 250,000 articles out now in relation to COVID-19. It’s impossible to keep track of what is happening.”

Professor Adrian Esterman
Chair of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of South Australia (as quoted in mamamia.com.au on 5 April 2022)


When we first launched the COVID Matters newsletter in December 2020, we undertook to track research and studies on COVID-19 and its impact on long-term health, mental health, neurological conditions, fatigue-related issues, workplace risk and changes to the Australian labour market. Two years later, we are still doing just that.

Edition 6 of COVID Matters looks specifically at Long COVID studies, distilling them into bite-sized learnings to save you time.

Long COVID is where our experience supporting people through illness and injury to return to work can come into play as a practical support for your organisation and people.

We have teamed up with Monash University to develop a suite of evidence-based COVID support services. This includes a screening tool for when a person with COVID might be heading towards Long COVID – and to define when you should seek early intervention for them. Plus, a tailored health coaching program to support return to work for people who are impacted by a COVID diagnosis or Long COVID.

Please reach out to your local IPAR representative to learn more.

Long COVID: bracing for the wave

With persistently high numbers of new COVID infections across Australia, the Actuaries Institute of Australia has warned the disability insurance and healthcare sectors should be bracing for a wave of Long COVID and with it, rising claims costs and premiums.

Thus far, Australia’s Long COVID claims experience has been fairly minimal. In the first two years of the pandemic, border closures, lockdowns and other measures reduced spread of COVID-19. However, in 2022 Australia’s COVID-19 landscape has changed, with 90% of the total COVID infections occurring in just the past few months.

Notwithstanding the beneficial impact of vaccination on lowering rates of Long COVID, a paper released by the Actuaries Institute earlier this month, “How Covid-19 has affected Mortality and Morbidity in 2020 and 2021”, predicts that the number of Long COVID cases on the horizon will be significant, potentially up to hundreds of thousands.

Impact on disability insurance sector

Long COVID is a poorly understood condition with a complex and diverse set of symptoms affecting physical, psychological, and neurological body systems. There are no routine tests or imaging to confirm diagnosis, no clear durations, and no effective treatment.

The paper notes that what is known is that Long COVID symptoms, particularly fatigue, can limit activity and an individual’s ability to work. As a result, the Actuaries Institute anticipates increased Long COVID related insurance claims across workers compensation and disability insurance including group salary continuance and income protection.

They advise that workplaces will need tailored support to enable workers to return to or remain at work while experiencing Long COVID symptoms, and that better healthcare for long term illness is essential to manage this approaching challenge.

Our response

IPAR has teamed with Monash University to develop a series of COVID support services. This includes a Long COVID screening tool to help with early intervention, plus a tailored health coaching program to support RTW for people who are impacted by COVID diagnosis or Long COVID.

What more information? Please contact IPAR on 03 8648 0900  or email rehab@ipar.com.au

Graphic of COVID Matters newsletter

COVID Matters Newsletter Edition 5

The latest edition of the COVID Matters newsletter brought to you by IPAR, mlcoa and MedHealth focuses on managing the return to work and extra support for people experiencing Long COVID.

We highlight three studies, with practical return to work implications. Two of these studies focus on vaccine effectiveness and the Novovax protein-based vaccine respectively… both potentially helpful in cases where workers are experiencing vaccine hesitancy for specific reasons. The other study is about the optimal way to manage Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) regimes for return to work. In terms of an evidence-base, it’s still early days for this important screening test; though the paper we covered has a strong recommendation for the most effective use of RATs.

We also summarise an additional worthwhile Harvard Business Review article on return to office resistance. While not a research paper per se, the authors have based their writings and recommendations on decades of research.

We hope this helps you as you navigate each ‘stage’ of this pandemic. Our next issue will look at workplace issues that arise as we move into winter, and COVID-19 moves from pandemic to endemic disease.


Graphic of Positivum Covid Support

New to the award-winning Positivum™ program: Positivum™ COVID Support

Individuals, employers and insurers are grappling with emerging cases and risk of Long COVID. Not all COVID claims will develop Long COVID, but for those that do, it is important to be able to accurately capture and triage the individuals, in order to deliver needs-based services and support people back to work and function.

In response, IPAR has adapted the award-winning Positivum™ biopsychosocial assessment and health coaching program specifically to the needs of individuals with Long COVID.

Positivum™ COVID Asssessment

This assessment measures a variety of psychosocial factors that may increase the risk of Post Acute COVID Syndrome (PACS). It obtains a measure of baseline function, informs the level and type of ongoing engagement, and identifies key psychosocial barriers to participating in relevant interventions and services. The assessment measures:

  • Recovery expectations
  • Health and work beliefs
  • Employer perceptions
  • Illness perceptions
  • Fatigue
  • Daily functioning
  • Barriers to daily activities
  • Coping skills

Low scores in the assessment signify a ‘yellow flag’ for that particular psychosocial domain and are indicative that extra support may be needed to improve prognosis. Importantly, the assessment can be easily repeated at key rehabilitation stages to provide an indication of progress and change.

Positivum™ COVID Health Coaching

This evidence-based online health coaching program has been specifically designed by MedHealth and Monash University to support people post COVID diagnosis. Integrated into rehabilitation services and delivered by IPAR Allied Health professionals, the program content is continually reviewed and updated with emerging COVID literature and evidence.

Created with behavioural insights and adult learning principles, health coaching modules are tailored to the individual client’s needs. Content includes:

  • Tackling unhelpful illness beliefs and perceptions
  • Work and functional goal setting
  • Living with a COVID diagnosis
  • Fatigue and pain management
  • Worker and employer perceptions

For further information on IPAR’s Positivum™ COVID Support program, please contact your nearest IPAR office or email rehab@ipar.com.au.

IPAR and Medilaw breakfast forum

Growing from Pain to Purpose – our latest breakfast forum

IPAR and Medilaw breakfast forum

Lauren Pearson, Lucy Allen, Dr Jessica Gallagher, Kate Munari and Kylie Gould

Resilience describes our innate ability to recover from significant challenge. Yet in times of trauma, our resilience faces its greatest challenge. How can we access our unique psychological and physical fortitude to ensure that we continue to move forward?

This was the question posed at the IPAR and Medilaw breakfast forum held in Canberra in March. Hosted by Lucy Allen from The Graceful Collective, attendees heard from two remarkable Australian women – Kate Munari and Dr Jessica Gallagher – who have experienced the horror of illness, injury and war to rise stronger and shift crises into growth, pain into purpose.

Kate Munari is a Navy helicopter pilot and public speaker. Kate joined the Royal Australian Navy at the age of 18 through the Australian Defence Force Academy and completed a Bachelor of Science degree. Qualifying as a helicopter pilot in 2006, her skill and dedication to flying led to her being selected for a four and a half year posting to the Royal Navy, UK. There, Kate flew as part of Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) who fly in support of the Royal Marine Commandos. Kate served in Afghanistan three times as part of CHF, flying day and night, in all weather conditions as aircraft captain and formation commander. She led teams in some of the toughest conditions any workplace can present. By sharing her experiences with others, Kate inspires and motivates audiences to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

Dr Jessica Gallagher is an Osteopath in private practice, Board Director and global ambassador for Vision 2020 Australia, and ambassador for Vision Australia and Seeing Eye Dogs Australia. She is also a high performance athlete, representing Australia in athletics, alpine skiing and track cycling. Jessica is the first Australian to have medalled at a summer and winter Paralympics, the first Australian woman to medal at a winter Paralympics, a World Champion and has numerous World Championship and World Cup medals. She is also legally blind, meaning she places her trust in someone else when she skis a mountain at 100km/hr or rides a tandem bike at 68km/hr. Jessica’s experiences challenge audiences to think differently and see your world from a whole new perspective.

Thank you to all attendees, it was wonderful to be in person with you. And thank you to Lucy, Kate and Jessica for sharing their remarkable stories with us.

COVID Matters newsletter

COVID Matters Newsletter Edition 4

The latest edition of our COVID Matters newsletter sees IPAR once again partner with MedHealth and mlcoa to bring you ‘bite size’ summaries of some of the most pertinent research in the medical industry, and in particular what the experts are saying about COVID-19 and its ongoing impact in, and on, the workplaces of Australia.

In this latest edition, we look into the complexity of long COVID in the workplace. While COVID-19 symptoms may fade relatively quickly for most, some people are suffering long-term effects. The time it takes to get well from COVID-19 is different for each person, and it can also depend on whether they have any other existing health conditions.

It’s difficult to accurately predict the long-term outcomes for people with long COVID as much is still unknown. People may experience symptoms for many weeks, months or even years. Instances of long COVID are increasing and causing some employees to suffer from long-term side effects that impact them at work.

In this issue, we look at four interesting papers about long COVID, drawing out some of the research and information, and its workplace implications.

Please view COVID Matters edition 04 here.

Your COVID coverage

As medical, allied health and occupational health and rehabilitation specialists, the teams at IPAR and mlcoa already provide the types of services that support Australian businesses to make informed decisions and reduce risks, all while improving health and employment outcomes for people.

Please talk with us about the issues you are managing. We’ll either have a service that can support you and your people; or we’ll draw on our diverse capabilities to help you solve any issues and create better outcomes.

Covid Matters 3

COVID Matters Newsletter Edition 3

An image of COVID Matters newsletterThe latest edition of our COVID Matters newsletter sees IPAR once again partner with MedHealth and mlcoa to bring you ‘bite size’ summaries of some of the most pertinent research in the medical industry, and in particular what the experts are saying about COVID-19 and its ongoing impact in, and on, the workplaces of Australia.

COVID-19 has spread its many tentacles across our work and home lives. COVID ‘matters’ include vaccinations, mental health and resilience, workplace safety, home life, working from home, frontline workers and so much more.

There are so many potential topics of interest that we will focus on one area at a time. In this issue, we look at four interesting papers about vaccination. As with everything we do, we look at the evidence and lay it out for you.

Please view COVID Matters edition 03 here.

The next issue will focus on papers about Long COVID, which is emerging as a complex workplace issue. Please let us know the COVID-related issues that are having the greatest impact in your job or workplace and we would love to support you by focusing on the issue in a future newsletter or working with you to find the best solutions for your people and clients.

Your COVID coverage

As medical, allied health and occupational health and rehabilitation specialists, the teams at IPAR and mlcoa already provide the types of services that support Australian businesses to make informed decisions and reduce risks, all while improving health and employment outcomes for people.

Please talk with us about the issues you are managing. We’ll either have a service that can support you and your people; or we’ll draw on our diverse capabilities to help you solve any issues and create better outcomes.

COVID-19 Information and Planning

COVID-19 Information and Planning

IPAR is taking a precautionary approach to managing the spread of COVID-19, which is in line with the latest national health advice.

Centralised information, planning and expertise

IPAR’s parent company, MedHealth, has a working group to ensure we are sharing information, optimising our preparation and managing any issues that may arise from the COVID-19 pandemic. This group monitors the situation daily. We are well positioned to access any additional expert advice we may need. Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr Peter Steadman, has engaged the services of two leading doctors to contribute, assisting with specific disease advice and organisational health management. We are basing all our centralised advice and screening protocols on the Australian Department of Health advice and daily updates.

Our operations

As much as possible, our operations will proceed as normal. As always, in the event of any disruption or changes, we will keep you informed.

Visitors to our premises

All our premises are operating with robust screening and management protocols. Our focus is on safeguarding all visitors.

  • All appointment reminder processes whether by phone, email or text (where allowed) screen clients, customers or visitors with the questions listed below. This occurs 1-2 days before clients are to attend appointments at our premises. We also ensure that our clients know that they cannot bring more than one other person to the appointment with them. Where mask use is required, clients will be reminded that they will need to wear a mask throughout their appointment.
  • Additionally, all front-of-house team members screen clients, customers or visitors upon arrival:
      1. Have you or anyone within you household, visited any of the currently listed exposure sites nationally or travelled internationally in the past 14 days?
      2. Are you or anyone within you household currently experiencing any cold or flu symptoms?
      3. Have you or anyone within your household had a COVID-19 test in the past 7 days?
      4. Have you or anyone within your household been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
      5. Have you undergone COVID19 Vaccinations?

Please note:

  • If yes to question 1:
    • International travellers need to have completed 14 days quarantine and received a COVID negative test.
    • For anyone that has been to an identified hotspot, IPAR will review hotspot requirements and reschedule appointment as per these requirements. Please note that there are differing levels of restrictions for sites. Some sites require isolation for 14 days, some require isolation until negative results received and others do not require isolation. If isolation is not required or isolation is only required until negative tests are received (and a negative result has been received) then appointments can go ahead. If isolation is required the appointment is rescheduled.
  • If yes to question 2:
    • If a person presents with cold and flu symptoms, the appointment will be rescheduled until they are symptom free for 48 hours.
  • If yes to question 3:
    • If a person presents who has undergone a COVID19 test in the past 7 days, a negative result and/or any isolation requirements are provided/completed prior to proceeding with an appointment. If results are still pending, the appointment is rescheduled.
  • If yes to question 4:
    • If a person has had close contact with a confirmed COVID19 positive person within 14 days, the appointment is rescheduled.
  • If no to question 5:
    • If a person has not undergone both doses of COVID19 vaccination, IPAR will consider the below actions:
      • A review of services being provided as they may pose risk to the team and the client, for example, a change of locations to outdoors
      • Consider whether vaccination status may limit clients access to facilities required for services
      • Review PPE being utilised and consider increasing from face mask to face mask and face shield
      • Increase social distancing
      • Increase hand santisation and high touch area cleans of areas used
  • MedHealth has set up an advisory hotline on COVID-19, offering advice and support on each unique scenario for our people. Should a client present at our premises with any potential exposure to COVID-19, our team member calls the hotline for advice on next steps, while also immediately isolating the individual in question, ensuring mask use and supporting them to mitigate risk as they travel home to seek medical support via telephone. Under consultation with the Specialist, the appointment does not go ahead if there is any identified risk.

Mask use

  • Victoria:  Masks must be used indoors and outdoors.
  • New South Wales: As per current NSW Government requirements listed here.

Protocols if someone presents with cold or flu symptoms to our offices

  • The individual is isolated into a room and provided with tissues or a mask.
  • Transportation home is organised via taxi, with advice to not visit public places.
  • For non-team members: IPAR ensures they contact their treating practitioner of the Coronavirus information line on 1800 020 080.
  • For team members: IPAR ensures they contact the Cogent hotline – 1800 264 368.

Protocols, support and considerations for our people

If any of our team members are unwell, we ask they do not come into the office. This is for any illness, whether respiratory or not. It is an especially important principle at the moment.

We are following all Australian Department of Health guidelines on travel and self-imposed quarantine.

Additionally, MedHealth’s employer direct business Cogent Thinking has been operating a hotline within MedHealth since March 2020, to support our team in managing risk and ensuring safety.

As always, IPAR puts the health and safety of our people, customers and clients at the forefront of our thinking and actions. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if there are any issues you would like to discuss.

Women in Insurance award

IPAR Executive General Manager wins ANZIIF Award

Photo of Jo Broonhall, Executive General ManagerIPAR’s Executive General Manager Jo Broomhall is the joint winner of the ANZIIF Allianz Donna Walker Award for Insurance Leadership.

This award, honouring the late Donna Walker who was a senior executive in the insurance industry for over 20 years, shines a light on individuals who have contributed significantly to the development of insurance professionalism and promoting diversity and inclusion throughout the industry.

Jo was nominated by her colleagues at IPAR who praised her steady and supportive leadership style and mentoring, particularly over the past 18 months. The win is well-deserved recognition of Jo’s commitment and energy to her people and in growing cohesive, high-performing teams across IPAR.