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ACC treatment provider payments consultation

ACC launches treatment provider payments consultation

ACC has launched the most wide-ranging review since 1991 of the payments it makes to medical providers.

The just-released Cost of Treatment Regulations Consultation Document proposes changes to some payments made by ACC towards the costs of treatments received by its claimants.

Submissions on the proposals close on 22 August 2003, with the changes scheduled to take effect on 1 April, 2004.

ACC Chief Executive Garry Wilson said proposed revisions would not always result in higher payments to treatment providers, but they would result in money being spent more effectively.

"They should improve the alignment of ACC's treatment funding given the major shifts in best practice treatments since 1991," Mr Wilson said.

While treatment providers claim the cost of treatment from ACC on behalf of claimants, the providers often require a payment from claimants as well.

The public consultation document proposes increases in payments to a range of treatment providers and also changes to the dental, general practice and radiology lists of treatment in the Cost of Treatment Regulations Schedule of the Accident Insurance (Insurer's Liability to Pay Cost of Treatment) Regulations 1999.

While ACC's contribution to treatment costs is a claimant entitlement usually funded out of ACC levies, provision was also made in this year's Budget for the Non-Earners component which is funded by the taxpayer.

In addition to reducing co-payments by claimants for materials used in general practice, the proposals also aim to encourage GPs and practice nurses to use the most appropriate materials when treating ACC claimants.

Other proposed changes include:

„h Nurse-only consultation payment to rise to $15 from $11 per claimant visit. „h A new joint nurse-plus-GP fee of $29 per consultation and a $38 fee for under six-year-olds. „h Fees payable to counsellors to rise to $76.50 per hour (GST included) reflecting the fact many claimants needing counselling are not in paid work. „h A rise in the hourly rate for psychiatrists to $97.55 including GST. „h A rise in ACC payments for non-specialist dental treatments for young claimants that recognises that they tend to be studying or training rather than earning income. Two options are proposed, one for under 18 year olds and one for under 16s.

ACC would like to hear from treatment providers, claimants, employer and levy payer groups, government agencies and insurers and agencies that deal with claims.

Copies of the consultation document can be downloaded from /.

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