Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


ACC staff knowingly flout ACC legislation

BIG NEWS: ACC staff knowingly flout ACC legislation

By Dave Crampton

ACC case managers have been forcing claimants to suspect dodgy rehabilitation plans all year round by sending standard “form” or “computer” letters, sanctioned by senior staff. The letters stipulate that every page in the rehabilitation plan be signed and returned by the end of the following week or weekly compensation payments will be cut. Senior staff and some case managers must know that these letters, and the rehabilitation plans, are suspect and contravene provisions in the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2001, as rehabilitation plans can be implemented without agreement or signature. Therefore there is no need to threaten suspension upon refusal to sign.

A rehabilitation plan is the basis for planning the rehabilitation of a claimant and is a legislative requirement after a claimant has been on ACC for 13 weeks. Plans detail the assessments and rehabilitation requirements to ensure claimants are rehabilitated off ACC. Yet claimants, as well as the claimant’s GP and advocates, have had no input into the development and costing of the plan as required by ACC legislation. This has serious implications on a claimant’s recovery and future entitlements. The majority of cases where dodgy assessment and rehabilitation plans are issued to are long term or Catalyst claimants, some who have signed earlier rehabilitation plans that have not delivered.

Yet in written questions to ACC, the Corporation replied that it was not only policy, but standard practice for all claimants, employers, advocates and medical doctors to be involved in the costing, developing and content of all rehabilitation plans.

If that is the case, why do claimants receive rehabilitation plans along with strongly worded letters signed by case managers stating, “Please be advised that failure to contact me (within seven days) or return this document may result in your weekly compensation being suspended?” These claimants have not seen the plans before and were asked to sign within 10 days. This is against corporation legislation as well as case law. At least one District Court judge has said that a plan without entitlements and consultation is nothing more than a proposal. As it is not a valid contract, it is unenforceable, the judge says.

An ACC spokesperson told the Sunday Star Times, “The processes outlined in (such letters) is not the way that ACC seeks to do things”. If that is the case, the very least ACC could do is amend their standard letters that are sanctioned by senior ACC staff to comply with legislation.

Following Scoop’s last column on the issue, ACC said it would conduct an internal investigation after the Sunday Star Times agreed to follow up on the story. The ACC spokesperson told the paper that “the corporation seeks to reach agreement with such claimants to the plan and provides reasonable time for this to happen”. If that is the case, why have legislation stating claimants must be involved in the preparation and costing of such plans if all ACC do is aim to reach agreement after such plans have been costed and prepared by case managers? In many cases no agreement has been reached and the corporation bullies claimants into signing plans – in some cases within six days.

Suspicions have been raised that claimants are being bullied to sign rehabilitation plans because a change in legislation last year allows the implementation of unsigned plans. Previously, case managers were not able to implement rehabilitation plans unless the claimant agreed – and many didn’t because the plans were dodgy. Now ACC think it has every right to implement dodgy plans without signatures. But it should not implement any plans if claimants have not been involved in the preparation and costing of the plan.

Scoop has evidence that rehabilitation plans are being ignored and abused as soon as they are signed. Claimants are not always getting copies of the signed plans as required. Some claimants disagree with the content of the plans and have told ACC so while signing under duress – even with their legal representatives present. Others have altered their plans and had them returned by case managers demanding they sign the plan in the original form. This makes a mockery of a case manager’s assertion that a rehabilitation plan is an agreement between two parties.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news