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New payments schedule good for ACC claimants

1 April 2004

New payments schedule good for ACC claimants

ACC claimants will have better access to affordable treatment due to changes in fees paid to treatment providers, which came into effect today, ACC Minister Ruth Dyson has announced.

Cabinet approved regulations enabling wide-ranging changes in payments in December after consultation with providers on some initial proposals.

The new fees schedule will include changes to ACC payments to dentists, nurses and doctors in general practice, counselling, and rural GPs. “The new fees represent the first increase of ACC payments to primary care treatment providers, in more than a decade, and it has been long overdue. The last changes were in 1992, when the National government cut fees by 15 per cent,” Ruth Dyson said.

For general practice, the increases are: An increase in payments to nurses working in general practice from $11 per hour to $15 per claimant visit and a new joint GP/nurse payment of $29. An increase in funding for a specified range of treatment materials used in general practice that better conforms to modern treatment procedures.

Payments to physiotherapists within the Endorsed Provider Network will be increased to between $36 and $79. As signalled in last year’s Budget, any claimant receiving phsyio treatment during normal working hours from an ACC-endorsed physiotherapist will not incur any charges other than for treatment materials used.

Payments for a selected range of dental treatment to claimants aged under 18 years have been increased.

To ease the level of co-payments claimants may have to make for counselling, ACC payments to counsellors will rise to $76.50 per hour from $56.25 and psychiatrists to $97.55 per hour from $78.75.

“This is excellent news for claimants for whom cost has been a barrier to rehabilitative treatment, and it will mean better access to treatment for many people,” Ruth Dyson said. “But this long-awaited review of treatment costs is just the beginning of ongoing reviews of ACC's regulations and its contribution to the costs of treatments.

“ACC levies have remained stable or have gone down in the last two years, and are low compared with overseas levies. I am committed to continue improving our scheme so that it remains a world leader in injury prevention, effective rehabilitation and fair compensation for all New Zealanders,” Ruth Dyson said.

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