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ACC must improve their decision-making

Press Release
Acclaim Otago (Inc)


ACC must improve their decision-making

“In the last 12 months, we have seen an increase in the number of people winning at both the review and appeal stage” says Dr Denise Powell, president of Acclaim Otago (Inc). “We are extremely concerned that ACC seems be making reckless decisions especially as they relate to the exiting of people from the long term claims pool”.

In the house today, Prime Minister John Key referred to the appropriate process available for people to challenge ACC decisions, that they believed to be incorrect. “What Mr Key is not acknowledging is the very real stress that having to fight for entitlement has on people.”

Dr Powell claims that a significant number of people who lose their entitlement don’t actually follow through with the review and appeal process because of physical, mental and financial restraints. “While technically ACC is correct when they say the review process is ‘free’, in reality it is a litigious environment. ACC has the use of taxpayer’s funds to hire outside legal representation, which they do, as well as having an in house legal team, which is blatantly unfair.”

The disentitled client on the other hand often has just lost their income and has to rely on family and friends to pay for legal representation. While costs can be awarded at both review and appeal, the levels of those are nowhere near what the actual costs are to have appropriate representation. Powell gives an example to illustrate her point, “We have a member who has just won back their entitlement to weekly compensation after pursuing justice through the review and appeal process. The legal bill amounted to over $30,000 and the emotional toll was huge. Unfortunately, such stories are all too common.”

ACC should be making robust decisions based on people’s clinical presentation and need rather than saying to clients, “ If you don’t like our decision you can take it to review” because in reality that process should not abdicate ACC from making good decisions in the first place,” Dr Powell concludes.


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