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ACC assessments also key for Sensitive Claimants

Problems with ACC assessments also key for Sensitive Claimants.

10th September, 2012

Press Release : New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists

Last night’s shocking expose on TV3’s 60 minutes showed how even “insiders” from ACC admit that a deliberate process of using medical assessors favourable to ACC has lead to a clear and dramatic increase in the “exit” of long term claimants from the ACC’s books.

This approach also continues to detrimentally affect survivors of sexual abuse and violence, or “sensitive claimants” says psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald:

“What was not widely reported with the release of the recent monitoring report of the Independent Clinical Review of the Sensitive Claims treatment pathway was how the ACC’s independent assessors are also preventing New Zealander’s accessing counselling.”

To access ongoing counselling, beyond sixteen support sessions, the client must have a cover determination report, or an external psychological assessment. This is usually conducted by an ACC appointed and contracted assessor.

“What is shocking is to me is that the report details that less than 4% of claims have been accepted based on these assessors reports, in 2011 and 2012. This is down from roughly 60% in 2008.” says MacDonald. “I believe this is further evidence of the cynical management detailed by 60 minutes. The idea that only 4 out of every hundred clients require more than four months of counselling to recover from sexual abuse and trauma makes no clinical sense.”

“It’s also clear that from the clinicians and clients I talk to that all the problems outlined with “hatchet” assessors, outlined in last nights report also apply to long term Sensitive Claimants and the ACC’s psychological and psychiatric assessments.”

The “Monitoring Report on the Recommendations from the Independent Panel’s Review of the ACC’s Sensitive Claims Treatment Pathway: 18 months follow up” was released on the 17th of July, 2012. The quoted statistics can be found on p. 29


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