Monday, July 18, 2005

ACC reaches a new nadir

The Accident Compensation Corporation is supposed to provide New Zealanders with public-funded insurance against accidents in the workplace and at home. unfortunately, over the years, they seem to have been infected with a desire to maximise their profits by screwing their customers, using every trick in the book to avoid or reduce payouts to claiments, no matter how well justified the claim. but today, they really have hit a new nadir: forging a claiment's signature to avoid paying out.

The person responsible came forward and admitted it six months ago, and ACC has done nothing. She has not been disciplined, and ACC has not apologised. This simply is not good enough. They owe their client an apology, but more than that, they need to change the toxic internal culture which leads case managers to go to such lengths. And if they are unwilling to do so, the Minister should sack the CEO and install someone who will.


Agreed - ACC are a public disgrace but most New Zealanders don't care about their antics - until they have an injury and are on the receiving end of some very rough treatment. Labour promised a fairer ACC scheme in its 1999 election campaign but have not delivered. This is partly due to political cowardice, after the "business community" threatened a capital strike in 2000, but also due to ACC management behaving like feudal barons, answerable to no one. Labour's failure to control its officials has been its Achilles heel in in its term of office and it will pay dearly this election.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/18/2005 09:55:00 PM

Interesting. If the situation was reversed and ACC had discovered the client had falsified a document, they'd be dragging his ass through the courts by now.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/18/2005 09:57:00 PM

Psycho: Arguably that is exactly what should be happening to the case manager. They committed fraud, the legal sticking point may be that it was ACC who profited, rather than them.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 7/18/2005 11:07:00 PM

ACC boss Gary Wilson told a claimant representative group a year or so ago that any employee who was caught out in any wrong doing would be sacked.

What is happening now is that employees have been identified in wrong doing - but havent been "officially" caught out.

This is not the first, fifth or 10th time an ACC employee has been found out - and it won't be the last, either. Dyson knew about this and is only asking for an apology as the media has found out.

Posted by Swimming : 7/18/2005 11:38:00 PM

So ACC really is above the law?

Posted by Unknown : 7/19/2005 12:04:00 PM

Yes, it is above the law. The Judges defer to the executive constantly, particularly if the people arguing they have been shafted by a state agency are poor or vulnerable. Our legal system does not appear to see the provision of justice as one of its functions.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/19/2005 12:31:00 PM

It is *our* money they're being tight with though!

Having had recent experience of a friend claiming from ACC, I think they aren't as bad as all that in most cases. Certainly much better than having to sue or claim on personal insurance.

I do think that the current system of having 80% of previous wages paid until you're fit again invites, if not abuse, then a natural desire to take an extended rest.

Maybe a lump sum for most cases would be simpler and fairer. A "no-claims-bonus" would be good too - and might deter young hoons if they know their rego goes up to $500 if they have an accident.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/19/2005 01:08:00 PM

Why is the forger not being prosecuted?

Posted by Unknown : 7/19/2005 02:49:00 PM

My mother is an ACC case manager, and there are some who she works with who are zealous in their role. But really, she is bound by what she can authorise by the law, not by any inner ACC culture. She used to have quite a lot of descretion when it came to her work, but all of that has been reduced by new ACC laws.

On top of that, if ACC doesn't do it's job as cost effectively as possible they will just be privatised, as per when National was last in power. And _then_ you can really kiss goodbye any real accident insurance.

You want to hassle ACC, then look at their legislation, because that's what hampers them.

Posted by Muerk : 7/19/2005 05:04:00 PM

How can a public servant forge a member of the public's name and not face any consequeces in law?

This is dangerous ground.

Posted by Unknown : 7/19/2005 06:04:00 PM

"Our" money is being spent on ACC's toady assessors, who write the most awful bullshit, which ACC then uses to screw claimants. In the old days (before the 4th Labour government) ACC actually used to provide rehabilitation to people. Administrative costs were much lower then, too. What went wrong? The New Right decided to shift the costs of personal injuries onto the victims and their families. The suffering inflicted by ACC bureaucrats, and their friends in the medical and legal professions, is immense.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/19/2005 07:19:00 PM

muerk, you dont know what you are talking about - I used to work in ACC for six years, I am aware of the legislation and the culture. ACC has a militant management (I've met them ) and the legislation protects individual case managers being charged with offences, meaninlg ACC as a body is responsible - meaning of course, that nobody is responsible.

Cost effectiveness is about laws, it is also about culture. Problem is that the ACC culture overrides the law and the Minister knows that but does not wat to get involved as it is an operational matter.

Posted by Swimming : 7/19/2005 11:54:00 PM

Actually, only 12% of ACC spending is on operating costs (assessors & so forth) - the rest goes on claims. Like most public bodies.

My mate broke his leg. Because the job he wanted to do couldn't be done with a wonky leg, he was able to sit at home doing nothing, instead of finding a job that he *could* do.

If he had found a job, his substantial payments would have been stopped. I don't think it's a good thing to encourage people to do nothing.

Which is why I think a lump sum - e.g. 3 months pay for a broken leg would be not unreasonable. Most countries, including ones with a more generous welfare state than NZ, if you have an accident and can't find anyone to sue, you're on your own or down to sickness benefit.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/20/2005 12:42:00 PM

Maybe I should email Ruth and ask her why there will be no prosecution for the forger...but then, why should I do that?

I don't trust them or their thugs Baycorp, they have a creepy feel about them, like the IRD used to. They are obviously above the law and that's why the no-sue rule. How many other servants accidently filled in forms for claimants, and how would we know? If they did what message does this send to ACC forgers...and for whom and why did they forge? Themselves, to reach targets? For their boss? The more I think about this the more I am deeply disturbed, no-one seems to be accountable, but worse they seem to be vindictive abusers of power.

It is a dangerous path we tread when the Rule of Law is foresaken.

Posted by Unknown : 7/20/2005 01:34:00 PM

yes this person can be charged both by the police and in civil law.
Also rehab is non exsistant in acc at the present and most of acc funds are invested and not spent on claiments at all. Anyone who has had any dealing with Acc know of the nazi atitude and downright unlawful way in which they deal with there clients (stock as they call them)

Posted by Anonymous : 7/20/2005 06:57:00 PM

That boken leg story a few coments up is a load of crap.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/20/2005 07:00:00 PM

Just though Id advise that I actually know the advocate concerned. What the Herald wrote was only half the story.
Dyson will not bee seeking an apology, the person alleged to have signed the IRP had full support of her manager who did not want to take it further.

Posted by Swimming : 7/22/2005 09:34:00 PM

Is the manager still working for ACC?

Posted by Unknown : 7/25/2005 09:51:00 AM