by Kevin Hague
As you scan this list, please reflect on the fact that every one of these reminds me of issues other claimants have brought to me, and are endorsed by claimant organisations, lawyers and service providers who deal with ACC on a regular basis. And ask yourself if it is okay for this catalogue of issues to go uninvestigated (except for the privacy ones), as Government intends.
Legislation, Guidelines & Code Breaches by ACC:
1. Repeated non disclosure of correspondence regarding Bronwyn’s claim when requested.
2. Extensive disclosure of other claimant’s information to Bronwyn
3. No ability to restrict unauthorised access by 2500+ ACC staff and contractors to files, or medical files
4. Medical records (considered in law to be the most sensitive of personal information) are not given protection which is appropriate to their status and are treated as general documents.
5. Lack of procedure around dealing with statements of correction to incorrect reports
6. Threats of legal action against Bronwyn’s GP for refusing to disclosure non-injury information. Misuse of criminal provisions in ACC legislation.
7. Collection of information for an unlawful purpose
8. False written and oral statements by ACC staff with the purpose of unlawfully procuring medical reports for pecuniary purposes.
9. Defamatory statements by ACC employees
10. Exceeding lawful powers by investigating injuries for which no claim has been made.
11. Derogatory emails by ACC staff
12. Excessive Access to Bronwyn’s files – 1948 accesses within 3 ½ years, by about 150 different individuals, of which 1100 were in a single one year period.
13. Staff accessing files against management instructions
14. ACC167 Consent – used to coerce claimant’s into authorising otherwise unlawful collections of information.
15. Collection of personal information without claimant’s knowledge &/or attempted collection without knowledge
16. Collection and attempts to collect information unrelated to injury/claim
17. Imbalanced and biased decision making by Corporation
18. Covert/inappropriate communication to assessors which bias & negatively influence outcomes against claimants
19. Decision making without reviewing EOS
20. Lack of workability of electronic medical file for lawfully compliant decision making
21. Coercion, Harassment & Bullying, Unreasonable approach in management of claims. Use of threats of disentitlement to coerce
22. Dictatorial approach of Case Managers, failure to make reasonable accommodations for claimant needs.
23. “cherry picking” of unfavourable phrases from medical reports which contradict the ultimate conclusion.
24. ACC abusing its monopoly position by limiting the pool of qualified medical assessors to a select group (some individuals assessors are paid up in excess of $1 million annually for services), leading to the appearance of bias and unfair market practises.
25. Failure to demand adherence of staff to State Services Code of Conduct and to take appropriate action for breach
26. Failure of Office of Complaints Investigator to independently investigate complaints
27. Failure of Office of Complaints Investigator to follow a reasonable process when conducting investigations
28. Failure of Office of Complaints Investigator to validate the responses provided by ACC with the claimant for accuracy
29. ACC’s case management approach to Bronwyn is disruptive and destructive of her ability to rehabilitate/work part-time
30. ACC staff deliberately lying and writing false reports
31. ACC staff making clinical decisions without appropriate qualification
32. ACC staff making clinical assessments without medical competency
33. Deliberate interference in independent medical assessments
34. Prejudicial correspondence with independent assessors prior to assessments communicating ACC’s desired outcome – that injuries are spent &/or due to non-injury causes
35. Provision of unqualified, non-specialist opinions, by ACC internal medical advisors, contradicting existing specialist advice, prejudicing independent assessors and compromising their independence
36. Branches/Units having Case Managers who made an initial decision then conduct an administrative review of a matter before being sent to DRSL for review
37. Taking advantage of disabled claimants for actuarial/financial gain
38. Poor decision making which adds cost to the Corporation
39. Poor OCI processes which adds cost to the Corporation
40. Lack of flexibility over assessments/appointments/referrals
41. Lack of reasonable consultation and flexibility over assessments/ appointments/referrals
42. Unreasonable referrals/assessments processes which are exploitative e.g., chaperones, multi-party assessments, lack of privacy & dignity;
43. Focus on avoiding liability at the expense of effective early rehabilitation
44. ‘Silo’ culture where case managers are unaware of ACC’s own research into rehabilitation best practice
45. Constant churn of case managers – each new case manager is unaware of the medical evidence on file leading to poor decision making and is unaware of claimant’s issues; Avoidance strategy for accountability of actions.