Reducing Disparities in ACC Funding

This drawing was produced as part of our work to help reduce the disparities between people who receive ACC funding and those who don’t. While ACC is a world-leading state insurance scheme providing support for people with accidental injury, those who acquire similar impairments through non-accidental causes often experience significantly lower allocation of resources and support. This disparity of funding can manifest in a startling difference in a disabled person’s ability to have an equal opportunity to achieve their goals and aspirations.

To explain the drawing, we all start out on the ‘Happy Path’ however some of us are hit by the unexpected such as illness or injury, and find ourselves in need of care. While each person’s recovery is complex and very personal, funding can make a big difference. In the drawing, those who receive ACC funding track along the along the top of the hill toward ‘independent, confident, productive’. Those who received non-ACC funding take the lower path leading in some cases this can lead to people effectively being ‘disabled by the system’.

Recent research in New Zealand with people who have experienced spinal cord injury (Paul et al., 2013) or stroke (McAllister et al., 2013) has shown a difference in income, return to work rates and quality of life between those with the same level of impairment but on ACC and Non- ACC funding

BAIL would like to see:
• The provision of equitable support for disabled people with injury acquired through non-accident causes e.g. disease, illness, stroke etc (non-ACC) as is provided from accidental causes (ACC cover).
• The same measures used to assess benefits for people with non-accident injury (non-ACC) as ACC clients.
• Providing equitable care services for people non-accident injury (non-ACC) as is provided from accidental causes of injury (ACC cover).

Three potential initiatives for consideration are:
1. A Government task force or working group whose specific focus would be to identify pragmatic ways to begin reducing the disparity.
2. Increased value placed on rehabilitation services as a vital and necessary for people receiving non-ACC funding to the same level that those who receive ACC funding experience.
3. Creation of funding dedicated to research initiatives aimed squarely at better understanding the nature of the disparity and developing creative interventions to reduce this disparity.