What if ACC didn’t cover initial visits?

If I had personal accident insurance and was offered a lower premium if I wasn’t covered for the first visit or two to a doctor of physiotherapist I’d take it.

I wonder how many people get ACC for just one or two consultations. I suspect it’s a significant number in which case requiring us to pay for the first couple of consultations might make a significant difference to the costs of the scheme.

I don’t see any problems with visits to GPs and physios but there could be a problem with hospital emergency departments.

At the moment treatment there for injuries which result from accidents are paid for by ACC not the general health vote. If ACC no longer covered those initial visits there would be a huge political backlash if people were required to pay for public hospital treatment, but if they weren’t charged then people would go to EDs with injuries which could be treated by GPs.

But if someone can see a way round this then removing ACC cover from those initial consultations might be part of the solution to the large hole in the budget.

Apropos of the ACC problems: Macdoctor says it’s Not Free; Keeping Stock attacks Labour for its part in the ACC dilemma; and Lou Taylor has worked out what ACC stands for

3 Responses to What if ACC didn’t cover initial visits?

  1. wino says:

    I agree! Most of my dealings with ACC have been of the ‘couple of stitches in the kid’ variety. Husband does the occasional line in ‘metal in the eye’ though I think he finally invested in a decent pair of safety glasses. There is no reason for ACC to cover these one or two visit accidents and produce the endless letters and other timewasting things – lets just hand over the consultation fee and move on.

    On the other hand husband did some serious damage to his back a couple of years ago and had some time on ACC. That process also needs some streamlining – whatever they paid to send him to a psychiatrist to check it wasn’t in his head would have been saved by checking his xrays for starters.


  2. macdoctor01 says:

    Not having ACC pay for the first consultation would ensure that Emergency departments are swamped with minor injuries. The only solution I can think of would be to bring back part charges, so that the ED is not free. Hospitals would have to be fairly ruthless about collecting these fees as the biggest problem with the last time was that people knew that the hospital was unlikely to chase the debt (unless it was large)

    Of course, the problem with part charges is that you will get the odd idiot who will not seek medical attention because he doesn’t think the 7cm laceration involving tendons and nerves on his hand is worth spending 20 or 30 buck on. Unfortunately, these people wind up costing ten times more in rehab and compensation.


  3. ZenTiger says:

    Snap. I think Emergency would be flooded. It already is misused as an alternate to a visit to a clinic.

    Charging up front is tricky, because the person might die whilst you haggle over the fact that they are skint, or as the good Mac says, oops, the good Dr. says, some idiot saves their money and spends ours in rehab.

    Perhaps some ranking system where people are held for 3-30 hours after treatment in a locked room for “observation” and we make the money in parking tickets or until they zap their credit card through the lock, or some-one bails them?


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