INDEPENDENT NEWS

Rehabilitation – Only If You Pay Your Share

Published: Thu 17 Jun 2010 10:59 AM
Rehabilitation – Only If You Pay Your Share
ACC is changing its rules for people with noise-damaged hearing – you will get rehabilitation if you can afford to pay your share, says the National Foundation for the Deaf.
Under rules being rammed through a limited consultation process, people will get funding from ACC only for the portion of their hearing loss it says is caused by injury. Claimants will have to pay the rest.
“This means people who do not have potentially a few thousand dollars in the bank to pay part-charges will not get rehabilitation at all,” says NFD CEO Louise Carroll.
“This is a callous accounting exercise that is based on poor projections, poor science, and poor thinking.
“You can’t get half a hearing aid.”
Mrs Carroll said ACC already had a rigorous assessment process that rejected more than 40 percent of all claims for noise-damaged hearing, and those that ACC accepted were bona fide injuries.
“ACC is not paying for non-injury conditions. That’s a fiction. It is paying for hearing aids and audiology fees to rehabilitate an injury. Collateral benefit to the claimant is at no extra cost to ACC,” she said.
“If ACC accepts a claim for a damaged shoulder and that person already has some age-related problem with the shoulder, ACC does not expect the claimant to pay for part of their treatment.
“To treat hearing damage differently is discriminating against a particular group and it is wrong.”
Mrs Carroll said ACC’s projections of future claims were based on outdated figures, while scientists said it was not possible to reliably assign percentages to age-related loss or other conditions.
“The people who will be especially hard-hit by this are those on limited incomes, especially the elderly, and they are ramming this through with minimum consultation,” she said.
“ACC is saying – ‘we will provide rehabilitation but only if you can pay your share’. We can’t accept that.”
ENDS

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