3 Important COVID-19 related ACC issues

Over the past few days the NZ Spinal Trust has become aware of the following 3 issues of concern to many ACC SCI Clients and following discussions with ACC we’re able to provide the following update (for ACC’s exact response –click here–):

1: Urgent need to get additional consumables (masks/gloves/gowns/etc.)
2: Changes required to Carer Support hours assessment based on need to self-isolate.
3: Direct funding so you can pay for emergency caregiving required if caregiver agency staff don’t come.

1: Urgent need to have additional consumables (masks/gloves/gowns/etc.)

[Updated 3/04/2020] ALL additional and new consumables that are required as a result of COVID-19 are being supplied from the Ministry of Health and distributed by your local DHB. This provision does NOT involve ACC.

So this means:

  1. If you have Agency caregivers: their PPE will be supplied by their Agency employer (hopefully within the next day or 2, if not already done so)
  2. If you employ/pay your caregivers direct: you need to contact your GP to get the required PPE. If the GP doesn’t know what’s going on, tell them to refer to the people named in this document (find your region): https://nzspinaltrust.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/DHB-GMs-Planning-and-Funding-PPE-contact-for-providers.pdf

A number of people have approached ACC to ask for changes to their consumables allocations/prescriptions based on the new extremely stringent hygiene requirements (and of course our much elevated risk!!). For the duration of the enforced COVID-19 isolation, ACC Case Managers & Support Coordinators have been advised that ACC will support these required changes for “… client is at risk of contracting COVID-19 due to compromised respiratory conditions, for example high level spinal injured clients…” i.e. us!

So if you need these things – quickly get hold of your ACC person. If you’d previously asked but been declined – ask again! [Removed 3/04/2020]

It is possible that there may be some shortages of these consumables so some flexibility/reasonableness may be required. However if anyone’s GP seems to be completely unable to source the required equipment, please let us know here at andrew.hall@nzspinaltrust.org.nz .


2: Changes required to Carer Support hours assessment based on need to self-isolate.

Now that you are self-isolating in order to stay safe, you may need additional ACC-funded Support Hours. If this is you then urgently email a request to Deb Watt at Debbie.Watt@acc.co.nz Head the email with “Request for additional care support during alert level 4” . In the email explain the rationale for the increased hours, then state the current hours of care and how many additional hours are needed.

Deb will then work with your Case Manager/Support Coordinator to set up payments to family members/support person or to increase the current approval if the your family member/support person is employed by an Agency.


3: Direct funding for emergency caregiving work required if caregiver agency staff don’t come.

With everything that’s going on, the likelihood that your Agency caregiver doesn’t come is higher. If they’re even remotely unwell, then we don’t want them coming and if it happens at short notice or the Agency is short of staff, then it just may be unavoidable – and you may not get much notice that this has happened – and it may go on for a longer period than when it sometimes happens now!

As we said in our advice item (COVID-19 Advice for people with SCI: #3: If you have Carers): “What if my Carer gets sick? YOU must ensure you have sufficient backup or a “Plan B” in case your regular Carer doesn’t show up for work. You may want to contact your care agency to discuss this but it is still wise to have a backup plan. This might involve family or whānau or friends or neighbours. Have their phone numbers readily available and the individuals briefed about the plan. Ultimately this is YOUR responsibility because despite their best efforts you may not be able to rely on the Agency or the DHB or the Government.

So in order to help you get your “Plan B” together, ACC have announced that they will refund to you any costs that you want to be able to pay your “Plan B” carers. They will pay this at what they call their “Current Non-Contract Rates” with different amounts for different types of work (hourly rate details are –here–).

So when you organise your back-up plan, you can also explain to the people you’re asking to help, that their work with you (if in fact it’s required – hopefully it won’t be!), will be paid for. Paid by you initially, but then you’ll be reimbursed by ACC.  You will need to get them to sign receipts when they’re paid (simply a piece of paper that says “I Jane Doe got paid $xxxx.xx on dd/mm/yyyy for doing xx hours work for Andrew Hall, signed: ____ “. Then you email Deb Watt at Debbie.Watt@acc.co.nz, with the email heading “Request for reimbursement for funded support during COVID-19”.  Deb will require the receipts and or invoices you may have so these could be scanned in (if you’ve got a scanner at home) or photographed and attached to the email. Also in the email put the details of the dates and hours covered and by whom and (really important!) the name of the provider who was unable to provide the usual care. You may have to post the receipts/invoices snail mail if scanning/photographing doesn’t work. Deb Watt will work with your Case Manager or Support Coordinator to pay the agreed reimbursement.

If anyone has any queries or concerns about this please first contact your ACC person and if still not sorted contact us at the NZ Spinal Trust.

Also remember useful COVID-19 details –here–

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