ACC funding for Allied Health

ACC funding has recently been extended to include Rongoa Māori practitioners, however other registered allied health professions, such as Paramedics, are not directly funded as treatment providers. 

ACC funding should be changed to allow "registered health professionals" to provide and claim for treatment provision, instead of individually listing each profession. This creates a barrier for organisations to hire allied health providers as there is limited funding. Reducing the available pool of workers, and restricting diversity and opportunity for New Zealand based health professionals. 

It also creates an unintended barrier to accessing care for communities. 

Why the contribution is important

We have critical shortages in areas such as aged care and after-hours providers. If funding was opened to allow allied health providers to work in these environments then it could expand the capacity of communities to deliver care. As an example, Paramedics are not funded as ACC treatment providers, but ambulance services (who hire and utilise paramedics) are funded by ACC.

PRIME (primary response in medical emergencies) is funded by ACC and paramedics train nurses and doctors to do paramedic work in rural areas, but will not directly fund paramedics to be PRIME responders.

If Paramedics were funded to be treatment providers by ACC it would mean rural areas could utilise Paramedics to provide primary care and help fill primary care gaps in rural communities and allow the provision of after hours care (which is desperately needed in our healthcare system). 

This same principal applies to many other registered health professions. Microcredentialling is easy to replicate to train allied health workers to provide services currently ring-fenced to nursing and medical practitioners. We have already seen during the pandemic utilisation of micro credentials for activities such as COVID swabbing and vaccination is safe, effective and a pragmatic way to increase the reach of our health care system. 

We need to view our current health care state with the same urgency and need as the pandemic. We are in a crisis and need to reduce unnecessary barriers to innovation within the healthcare sector and to increase funding and workforce opportunities to our primary care providers.

by carlton on November 03, 2022 at 08:10AM

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