More privacy breaches by ACC
Sun, 10 Jun 2012 5:09p.m.
By Brook Sabin
ACC has been caught sending private details to the wrong person again.
A 60 Minutes investigation into the Bronwyn Pullar saga uncovered details of the privacy breach – the latest of dozens of complaints directed at the besieged corporation.
She's in the eye of a political storm, but Bronwyn Pullar has not been seen.
She has maintained her own privacy, even after a leak exposed her as the whistleblower who revealed ACC had committed one of the biggest privacy breaches in New Zealand history.
Now in an exclusive 60 Minutes interview, she has spoken out about her decision to expose that ACC had sent her a file containing the private details of thousands of claimants.
“I think the thing with the file was that this was just a massive balls-up,” she says. “How could they send me a file with 7000 names in it and not be aware of it? But really, this issue was bigger than me.”
OPINION: Why didn’t Bronwyn Pullar give the file back?
The Privacy Commissioner received more than 60 complaints about alleged privacy breaches by ACC last year, including four major breaches.
3 News can reveal that in yet another one, the personal details of a significant number of other people were sent to a claimant when he requested his own file.
But the man who received the information is too afraid to go public because he feels bullied by ACC.
News of another breach does not surprise Ms Pullar.
Minister for ACC, Judith Collins, said in a statement to 60 Minutes, "I cannot emphasise enough how seriously I view recent privacy-related issues.
"At this stage, I am not yet satisfied ACC's privacy provisions and protocols are appropriate, or are being complied with to the level they should be."
As the pressure continues to mount on ACC's bosses, a slew of inquiries into its privacy woes continues.
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16/09/2012 9:37:34 a.m.
My 13yr old son was diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury from a double impact head injury (two blows in 24hrs) last year, He would sleep for 16hours a day, had a headache for 12 months, and his memory was very poor, We had amazing support from our GP, School, Active Rehab and Southern Regional Health School, We were referred by ACC to Dr DePlessis in Dunedin, He was so arrogent, and disgusting, He stated in his letter that my son was not behaving like someone with a headache, he told my son he needed urgent psychiatric treatment to deal with the death of his father that happened 7 years earlier and he should have returned to school after 7-10days of his injury, because thats how long a head injury lasts for, In the GP notes our GPs comments on DePlessis report was "a very unusual letter" Our GP had seen my son each week, for the first three months, He monitored any change, He could see each week that my son would sit in his room, glassy eyed and in lala land, A TBI most definitely lasts for longer than a week!! It took just over 12 months for my son to recover,
12/09/2012 12:53:13 p.m.
Not surprised wrote:
I am only surprised it has taken this long for this practice to be exposed. Three years spent fighting ACC - one assessor with a diploma in sports medicine assessed a brain injury..hilarious. Would you take your car to a hairdresser to diagnose an engine fault? Hang in there if you believe you are right.
11/09/2012 11:22:10 a.m.
good work 60 minutes on finally being able to expose acc and there nightmarish proceedure they put their claimants through. i am at present going through there process and have been for last three years i have seen alot of the doctors that get flown around they just keep sending you to them until they get the answers they want the acc case managers treat the clients like criminals just keep on harassing anyways excellent job.
11/09/2012 10:45:20 a.m.
gael avery wrote:
help me,I have been through 3 lots of rehabilitation and back to work planning, I had no idea of the legislation of after 3 years of no longer being under the threat of rehabilitation consistently.Because of the threat to being cut off by ACC, I have continued with all their requests and have done so dutifully.Nothing has changed and if anything as i have aged my position is getting worse, and I cannot even work part time as i never know when my situation will flare up as it does on a day by day basis.I have long term nerve damage and Medical misadventure to my spine and have chronic pain every day.I am a long term claimant and have had to prove myself with ACC, over and over at huge cost, with my own specialists for problems which they knew existed, until they compensated me. I now rung my recent case manager one of 9 I have had, to request pyshotherapy to get through my insecurity and lack of trust which is impacting on my future and my life with my husband whom is now retired.I have been turned down for this before, as why would ACC pay for the trauma that i live with day by day.I can associate with Frank, as I have been doctor shopped but always return to my operating specialist which i have to pay for myself.I suggest anyone in my position request their own specialist comments, before attending such shopping doctors, and would advise a lawyer to be involvled in this process.
10/09/2012 11:30:27 p.m.
I was drawn to watch the 60 minutes story about ACC on Sunday night, I applaud the professionalism and the investigative reporting by the journalist responsible.
In spite of this I was uneasy at the response by ACC’s representative Doctor Peter Janssen and the medical expert Dr du Plessis, their platitudes and generalizations while appeasing to a few, were a mere avoidance of the questions being asked of them.
I believe that the journalist, on a number of occasions, came close to trapping and embarrassing ACC and their medical expert but unfortunately through no fault of her own ACC were able to merge and confuse two different levels of claimant and avoid the resultant conclusion.
It is my interpretation of the relevant law and policy of ACC that a claimant becomes a long term claimant after they have been “on the books” for a period greater than 6 months and, as is relevant for this level of claimant, up until a period of 3 years is completed. During this time the claimant is placed into a RIS unit where they are subjected to rigorous rehabilitation and the accompanying necessary assessments to enable as many claimants as possible to be rehabilitated. The criticism of this in the 60 minutes story is poignant and very relevant.
Under the ACA 2001 there is, in general terms, a time limit of 3 Years for vocational rehabilitation.
The second level of claimant is the old terminology of a “Long Term Claimant” these were claimants who had significant injuries and had been assessed by experts and ACC’s own “medical Panel”, as being permanently incapacitated and likely to remain with ACC until retirement. These claimants were also placed into RIS units and are often subjected to the same rigorous rehabilitation and assessments, this is in spite of having passed the 3 year legislative limit for vocational rehabilitation and having a received a decision from ACC that they will no longer be subjected to assessments.
It is my information that there were originally circa 14000 of these second level “Long Term Claimants” through invalid reassessments this has now been reduced to about 6500, a list of these remaining claimants was inadvertently sent to one claimant, Ms Pullar.
I am one of these second level claimants and I have been battling with ACC over these very same issues for 3 years.
10/09/2012 8:15:37 p.m.
Tonight I recapped the 60 minutes video of last night and can compare exactly what has happened to me in the last month. For 7 years the cause of my accident was accepted by ACC as being the result of my current condition. Since my assessment a few weeks ago, the diagnosis was changed drastically by the assessor I was forced to see by ACC. I was not as fortunate to be assessed by Dr Victor du Plessis, but was forced by my case manager Stephanie Crosland (who has been absolutely useless) to be assessed by a worse Hatchet Man, Dr Nick Yarnell, who was flown in from Cromwell to assess me in Manukau - and I live on the North Shore?!! This guy was rude and intimidating and had made his mind up before he interviewed me because he had been given all the confidential records regarding my case. I had requested my case manager to supply an assessor closer to my residence and was threatened that if I did not attend, that I would lose my compensation with immediate effect! The outcome was obvious, because that's what these preferred ACC assessors get paid for - ACC Dr Peter Janssen has informed them to get rid of 1150 clients per year and their sole job is to maintain this exit strategy! Why was an assessor in Auckland who is equally qualified to do assessments not approached? I am sure there would be a competent treatment provider in the region rather than spending the taxpayers' money the cost of flying ACC's preferred assessors in from the South Island?? Because these guys employed by ACC provide favourable reports required by ACC! Outsiders stand little or no chance whatsoever!! I have requested a review and will be fighting this as this will probably be my last resort before I lose my house and my self esteem........
Would appreciate 60 Minutes or Campbell Live following up on Dr Nick Yarnell too - I will be available to be contacted should it be required.
10/09/2012 4:40:31 p.m.
ACC and the Government are involved in an evil conspiracy to deny people their lawful entitlements. The law prevented me from seeking compensation and lost salary from my employer after an accident at work, because ACC are supposed to provide support. ACC refused to pay me resulting in losing my wife and children, bankruptcy and the loss of my home and all possessions. Finally after years I won in court and ACC had to pay me weekly compensation - too little and too late. Then, a parade of 'specialists', the stress of repeating my life story over and over again knowing that my current life and income depended on what these people had to say. The threat to my now modest life is constantly being threatened by even more 'specialist' assessments. Previous reports have clearly reported that my condition is permanent, incurable, untreatable, and caused by the accident. Yet here I go again to yet another 'specialist' assessment. When some 'health professional' on their payroll finally gives them what they want I will be destitute again no doubt, living with daily pain and incapacity and with no income. Even on what I get now I cannot afford to get my teeth fixed. My injuries are permanent, and yet ACC require me to sign a 'rehabilitation plan' which details what I am doing to fix myself and get 'back to work' with a finite date for when this is to be achieved. If I don't sign it, I get cut off for not playing by their rules. It is ridiculous - there is no hope of recovery, but still they demand 'rehabilitation' and a date for returning to work. Evil evil bastards run by an evil and corrupt government. That prick on tv who wouldn't answer questions ; when I am again left destitute I will find him. I can function for a few hours on painkillers - I will find him where ever he is, at his home or at his work, day or night, and I will see that he gets the picture.You cannot imagine the constant stress and insecurity caused by their endless quest to avoid paying.
10/09/2012 4:35:46 p.m.
I was under ACC and my treatment was stopped after the doctor decided that my pain was from an unknown origin. I actually needed surgery as the joint of a bone in my hand had been broken, in the end I needed more complicated surgery as arthritis set into the damaged area while I was waiting for surgery in the public health system. I went to review and was turned down because the "read code" issued to my injury said I had a sprain. I was told that I was lucky to get any support from ACC by the reviewer. the whole thing is a joke and the only people who benefit are those doctors who work for ACC as medical reviewers! Thank you for Melanie Reid for a well documented story!
10/09/2012 3:41:11 p.m.
Daren Benson wrote:
In 12/04/2006 while working as a sales representative for a steel company I endeavoured to help left a bundle of steel off a truck which had arrived at my company premises and in doing so severely injured my lower back .
After discovering over time my back injury that I had incurred that day was not improving and was severely affecting my ability to return to work and function normally before this work related accident it was decided that I should apply for ACC as my ability to work was directly related to the accident of lifting steel on the 12/04/2006
After a drawn out process of applying for assistance from ACC It was accepted by ACC that my ability to not work was directly related to my work place accident on 12/04/06 and therefore I was accepted onto ACC and proceeded to receive weekly ACC payments until in 16/09/2009 when a decision made by ACC after sending me to a ACC appointed Doctor who in his opinion after seeing me decided I was fit and able to return to full time employment and so then therefore not eligible for any more assistance and/or weekly payments from ACC
The ACC Doctors opinions which caused me to be thrown off ACC went against all my medical history and was the most unethical examination that I have ever received . The Doctor was openly aggressive to myself and my Wife in the interview and repeatly told myself and my wife he was not interested in having circular conversation with us in relation to us disputing the facts of my condition and stopped his recorder in the interview if we put up any opposite opinions on my ability to work or if we disagreed with his opinion on my ability to work. His questions were loaded and when it came to a physical examination of my back injury I was asked to sit on a examination table with my legs dangling over the side where he then in turned tapped my knees twice and at no time did he examine the area of my back where the pain consisted.
A ACC decision following the ACC appointed Doctor meeting was made on the 16th September 2009 which concluded i was able to return to work and therefore all ACC weekly payments and any ACC appointed help ceased from this point onwards.
I requested a review on the ACC decesion and the review decided that the ACC decision on the 16th of September 2009 was incorrect and was quashed by consent on the 10th May 2010 review 164751
Regardless of been able to overturn the ACC decision that I was well and able to return to work but was in fact still suffering from severe pain and injury directly related to my Back Injury in 12/04/2006 which made it impossible for me to function well effort to do any form of work I was thrown off ACC .
I had to then apply to go on the the Sickness Benefit where it was accepted from my Medical notes that I qualified to receive the Sickness Benefit
To this day I am still receiving a Sickness Benefit and require a large range of daily medication to try and control severe back pain directly related to my injury in 12/04/2006 and I still suffer to function because of this physical condition and am very limited in my actions.
I find this situation is very unjust and wrong
I feel cheated and hacve struggled to survive and convince people around me that my situation is real and that I DO HJAVE A INJURY which severely affects me day to day ../Why would I throw away my future and pretend
10/09/2012 9:25:13 a.m.
I watched this on Acc as I too am on Acc and have been for 11years due to a medical misadventure. Long story short I still suffer with the pain still take horrendous amounts of pain killers which are dibilitating in themselves but find that i also suffer from trauma panick attacks each and every time I'm forced to see these so called specialists for the reviews and you correctly stated that Acc will keep sending clients till they get the outcome they need to get them off their books and yes their bullying has left me to the point of wanting to end it all. the battle is too great to fight on a daily basis especially when we (the clients) are fighting our own battle with cause effect consequence of the injury that we each and everyone of us have to face for the long term. What we don't need is to be bullied , badgered by the Corporation that is supposed to be there for us. Seems to me they practice all 'care ' no responsibility and don't really care about their clients needs we are but numbers and dollar spent on a spread sheet.
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