Despite Māori having the poorest health of any group in New Zealand, and Māori missing out on crucial Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) services, the system is failing them by excluding Māori organisations from providing care to Māori, according to a Statement of Claim by Lady Tureiti Moxon.
She believes the same themes of discrimination revealed in Stage One that led to the historic Hauora Report are likely to be a feature of Stage Two of the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry starting today before the Waitangi Tribunal in Wellington.
The Managing Director of Te Kōhao Health, a Māori provider in the Waikato, outlines in her claim that the needs of Māori are not being well served, that the ACC operating model is not fair and it must address the substantive inequality and inequity experienced by whānau.
Te Kōhao Health serves 9,000 enrolled whānau, 80 per cent of whom are Māori with high needs. Yet it only has 6 to 10 ACC home support clients at any one time due to a lack of referrals from the big companies, who Moxon believes are keeping clients for themselves.
This is in contrast with Te Kōhao Health’s overall home support client base of 300 clients with the capability of providing a high quality service to substantially more.
“For the past 17 years Māori providers like us have been squeezed and marginalised out of providing services for our own people. ACC has not contracted with any Māori group in the country and yet Māori have the highest statistics for ACC claims and injuries,” says Lady Tureiti Moxon.
Massive mainstream providers, like Geneva Healthcare with an annual $600M turnover and overseas operators have received the lion’s share of contracts instead, reports Moxon.
“Even in 2018 when all the Māori providers joined forces to form a consortium to bid for a contract we were basically dismissed. There were no discussions – and it led nowhere.”
The situation seems inexplicable when the ACC’s own responsiveness report (Evidence for Māori Underutilisation of ACC injury treatment and rehabilitation support services, 2015) states Māori have greater need but receive less ACC services.
“Whānau are not getting a choice – they have no idea that Māori providers like Te Kōhao Health can look after them, that there is an option to be cared for in their homes as whānau, by an organisation that understands them and tikanga Māori. We know if this happened there would be an improved uptake of the service and a reduction in disparity.”
Te Kōhao Health is one of two Māori providers of ACC home support in the Waikato and Moxon believes that Te Kōhao Health’s 6 to 10 home support clients are most or all of the Māori ACC clients who are receiving the option of home care from a Māori provider in the whole region.
Stage Two will start with a Judicial Conference before over 50 legal counsel and claimants to determine how the hearing will proceed.
Te Kōhao Health is represented by Ms Roimata Smail BA LLB Director of Smail Legal Limited.