If people have been declined cover for a surgical mesh-related injury as far back as the first of July 2005, from today they can get their claim re-looked at. The claim would be reviewed in line with a new ‘decision guidance’ which recognises up-to-date medical understanding of mesh injuries.
Mesh Down Under (MDU) also urges all New Zealanders who have been harmed by a surgical mesh injury and have not previously put in a treatment injury claim to ACC, to do so now.
Many men and women could be suffering from symptoms relating to a surgical mesh injury but may not have associated these symptoms with a mesh complication. The new guidance developed by ACC will now make it easier for health professionals to detect early on if patients could be suffering from mesh-related harm.
The guidance recently published by ACC was specifically for pelvic mesh injuries and ACC is currently finalising their hernia mesh injury guidance.
ACC will reassess all declined surgical mesh claims regardless of the type of mesh a patient has implanted.
In 2018, as part of the Shaping our Future Program, ACC revamped the claim management process with the intention of less complex claims being largely "self-managed" by claimants through an online portal group case management system.
However, ACC has confirmed that during this reassessment process those mesh injured claimants will be matched with an individual case owner. ACC has confirmed to MDU that claimants can choose to either stay with a dedicated individual case owner or move to the team management approach once the process has been completed.
Mesh Down Under is hopeful that more claims will be accepted for cover so that mesh injured patients are able to access the help they so desperately need.
Co-leader Patricia Sullivan says “We are thankful to ACC for undertaking this reassessment which was part of their “look back” commitment to the Ministry of Health’s ‘restoring the harm’ from the Restorative Listening process. Mesh injured patients have suffered enough for far too long. We will wait to see how many claim decisions are overturned or new claims accepted before we can say that this process has been a success”.
ACC advises anyone who wants more information or is interested in having their claim reassessed to:
- Contact the dedicated reassessment team on 0800 735 566, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Visit their GP – ACC can reimburse the cost of this appointment
- Discuss this with their medical specialist (if they are receiving specialist care) at an upcoming appointment
- Visit acc.co.nz/surgical-mesh to find out more