When I moved to New Zealand I soon found out how fortunate the citizens here are to have this system in place and the big draw card is that acupuncture is covered by ACC for most accident related injuries. Acupuncture and ACC has been in place since the early 1990’s and was originally signed off in parliament by Helen Clark. Acupuncture NZ formerly known as the New Zealand register of Acupuncturists now has over 800 members throughout the country including of course practitioners such as myself at The Acupuncture Clinic.
Most injuries are covered including back sprain, tennis elbow and knee injuries such as cruciate ligament strain. In order to receive acupuncture from an accredited ACC treatment provider the patient initially needs to have the injury recorded with ACC through their doctor. The doctor will record how the injury happened, where and when and then allocate a special number to the patient which is sent in the mail to the patient. As long as the injury is less than a year old, the patient will be able to claim acupuncture treatment with ACC. If the injury is more than a year old the practitioner will have to apply to ACC to have treatment approved.
The acupuncturist can use that number for ACC invoicing purposes. A surcharge or co-payment is also required at the time of the consultation.
Depending on the injury, ACC will cover up to as many as 16 treatments and after that if need be, further acupuncture sessions may be applied for through ACC and the practitioner.
During the course of treatment the practitioner will monitor progress and record changes in the condition. I usually send a report letter to the patient’s GP after about 6 sessions and if the case requires, recommend further X-rays or other tests.
Many patients request that I also treat their other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or insomnia while I treat their injury but unfortunately this is not allowed under the ACC Act. I can only treat the specific injury allocated to that ACC number. I recommend that after the course of ACC acupuncture, to have private sessions to treat any other underlying health problems.
Under the ACC acupuncturist scope of practise ruling, accredited acupuncturists can use acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping and Tui na. Tui Na is a style and technique of Chinese massage specific to the treatment of injuries.
All practitioners at The Acupuncture Clinic use a multi faceted approach in the treatment of injuries incorporating acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping and Tui Na if required.