C). WORK AND INCOME’S CONTRACTED WORK ABILITY ASSESSMENT (WAA) PROVIDERS
C.1.: New Zealand Doctor publishes details of WAA contractors
On 02 April 2014 the ‘New Zealand Doctor’ magazine did publish an article on the newly appointed “work ability assessment” providers that MSD and Work and Income have entered contracts with. Nowhere else in the media was there any report to be found with these details. The names of the 15 private, supposedly “independent” providers were published. The list included the following providers for the mentioned regions:
• APM Workcare – National
• Catapult Employment Services Trust – Canterbury
• Company Medic – Northland
• ECS Connections Ltd – Taranaki, Central
• Enableworks Ltd – Canterbury
• Linkage Limited (Wise Group) – Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Central, Wellington, Canterbury
• Mana Recovery Trust – Wellington
• OTRS Group Ltd – Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty
• PhysioACTION Ltd – Auckland
• ProActive Rehab – Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, East Coast Taranaki, Central, Wellington
• Southern Rehab (plus ProActive Rehab) – Nelson, Canterbury, Southern
• Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority – Taranaki
• WALSH Trust – Auckland
• Wayne Hudson Physiotherapy Ltd – East Coast
• WorkRehab Ltd – Nelson, Canterbury, Southern.
These are links to the websites with relevant information on the contractors involved, and it is highly interesting and revealing, what these providers are actually all about and specialised in:
http://www.catapult.org.nz/ and http://www.catapult.org.nz/about
(so far only has a P.O. Box address!)
http://nz-companies.com/wayne-hudson-physiotherapy-limited.307761.review and http://www.workrecovery.co.nz/consultants.html (little info available on this company) http://www.workrehab.net.nz/
Details found on the Work Ability Assessment (WAA) providers
Upon doing some research or investigation of these so-called new “independent” ‘Work Ability Assessment’ providers that MSD and WINZ appear to have contracted, it becomes apparent, that these are not really and simply medical or rehabilitation assessment providers who are truly independent, or without any vested self interest in prospective future “business”.
The vast majority of them are not doctor’s practices, psychologist’s clinics, or actual physical and mental health assessment providers. They are indeed rather REHABILITATION and EMPLOYMENT PLACEMENT agencies and organisations, most clearly run as proper businesses in that field. Hence they will be anything but truly independent, or without any conflicts of interest, because they have a strong interest in finding referred WINZ client as “fit” to do some forms of work, to then offer them some “needed” rehabilitation measures, and to then also try to place them into any “suitable” kind of jobs as they may see it, all for nice fees paid by MSD or WINZ.
Most have so far not even set up proper, separate assessment services that could be used for WINZ commissioned assessments. What some of them appear to have been offering so far have only been internal types of assessments, for their own patient/client evaluation for the purpose of preparing the delivery of client focused rehabilitation services. Only some appear to have been doing assessments for selected employers, but not simply as an independent, outsourced assessor as a third party – solely for assessment delivery. It all seems to be linked to rehabilitation services. Some of the providers have also been providing assessment and rehabilitation services to ACC, and at least some anecdotal evidence suggests, that they are not considered to act that “neutrally” and not without own interests at heart. Also do hardly any of these have any proper or sufficient experience with – and emphasis on – mental health conditions clients do suffer. Clearly the public and the affected must feel being misled by MSD re the stated purpose of them delivering “independent work ability assessments”!
This can hardly be called an “independent”, outsourced “work ability assessment” program that MSD and WINZ are starting, it is simply a gradual employment preparation and placement service for sick and disabled clients, who WINZ staff (e.g. Regional Health Advisers and Regional Disability Advisers) may view as not seriously ill or disabled enough, to exclude them from work expectations.
There is more detailed, revealing information on each single contracted provider listed above provided in Part ‘F).’ toward the end of this study!