New Zealanders with Low Back Pain Seeking Health Care: A Retrospective Descriptive Analysis of Accident Compensation Corporation-Funded Low Back Pain Healthcare Service Usage

Hill, Julia
Kay, Dylan
Gordon, Jacob
Niazi, Imran Khan
Saywell, Nicola
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Journal Article
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CSIRO Publishing

Introduction: Most New Zealanders experience low back pain (LBP) at least once throughout their lifetime and many seek help from the large range of health providers in primary care. Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) funds a significant proportion of those claims, but which services are they funding and what are the costs?

Method: This was a retrospective audit and descriptive analysis of ACC-funded, non-public hospital healthcare service use by people with LBP in New Zealand (NZ). Outcome measures were the healthcare services accessed by people with ACC-funded LBP,the claims (all occurrences for a service that has generated a payment/year), single contact (with a service), and costs (NZ$) for services between 2009 and 2020.

Results: The number of claims for services were 129 000 for physiotherapy, 105 000 for general practitioner and 59 000 for radiology services. Per single contact, elective surgery and radiology services were the most expensive. During 2009–2020, there were 3.3 million ACC claims for LBP with a total cost of NZ$4 billion. Over this time, there was an increase in claims, costs and single contacts. Costs decreased slightly during 2010 due to changes in healthcare funding and in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Discussion: Consumers have considerable choice in where they access health care for ACC-funded LBP services. This study shows the services they use most frequently and the cost to NZ for those services. These data can inform service planning for ACC-funded LBP health care in NZ.

4201 Allied Health and Rehabilitation Science , 4203 Health Services and Systems , 42 Health Sciences , Health Services , Pain Research , Chronic Pain , Clinical Research , 8.1 Organisation and delivery of services , 8 Health and social care services research , 3 Good Health and Well Being , 1110 Nursing , 1117 Public Health and Health Services , 4203 Health services and systems
Journal of Primary Health Care, ISSN: 1172-6156 (Print), CSIRO Publishing. doi: 10.1071/hc23010
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