Thursday, January 23, 2014

A New Collection On The Audit Commission on the Health Sector. Need To Know.

First a reminder of the CEHA web site listing many, many submissions.

National Commission of Audit – some submissions related to healthcare

Go here:
You can spend ages reading all the views.
As for the new news from last week.
First we have:

GPs oppose insurers covering cost of visits for fear of switching

Date January 13, 2014

Dan Harrison

Health and Indigenous Affairs Correspondent

Doctors have expressed concern that proposals to allow private insurers to pay for GP visits might encourage people to change doctors, undermining continuity of care.
On Friday, Health Minister Peter Dutton opened the door to lifting the long-standing ban on private health insurers paying for GP services, sparking concerns from consumer advocates and health economists that a change could accelerate a shift to a two-tiered health system, where those who can afford private cover receive better care than those who cannot.
The nation's largest health insurer, Medibank Private, has been pushing for the change for several months, arguing that treating medical conditions earlier would reduce the need for more expensive hospital treatment later.
In November, the company began a trial with medical centre manager IPN in which six of its Brisbane medical centres provide Medibank members with enhanced GP services, including a guaranteed appointment within 24 hours and after hours home visits, for no out-of-pocket costs. Medibank is not paying IPN for the services directly but is contributing to ''administrative and management costs''.
Next we have:

Fee for service the future: expert

13 January, 2014 Nick O'Donoghue
Charging consumers a fee for services is likely to be a key part of the future of community pharmacy in Australia, a specialist business consultant believes.
Paul Rowe, managing director of The Business Squad, a pharmacy business sales and consulting firm, forecast the fee for service future for the profession in a comment posted on the Australian Pharmacists’ LinkedIn group page.
Mr Rowe’s comments came in response to an article published by Pharmacy News, in which John Bronger, PSA NSW branch president, and former Pharmacy Guild of Australia national president, warned that the profession was facing into a tough year.
“It’s as simple as this,” he said. “If pharmacy doesn’t embrace the ‘business’ of pharmacy, it is going to be a very tough year.”
Next we have:

Long overdue debate on Medicare a healthy thing

Date January 14, 2014

Terry Barnes

We must be prepared to think the unthinkable to ensure Medicare survives.
This month, a short paper I wrote for the Australian Centre for Health Research think tank, exploring the reintroduction of the Hawke government's 1991 modest co-payment for GP services - updated to $6 from the $3.50 of two decades ago - has created something of a stir.
Apparently, I'm single-handedly destroying an Australian national institution, Medicare. Alternatively, I'm a stalking horse for the coyly silent Abbott government, proposing what the federal Labor opposition labelled ''a tax on taking sick children to the doctor''. Suggesting a matching co-payment could be charged by public hospital emergency departments for GP-type services, to deter avoidance, raised further ire. ''Save Medicare'' rallies are being organised against what's merely an industry think tank proposal, not federal government policy.
Most of the news reports and commentary about the proposal have been critical. Two excellent articles, however, by The Age's economics editor Peter Martin and health academic Jennifer Doggett particularly deserve a respectful response.
Last we have:

Senate to grill audit chiefs on health rebate and negative gearing

Date January 13, 2014

Dan Harrison

Health and Indigenous Affairs Correspondent

Senators plan to question the Abbott government's commissioners of audit on proposals to slaughter the political ''sacred cows'' of the private health insurance rebate and the negative gearing tax concessions blamed for putting home ownership out of reach for a generation of Australians.
The commissioners, including Business Council of Australia president Tony Shepherd and former Howard government minister Amanda Vanstone, are expected to appear on Wednesday before a Senate committee convened to investigate the audit.
The commissioners have been given open-ended terms of reference to produce a plan for the Coalition's aim to return the budget to a surplus equivalent to 1 per cent of gross domestic product.
This happened on the 15th January 2014 and the transcript is found here:
The politicking seen in this transcript is really off-putting I have to say.
The bottom line with all this seems to be the Audit Commission has health in its sights but has not decided just what it is going to do!
We will all just have to wait and see!
David.

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