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Health reform

The following articles have the tag Health reform

Will the co-payment go?

AMA president Brian Owler has accused the federal government of neglecting healthcare reform by focusing on a doomed fight to adopt a co-payment for GP visits and diagnostics.

Next top model: a new direction for GP care?

Next top model: a new direction for GP care?

With Medicare Locals on the way out, are we headed towards a managed care system?

Health reform success is rated by its gains

Recent significant decisions affecting general practice have occurred away from scrutiny — whether it is the proposed co-payment, changes to registrar training or the ongoing indifference to preventive health.

Docs lack end-of-life decision-making info

Docs lack end-of-life decision-making info

DOCTORS are being advised to improve their knowledge of end-of-life decision-making to avoid significant legal consequences, experts warn.

Private insurers’ push into primary care could jack up costs

Private insurers’ push into primary care could jack up costs

OPPOSITION health spokeswoman Catherine King has warned that private health insurers’ entry into primary healthcare would be “fraught with danger” but said they may play a helpful role in new regional health networks.

AMA intent on changing govt policy

AMA intent on changing govt policy

The recent confusion over counting practice nurse time for health assessments is indicative of how the medical profession is assessing the federal government’s approach to general practice — and it is not good.

COAG report highlights co-payment dangers: AMA

THE final COAG Reform Council report on healthcare shows the cost of seeing a GP is not currently a barrier for most people, but the AMA and Opposition argue this will change if the co-payment is implemented.

Private insurer access to general practice back on agenda

Private insurer access to general practice back on agenda

PRIVATE insurer access to general practice is back on the agenda, with the health department admitting it has advised the government on changes to the Private Health Insurance Act.

No modelling undertaken to determine co-payment impact on EDs

No modelling undertaken to determine co-payment impact on EDs

THE government undertook no modelling on whether a co-payment would impact hospital emergency departments, health officials revealed during a Senate budget estimates grilling.

Dutton vows to cut back authority scripts

Dutton vows to cut back authority scripts

HEALTH Minister Peter Dutton has pledged to cut red tape for doctors with a review of the authority system for prescriptions that will save $7 million a year.

Health experts respond to Commission of Audit recommendations

Health experts respond to Commission of Audit recommendations

ROD Moodie, Stephen Duckett, Philip Clarke, Anthony Harris and more give their verdict on the report's recommendations.

‘We’re committed to rebuilding general practice’: Dutton

‘We’re committed to rebuilding general practice’: Dutton

THE federal health minister today committed to rebuilding general practice in his final major speech before the budget is handed down on 13 May.

Dutton compares Medicare to Kingswood

Dutton compares Medicare to Kingswood

LETTING private health insurers loose on primary care may be the answer to upgrading Australia’s outdated ‘Holden Kingswood-era’ Medicare system, according to Health Minister Peter Dutton.

Dutton compares Medicare to Kingswood

Dutton compares Medicare to Kingswood

LETTING private health insurers loose on primary care may be the answer to upgrading Australia’s outdated ‘Holden Kingswood-era’ Medicare system, according to Health Minister Peter Dutton.

New boss walking the talk

New boss walking the talk

PROMINENT consumer advocate Carol Bennett tells MO why she agreed to take the reins at one of Australia’s leading MLs.

Loose change or big bucks?

Loose change or big bucks?

COULD Australia improve mental health care without further increasing the budget?

Govt health vision needs to be revealed

AFTER winning the general election “with almost no health policy” the time has come for the Coalition government to outline its vision and priorities, an expert has argued.

Candidates seek AMA top job

TWO high-profile specialists have declared their candidacy for the AMA’s top job with six months to go until the next presidential election.

Contenders line up for AMA presidential race

Contenders line up for AMA presidential race

WITH six months to go before the next AMA presidential election, two high-profile specialists have already declared their candidacy for the top job.

Rise in patients saying GP waiting times unacceptable

Rise in patients saying GP waiting times unacceptable

OVER a quarter of people think waiting times to see a GP are unacceptable, up from 18% in 2009, a new Council of Australian Governments (COAG) report released today shows.

Rudd a ‘bastard’ who wasted mental health dollars: Roxon

Rudd a ‘bastard’ who wasted mental health dollars: Roxon

FORMER Labor health minister Nicola Roxon has revealed that funding quarantined for mental health was compromised as a result of Kevin Rudd’s negotiations with the NSW government prior to the 2010 election.

First non-GP elected to the AMLA board

THE first non-GP director elected to the Australian Medicare Local Alliance board says her appointment is an endorsement of the mixed-skills governing structure and her job now is to protect the organisations from being weakened under a Coalition government.

Put health front and centre of election debate, say GP bodies

DOCTORS have called on the major parties to put health at the centre of the political debate in the run up to the 7 September election.

Snowy River super clinic bailed out

ANOTHER taxpayer-funded bailout has been given to the controversial GP Super Clinics program, after the Snowy River clinic in Jindabyne received $880,000 in federal government funding to stop it from going under.

AMA seeks health policy debate

AMA seeks health policy debate

BOTH sides of politics have been implored to cease being “fixated” on immigration, carbon pricing and personal attacks in favour of staging a meaningful health policy debate in the lead-up to the federal election.

Super clinic bailout: Govt coughs up $880,000

ANOTHER taxpayer-funded bailout appears to have hit the controversial GP Super Clinics program, with reports saying the Snowy River clinic in Jindabyne was handed almost $1 million to stop it from going under.

Mt Isa super clinic delayed once again

A GP super clinic planned two Labor governments ago has postponed its opening again because of administrative and planning delays.

Rudd, overturn CPD tax cap: AMA

Rudd, overturn CPD tax cap: AMA

THE AMA has gotten on the front foot with the rebooted Rudd government, calling on it to make healthcare a priority and – especially – overturn the Gillard government’s $2000 cap on tax deductions for work-related education expenses.

Scramble to finalise after-hours contracts

GPs and Medicare Locals are scrambling to finalise after-hours contracts before the primary health bodies take responsibility for the service, amid fears rural practitioners will be worse off financially.

Audit shows super clinic woes

Audit shows super clinic woes

THE federal government’s controversial GP Super Clinics Program was heavily skewed towards marginal electorates, with high-profile collapses and delays resulting from risk assessment that “lacked rigour”, the auditor-general has found.

Delivering male-friendly care

Delivering male-friendly care

Making your practice male-friendly is important to men’s health.

Super clinic sues government

THE Federal Court is set to hear the case of a GP super clinic owner suing the federal government over its refusal to allow him to hire international medical graduates (IMGs).

Redcliffe super clinic to finally open

Redcliffe super clinic to finally open

AFTER six years, two bailouts, two health ministers and a referral to the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission, the troubled Redcliffe GP super clinic is expected to open for business by the end of June, its new owner has said.

Behind the news – Better Access cuts

When the federal government slashed funding for the successful GP-led mental health scheme Better Access, it claimed the savings would go into a bigger and better Medicare Local-run scheme, Access To Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS). But two years later, ATAPS seems to be nearing its financial ceiling with at least one ML freezing its use of the scheme due to overwhelming demand.

2013 Predictions: Dr Arn Sprogis, Chair, Australian Medicare Local Alliance

“THE profound difference between what was and what will be in 2013 is the regionality of the provision of health care and the involvement of communities.

Health dept warns bulk billing not enough to keep super clinics afloat

Health dept warns bulk billing not enough to keep super clinics afloat

GP super clinics are popular with patients but would remain “financially unviable” if operators relied solely on current Medicare bulk billing rates, a health department report has said.

Aged care doctors' ageing crisis: young doctors unwilling to fill gap

DOCTORS working in the aged care sector are themselves ageing, scaling back their hours spent in aged care facilities, and are not being replaced by their younger colleagues, an AMA survey indicates.

Hope, not funds, keeping divisions alive

DIVISIONS are keeping themselves alive despite all their Commonwealth funding now going to Medicare Locals amid hopes a coalition government will abolish MLs and restore government support for the former GP bodies.

Hope, not funds, keeping divisions alive

DIVISIONS are keeping themselves alive despite all their Commonwealth funding now going to Medicare Locals amid hopes a coalition government will abolish MLs and restore government support for the former GP bodies.

Two-horse race looms for RACGP presidency

CAMPAIGNING has begun in earnest just days before polls open for the RACGP presidential election, with the stage looking set for a showdown between two senior college figures.

AGPN in limbo after vote to keep it afloat

AGPN has been left scrambling to determine its future after a motion to wind up the company and transfer its assets to a new Medicare Locals body was defeated by its division and state based organisation members.

Mixed reaction to PM two years on

TWO years on from the day Julia Gillard became prime minister following Labor’s ousting of Kevin Rudd, the report card on her government’s health policy is either an ambitious work in progress or a wasteful failure – depending on who you ask.

Sprogis seizes the reins

Sprogis seizes the reins

Interim chair of the new Australian Medicare Local Alliance (AML Alliance) Dr Arn Sprogis discusses his urgent and ambitious agenda with Byron Kaye.

Division to run parallel with ML

A VICTORIAN division won a Medicare Local contract then decided to keep the division running alongside it because it did not believe its own ML would represent GP interests at current levels.

Sprogis slams Coalition pledge to pull plug on MLs

Sprogis slams Coalition pledge to pull plug on MLs

The AGPN’s new Medicare Local body has issued a strong rebuke to Opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton after he gave his clearest signal yet that the Coalition will abolish MLs if elected to government.

Medicare Locals' performance to be compared, not GPs: NHPA

THE National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) has reassured GPs their individual work will not be tested when the organisation begins the task of assessing the effectiveness of Medicare Locals.

Dr Mike Civil

Questions over accreditation as RACGP holds line on standards

THE RACGP is standing firm on its accreditation standards for after hours services despite concerns practices risk losing accreditation and associated incentive payments once Medicare Locals take over the service.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Patients to benefit from $3.7b aged care package

OLDER Australians are set to benefit from increases in health funding for home care and dementia diagnosis in a sweeping $3.7 billion aged care reform package announced by the federal government today.

GPs may be spared the pain of federal budget cuts

GPs can expect to be spared any major cuts in what is otherwise being billed as a tough federal budget as the government sticks to its target of achieving a surplus in the next financial year.

GPs may be spared the pain of federal budget cuts

GPs can expect to be spared any major cuts in what is otherwise being billed as a tough federal budget as the government sticks to its target of achieving a surplus in the next financial year.

$25m for SA super clinic – that’s ‘$12.5m for each GP’

CRITICS have heaped fresh scorn on the $650 million GP super clinics program after the latest facility opened with just two GPs and no evening or weekend service despite $25 million in government grants and earlier promises of after hours services.

GP division shut out of merger and forced to shut down shop

THE latest stoush stemming from the national rollout of Medicare Locals has resulted in an entire GP division being unexpectedly shut out of plans to join its regional body and instead forced to wind up all its services and operations.

AGPN’s Djakic ‘out of step with reality’: Health

A STOUSH has erupted between Dr Emil Djakic and the department of health after the AGPN chair accused the government agency of putting the future of Medicare Locals (MLs) at risk with its “arduous” and “protracted” contract negotiations.

Professor John Mendoza

Forget about Rudd, deliver health reform, PM: Mendoza

THE former chair of the Federal Government’s National Advisory Council on Mental Health, Professor John Mendoza, has questioned the government’s ability to deliver meaningful health reform in the wake of yesterday’s leadership ballot.

Building ML bridges to govt, AGPN's new role

AGPN has been awarded the contract to form the national body to oversee Medicare Locals and create a link between the 62 new primary healthcare hubs and the federal government.

Save our park from the super clinic

Save our park from the super clinic

AN UNLIKELY controversy has hit the GP super clinics program, with residents of the NSW coastal town of Nowra complaining that the $7 million facility is to be built on Australia’s first park.

Snubbed divisions left wondering what they did wrong in ML bids

Snubbed divisions left wondering what they did wrong in ML bids

THE department of health gave no warning to the five division-led bodies snubbed from the last two rounds of Medicare Locals (MLs) that there was anything wrong with their applications, MO has been told.

GP-ranking website ‘unworkable’

DOCTORS’ groups have rejected calls for GPs and practices to be ranked on a national My School-style website based on their quality of health outcomes. The proposal was last week put to a Senate hearing examining the proposed new National Health Performance Authority, which is part of the Federal Government’s national health reforms. Consumers Health Forum CEO Carol Bennett said she would like to see information collected by the authority fed into a website such as the My School site, where patients could see performance indicators for their family GP and practice. “In any other service ...

Health reform: full steam ahead?

The Commonwealth has announced a new model of funding for healthcare, but is it enough to revitalise the stalled reform of the sector? Pamela Wilson reports.

Roxon hopeful over reforms in face of looming veto by states

HEALTH Minister Nicola Roxon has denied the $50 billion Council of Australian Governments (COAG) health reforms are collapsing, despite a number of states looking unlikely to agree to the deal as its deadline looms. Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has signalled he will push for changes to the deal negotiated by his predecessor John Brumby when COAG meets next week on 14 February, while Western Australia has stood firm on its decision not to hand over a portion of its GST to fund the reforms. NSW Liberal Opposition leader Barry O’Farrell – likely to take power in next ...

Flood bill may threaten health reform agenda

THE damage and clean-up bill for the Commonwealth following the devastating floods across the eastern states could put the Government’s health reform agenda in further jeopardy, leading health economists warn.The damage bill for Queensland alone has been estimated at around $30 billion.  With the bulk of the cost burden set to be borne by the Federal Government, Prime Minister Julia Gillard was last week forced to confirm there would be spending cutbacks as she reaffirmed her commitment to a budget surplus by 2012. A proposed federal flood tax also made media headlines last week. WA-based health ...

Health reform law to make GP experience mandatory for new board

EXPERIENCE in managing general practice or primary care services is set to become a prerequisite for board members of the proposed Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. The final report of a Senate inquiry into one of the central bills of the Government's health reforms has called for an amendment forcing the change, after concerns were raised that the proposed body would be too hospital service-centric. The bill stipulates members of the commission's board must have skills and experience in general management of public and private hospitals. But according to the Senate inquiry report, ...

Health reform still a long way off

TWO key pieces of the Gillard Government’s health reform legislation have passed their first parliamentary hurdle, but face an uncertain future in the Senate. All six crossbench MPs last week voted with the Government to pass legislation to establish the National Preventive Health Agency and legislation to establish two agencies that will set standards for, and monitor the performance of, healthcare providers.  The two Bills are part of a suite of legislation that will ultimately enable the Government to press ahead with its wide-ranging health reforms, including the controversial diabetes scheme and Medicare Locals. The National ...

Medicare Locals plan must tackle inequality: report

REDUCING health inequalities and barriers to using health services should be a key role for the planned Medicare Locals and Local Hospital Networks (LHNs), a report argues. The Health Lies in Wealth report recommends the new bodies, which will be established as part of the Federal Government’s National Health and Hospitals Network, should be set targets on reducing health inequalities and then measured on their performance. “Each LHN and Medicare Local… [should] be given publicly reportable goals and targets requiring action plans to reduce inequalities in health outcomes and access barriers to health services,” the report states.  ...

GP groups tell Gillard to prioritise primary care

THE Gillard Government must maintain its strong focus on primary health care and general practice, GP groups have urged. Both the RACGP and the AGPN have welcomed yesterday’s decision by Independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor to support the Australian Labor Party in a second term of office. The Independents’ decision means controversial reforms included in the National Health and Hospitals Network plan – such as the diabetes scheme and the new practice nurse incentive – remain firmly on the agenda. The rollout of the unpopular GP Super Clinics scheme also looks set to continue, ...

US experience bodes well for super clinics: academic

GP super clinic opponents have been urged to reconsider their stance on the controversial scheme after fresh reports on the success of similar models in the US. Addressing delegates at the Financial Review National Health Conference in Sydney last week, Dr Lesley Russell, a Foundation Fellow at the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, said despite concerns raised by GPs and the AMA over the centres, super clinics remained a good policy with potential to benefit health professionals and patients alike. Dr Russell, who has recently been advising the White House on the enactment and implementation of its ...

Election health promises hang in the balance

GPs appear no closer to knowing what direction health system reform will take with both major parties still courting the support of independents they will require to form government. Labor’s sweeping health reforms, including the future of 23 new GP super clinics and its controversial $436 million patient enrolment and pay-for-performance diabetes scheme, now hang in the balance. Similarly, the Coalition’s promises to scrap the super clinics initiative and increase rebates for long consultations, after-hours work and practice nurses also remain in doubt. RACGP president Dr Chris Mitchell said while it was difficult to know what ...

Primary’s election play: $1.5 million ad campaign, GP mailout

PRIMARY Health Care managing director Edmund Bateman has weighed into the election debate with a national advertising campaign and a direct appeal to GPs to think carefully about their vote on 21 August. Primary will next week launch a reported $1.5 million television and radio advertising campaign attacking Labor’s health record. The confronting campaign is expected to centre on the case of a mother dying of cervical cancer, in an attempt to highlight cuts to general practice. Dr Bateman is also behind a letter that was sent to GPs across the country ...

Students push for new medical school funding stream

MEDICAL students are set to weigh into the health reform debate by calling on the Government to create a dedicated funding stream for university clinical training. Under the proposal, to be discussed this week at the annual Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) conference, universities would receive funding according to how many undergraduates and postgraduates they train. AMSA president Ross Roberts-Thomson told Medical Observer the current under-funding of medical education had forced universities into recruiting high-paying overseas students to cover the costs of training. “Medical education is an expensive degree and to just fund it ...

GP-hospital reforms need more detail

GP-hospital reforms need more detail

BETTER co-operation between GPs and hospitals under the Federal Government’s proposed health reforms might be stymied by the bureaucratic structures currently being set up to govern  Medicare Locals and Local Hospital Networks (LHNs). The AGPN argued last week that using different governing structures for the two groups might cause conflicts of interest. LHNs are set to be statutory authorities, while Medicare Locals will be companies limited by guarantee. The Federal Government is pushing cross-board membership, however AGPN CEO David Butt said this might not be possible. “In terms of governance you can’t have an organisation like ...

GP claims nurse incentives will cost practice $120,000

FURTHER evidence has emerged that the Federal Government’s practice nurse funding reforms could backfire, with one practice claiming it is set to lose $120,000 a year and will be forced to reduce bulk-billing as a result of the new scheme. The news comes amid fresh warnings from RDAA CEO Steve Sant that some rural practices will be forced to review and potentially cut back nurse staffing levels under the new practice nurse model.  From January 2012 nurse items for Pap smears, wound dressings and immunisations are to be scrapped in favour of block payments to support employing ...

Why GPs must not distance themselves from the reform agenda

GPs cannot afford to disengage with the health reform process, despite facing a raft of unpalatable reforms, profession leaders have warned. The Rudd Government reform agenda was the subject of fierce debate throughout the AMA National Conference. Addressing the conference, AMA president Dr Andrew Pesce pointed to big wins for the profession over the amendments to the Midwives and Nurse Practitioners Bill as evidence of what could be achieved by active engagement. GP super clinics and new practice nurse arrangements were challenges the AMA had yet to overcome, and the diabetes plan was “perhaps the biggest ...

Morton to take over key GP advocacy role

NSW GP Dr Brian Morton is to become the new chair of the AMA’s council of general practice after a series of recent ballots for key representative positions. Dr Morton will take over the role from outgoing chair, Adelaide GP Dr Rod Pearce, at the association’s annual federal conference, to be held in Sydney at the end of this month. Speaking just days ahead of the Federal Budget, Dr Morton said the Government’s radical health reform agenda meant it was a crucial time for general practice to have strong representation. “We have some enormous challenges and ...

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