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Medicare Locals

The following articles have the tag Medicare Locals

Invest in primary care for best value

Invest in primary care for best value

We all know general practice provides the greatest value for every health funding dollar invested by governments in health.

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?

A new health system should build on past strengths

Twenty years ago Australia created Divisions of General Practice — 125 nationwide — to expressly support general practice in the way that ‘divisions of medicine’ supported hospital doctors.

Claire Jackson tasked with review of after-hours

Claire Jackson tasked with review of after-hours

FORMER RACGP president Professor Claire Jackson will conduct an independent review of after-hours primary healthcare services for the federal government.

Claire Jackson tasked with review of after-hours

Claire Jackson tasked with review of after-hours

FORMER RACGP president Professor Claire Jackson will conduct an independent review of after-hours primary healthcare services for the federal government.

Audit finds Medicare Locals misspent funds

Audit finds Medicare Locals misspent funds

MEDICARE Locals made critical accounting errors, failed to inform the Department of Health of conflict of interest concerns and in some cases used federal funds to pay speeding fines and entertainment costs, according to an audit released under Freedom of Information laws.

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.

Health spending is not out of control: Owler

Health spending is not out of control: Owler

AMA president Associate Professor Brian Owler has rejected a fundamental premise of the government's budget health reforms, saying health spending is not out of control.

New mothers missing out on diabetes testing

New mothers missing out on diabetes testing

WOMEN with a history of gestational diabetes may be missing out on appropriate testing for type 2 diabetes after they have given birth, according to researchers from Deakin University.

Last day for Medicare Locals body

Last day for Medicare Locals body

THE dismantling of Labor’s regional primary care experiment has begun, with the peak body for the nation’s 61 Medicare Locals closing down after a bare two years of operation.

Private insurers eye off Primary Health Networks

AT LEAST two of Australia's largest private health insurers have signalled that they will put their hands up to run Primary Health Networks when the tender process opens later this year.

Medicare Locals to morph into PHNs

Medicare Locals to morph into PHNs

DESPITE all the signs, the Australian Medicare Local Alliance was blindsided by the news that it would be dumped next month with the loss of 60 jobs.

Inevitable co-burden of public anger

Inevitable co-burden of public anger

THE headline implication for the primary care sector in the 2014 budget is the introduction of a co-payment per service for GP services and out-of-hospital pathology and diagnostic imaging.

Budget hits the disadvantaged the hardest

THE 2014 health budget has created numerous roadblocks for people in need of quality primary healthcare.

Co-payment unlikely to pass through Senate

Co-payment unlikely to pass through Senate

THE federal opposition has said it won't “horse-trade” over the government's planned Medicare co-payment, which looks unlikely to pass through the Senate.

Budget 2014: How you are affected

Budget 2014: How you are affected

THE federal budget amounts to the "murder of Medicare" and the end of bulk-billing, according to detractors who are not placated by the surprise announcement of a $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund.

No evidence for scrapping Medicare Locals: ML body

No evidence for scrapping Medicare Locals: ML body

THE peak body for Medicare Locals has hit back at the Horvath report slamming the organisations, saying its findings are not evidence based.

Merge and rename Medicare Locals: govt report

Merge and rename Medicare Locals: govt report

MEDICARE Locals should be renamed and carved up into a new national network with more hands-on involvement from GPs, according to a blueprint revealed on Monday.

AMA election race - Owler vs Dobb

AMA election race - Owler vs Dobb

THE next president of the AMA will not be a GP. Contenders Professor Geoff Dobb and Associate Professor Brian Owler explain why that may be a good thing.

Abbott hints at budget co-payment

Abbott hints at budget co-payment

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has dropped another hint about the likelihood Australians will have to make a co-payment when visiting the doctor.

It’s no secret: Medicare Locals can save billions

THE release of the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) framework for Australian public hospital services for 2014—15 will result in a new way of funding public hospitals for the number and mix of patients they treat.

Medicare Locals in budget firing line

Medicare Locals in budget firing line

FEDERAL Health Minister Peter Dutton has fanned speculation that Medicare Locals are in the firing line for budget cuts, reiterating his intent to slash bureaucracy at the community-based healthcare organisations set up under Labor.

Co-payment in, MLs out: budget speculation

Co-payment in, MLs out: budget speculation

THE federal opposition has seized on reported budget leaks as proof the Abbott government is determined to unwind universal healthcare in Australia.

Bring on a ‘healthier’ 2016

SHADOW health minister Catherine King explains why she believes the 2016 election cannot come soon enough for the health sector.

Eradicate blues stigma on the road

Eradicate blues stigma on the road

MORE than three million Australians live with depression or anxiety, and recent figures show one in five has experienced symptoms in the past year.

Stature of GPs in dire need of public boost

DESPITE the responsibilities that GPs shoulder and the extent of expectations from them by all, their image is in dire need of improvement.

Medicare Local needs to be cut down to size

A MEDICARE Local covering an area twice the size of Tasmania must be sub-divided to ensure the needs of its diverse and distant population are properly met, according to a WA Wheatbelt region health administrator.

Medicare Local myths busted

Medicare Local myths busted

IT BEGGARS belief that Australia’s primary healthcare system stirs up misleading myths about its performance and purpose.

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.

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.

Contraception: finding the right fit

Contraception: finding the right fit

THE ability to control one’s fertility, avoid unintended pregnancy and to space children, if desired, is a fundamental right.

Better Access instrumental in treatment spike

NEW research has credited the Commonwealth’s Better Access initiative for a significant jump in treatment rates of Australians suffering mental illness.

No more support for Medicare Locals: AMA

THE Australian Medicare Local Alliance and the AMA have locked horns over the primary healthcare organisations’ future, after the AMA ended its conditional support by releasing a survey which it said showed most GPs wanted them shut down.

MLs need to go: GP survey reveals

MLs need to go: GP survey reveals

THE AMA has reignited its opposition to Medicare Locals, saying a survey of GPs found almost three quarters believed the organisations were failing to make healthcare delivery easier and should be shut down.

MLs not delivering: AMA review submission

MLs not delivering: AMA review submission

MEDICARE Locals do not communicate effectively with GPs, do not understand their own roles and have disenfranchised those previously involved in after-hours care according to the AMA.

MLs not delivering: AMA review submission

MLs not delivering: AMA review submission

MEDICARE Locals do not communicate effectively with GPs, do not understand their own roles and have disenfranchised those previously involved in after-hours care according to the AMA.

MLs review timetable and terms of reference announced

THE future of Medicare Locals may be decided early next year following a review being led by former Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Professor John Horvarth.

ML frustration: No doctor in charge

THE Medicare Local created from AML Alliance chair Dr Arn Sprogis’ former division may face calls to have the federal government conduct a special investigation into its governance as members express frustration over the replacement of its CEO.

2014 prediction – Dr Arn Sprogis

2014 prediction – Dr Arn Sprogis

2014 will be the year when primary care takes centre stage in the Australian healthcare system.

Top issues of 2013

YEAR in review – we chart the highs and lows.

ML frustration: No doctor in charge

THE Medicare Local created from AML Alliance chair Dr Arn Sprogis’ former division may face calls to have the federal government conduct a special investigation into its governance as members express frustration over the replacement of its CEO.

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.

Labor spent $4m on ML ad blitz in last days of power

Labor spent $4m on ML ad blitz in last days of power

THE Department of Health and Ageing spent $4 million advertising Medicare Locals and e-health in the last month of the Labor government, a Senate hearing has been told.

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.

Public profile of MLs needs to be lifted

MEDICARE Locals have been told to dramatically lift their public profile, after a survey found almost a third of community sector workers had a “poor” or “very poor” understanding of their function.

No free universal health for unhealthy choices: McRuvie

No free universal health for unhealthy choices: McRuvie

A MEDICARE Local CEO has surprised colleagues by saying she does not believe in universal free healthcare, and by suggesting people should be punished financially for their unhealthy lifestyle choices.

ACCC bans rural docs’ fee negotiations

RURAL doctors will not be allowed to collectively negotiate for the fees they charge Medicare Locals (MLs) for after-hours services, after the competition watchdog ruled it could hurt competition.

High-performing MLs should be ‘models’: Owler

HALF a dozen high-performing Medicare Locals should become “examples” to other MLs, under a proposal set to be unveiled when Health Minister Peter Dutton launches his long-awaited review of the network.

Come clean on Medicare Locals Dutton told

FEDERAL Health Minister Peter Dutton has been accused of backing away from Prime Minister Tony Abbott's election commitment not to close down Medicare Local facilities.

Change: it should only be for the better

Change: it should only be for the better

THE key message about how the Abbott government wants to go about business — methodically, sensibly and calmly — is exactly what is required to build on the achievements of the national network of Medicare Locals.

Obesity higher in lower income groups

Obesity higher in lower income groups

THE link between Australia’s obesity epidemic and rural and lower socioeconomic communities has been confirmed in the latest government figures, prompting calls for legislation forcing junk food companies to make their products more healthy.

Coaching program helps tackle mood

Coaching program helps tackle mood

OUTREACH self-help program aims to curb progression of early depression and anxiety.

Sizing up effective spending by area

THE head of the Medicare Local (ML) serving one of Australia’s most disadvantaged regions says his job is not to ask the government for more money but rather to prove the money it is already spending is going to good use.

MLs to help find non-accredited practices

AUSTRALIA’S largest GP practice accreditation firm has begun working with Medicare Locals as part of a drive to identify and sign up non-accredited clinics.

AMLA CEO resigns after just six months

AUSTRALIAN Medicare Local Alliance CEO Claire Austin has left the organisation just six months into the job as the 61 MLs brace for a sweeping review under the newly elected Abbott government.

Labor’s legacy

Labor’s legacy

AS THE curtains close on one of Labor’s most difficult periods in government, Byron Kaye looks back over six years of health programs, promises and problems.

High hopes await Medicare Locals review by Coalition

MEDICARE Locals say they look forward to a review under the newly elected Coalition government, with some suggesting aspects of the fledgling network they would like improved.

‘We’ll work with the Coalition’: Di Natale

THE only doctor in the upper house, Greens senator Richard Di Natale, has declared he can work with a Coalition government as his party looks ahead to three years in one of the most unpredictable senates in memory.

How doctors fared in the election

How doctors fared in the election

PETER Dutton looks set to take control of the federal health portfolio when the new Cabinet is sworn in next week in Canberra.

A healthy election mix of dollars and promises

ANOTHER $80 billion for hospitals, $1.1 billion for mental health, and a resurrected voluntary euthanasia bill — these are among some of the election promises from the minor parties ahead of this week’s election.

MLs working, says Plibersek

MLs working, says Plibersek

HEALTH Minister Tanya Plibersek has warned that the Coalition’s intended review of Medicare Locals is little more than a “veiled” excuse to dismantle the primary healthcare bodies and sack thousands of frontline staff.

Whose health policy gets your vote?

Whose health policy gets your vote?

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Healthcare, Dr Andrew Southcott, make a final pitch on why they should be elected.

Dutton out of the shadows

Dutton out of the shadows

After six years as Opposition health spokesman, Peter Dutton tells MO why he’s ready to step out into the spotlight.

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.

Coalition is triple-backflipping on MLs: Labor

TONY Abbott's backflip on coalition plans to close Medicare Locals is not "credible", Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek says, accusing the opposition of having four different positions on Labor's health network.

Dutton aims to deliver for GPs

Dutton aims to deliver for GPs

THE man in line to possibly become Australia’s next health minister has accused Tanya Plibersek of having “barely contained contempt for doctors” and pledged to rebuild the eroded standing of general practice.

McGorry blasts Labor govt for ‘quick spend’

FORMER Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry has blasted one of Labor’s biggest mental health programs saying it had no real model and “people who are being given the money don’t really know what it’s for”.

Abbott launches Coalition’s health policy

Abbott launches Coalition’s health policy

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has formally launched the Coalition's health policy, saying it would maintain existing levels of spending on health services if elected.

Coalition’s ML support ‘reassuring’

Coalition’s ML support ‘reassuring’

THE Coalition’s commitment to provide “in-principle support” for Medicare Locals is a reassuring sign for communities across Australia, the AML Alliance has said.

Margin at 2010 federal election

THE problem is that both parties want to provide a high-volume low-cost health service, but nobody is prepared to accept the fact that bulk-billing doesn’t work.

Healthcare needs to be at election forefront

DOCTORS have called for both political parties to bring grassroots healthcare to the forefront of the election campaign, saying potentially vote-winning moves like cutting red tape and initiatives to keep people out of hospital are being ignored.

Promoting health check should be ML priority

MEDICARE Locals have a key role in promoting greater uptake of the 45-year-old health check, an expert has claimed following the publication of disturbing statistics on vascular health.

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.

AMLA ballot: no new doctor candidates

NO ADDITIONAL GPs will be appointed to the board of the Australian Medicare Local Alliance as only one doctor, already a director, is seeking re-election in the upcoming internal election.

Behind the news – Medicare Locals

Behind the news – Medicare Locals

EARLIER this month a national survey of 1400 Australians revealed that almost three-quarters of respondents had no idea what role or purpose Medicare Locals played in the primary healthcare system.

GPs should act as a ‘filter’ for Dr Google

FACEBOOK and Google are trusted sources of health information for many Australians, according to research that serves as a reminder of the ‘filter’ role GPs must play, an expert maintains.

Plibersek’s $13.5m boost for primary care

PRIMARY care research is set to receive a $13.5 million shot in the arm after Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced additional funding for the sector via the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Experts debate GP-led bowel screening

GP LEADERS are calling for a new approach to curb the falling bowel cancer screening program participation rates that would see a rebate for testing added to the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

Plibersek’s $13.5m boost for primary care research

Plibersek’s $13.5m boost for primary care research

PRIMARY care research is set to receive a $13.5 million shot in the arm after Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced additional funding for the sector via the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

College changes after-hours rules

A POTENTIAL rift between the AMA and the RACGP has been averted after the college bowed to the association’s demand and changed its accreditation standards for after-hours services to limit the liability of GPs.

After-hours overhaul urgent

THE Rural Doctors Association of Australia has demanded the health department urgently reassess after-hours arrangements, amid claims practices are offering services with no Medicare Local contract in place, and those with a contract are losing thousands of dollars.

Ignorance of GP services ups ED numbers

LACK of awareness about GP services may be the reason thousands of people suitable for primary care are presenting to emergency departments (EDs) when there are GPs close by, researchers say.

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.

Call for dementia MBS item to see carers

A NEW Medicare Benefits Schedule item to allow GPs to bill for consultations with the carers of patients with dementia would improve diagnosis rates, GP groups and experts say.

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.

Behind the news – MO asks experts for their opinions on the issues making headlines

MEDICARE Locals have begun reworking after-hours contracts with general practices to remove clauses that would have granted ML and government officials the right to enter practices and access records for auditing.

Needy miss out on healthcare

AUSTRALIA’S most unhealthy populations have no better access to basic healthcare services than Australia’s most healthy, the first comprehensive study of Medicare Local areas has revealed.

Petition calls for return of Hunter CEO

THE departure of a GP CEO from a NSW Medicare Local has prompted concern about clinical governance at the organisation.

Access to primary care no clue to population’s health

THERE is no link between the health of a population and its access to primary healthcare, the first major analysis of the 61 Medicare Local areas suggests.

Turf war: AMLA and SBOs

A TURF war looms between state-based organisations (SBOs) and the Australian Medicare Local Alliance (AMLA) as SBOs claim the national body plans to put just one staffer in each state without agreeing how the two bodies can work together.

ACCC rejects RDAA bargaining proposal

THE competition watchdog has temporarily rejected a proposal to let the RDAA collectively bargain for GPs dealing with Medicare Locals, following concerns it could impact health services.

MLs close audit risk for after-hours doctors

MEDICARE Locals have begun reworking after-hours contracts with general practices to remove clauses that would have granted ML and government officials the right to enter practices and access records for auditing.

Maintain after-hours payments or service will drop: GPs

GP GROUPS have called for current payment levels for after-hours services to be maintained until the end of the year to ensure existing service levels are maintained, after the takeover of after-hours administration by Medicare Locals.

ML signs with UnitingCare to broaden reach

BROADENING the relationship between the primary care sector and hospitals, a Medicare Local has signed an agreement with a church-affiliated body to coordinate information, education and research.

Medicare Locals bound by red tape

Medicare Locals bound by red tape

MEDICARE Local staff spent more than 40,000 hours in a single year preparing reports to justify to the Department of Health and Ageing how they were spending its money, research reveals.

Govt accused of spruiking policies with health dollars

THE government has dismissed as “utter nonsense” Coalition claims that health budget funds are being used to pay for pre-election campaign advertising of Labor policies and programs.

AMLA welcomes Coalition pledge to review MLs

THE Australian Medicare Local Alliance has welcomed the Coalition’s pledge to review the primary healthcare bodies if elected in September, saying it would be a chance to “fill in the information gaps the Coalition seems to have”.

AML Alliance welcomes Coalition review of Medicare Locals

AML Alliance welcomes Coalition review of Medicare Locals

THE Australian Medicare Local Alliance has welcomed a plan by the Coalition to review the primary healthcare bodies if it wins the September election, saying the review would be a chance to “fill in the information gaps the Coalition seems to have”.

Public gets say in what they want from GPs

IT IS taking place in Western Sydney just three months before the election but don’t expect any motherhood speeches from politicians at the You and Your GP forum, says event coordinator Dr Adrian Sheen.

Coalition in govt would review ML spending

A COALITION government would do a broad review of Medicare Locals, including how they spent Commonwealth dollars and how they determined areas of service deficiency, shadow health minister Peter Dutton said last week.

Baby steps to preventive health

Baby steps to preventive health

The Healthy Kids Check aims to detect medical issues early. But critics argue it’s a symptom of family medicine’s decline.

Make kids’ vax records compulsory

PARENTS could be forced to show schools documentation of their children’s vaccination history, as Health Minister Tanya Plibersek calls for a nationally consistent policy on vaccination.

Backlash over freeze on rebates

MBS rebates have been frozen and the Extended Medicare Safety Net threshold has been raised as part of sweeping savings measures included in the federal budget.

Budget round-up: How health fared

Budget round-up: How health fared

THE government is set to net $644 million over four years by freezing indexation of Medicare rebates at current levels until 1 July 2014 as part of savings measures in the federal budget.

Preparing for a pandemic

Preparing for a pandemic

Is Australia any closer to establishing a centre for communicable disease control to respond to bird flu and other outbreaks?

Let’s engage in public/private partnerships

THERE is a global trend of governments attempting to re-orientate health systems traditionally focused upon hospital care, to an emphasis on primary and population healthcare.

Hambleton’s third year will focus on teaching

DR STEVE Hambleton will have the rare privilege of serving a third one-year term as AMA president, saying his priority will be teaching and training the next generation.

Snapshot of Australia’s health

Snapshot of Australia’s health

THE healthiest Australians live in western Brisbane, according to a new national snapshot.

Call for funds to manage pain

THE Australian Medicare Local Alliance has called for a dedicated funding pool specifically to ensure the primary healthcare network can take a central role managing the treatment of chronic pain.

Libs send mixed messages on MLs

HEALTH Minister Tanya Plibersek has launched an attack on the Opposition after a Liberal candidate appeared to break from Coalition policy by praising Medicare Locals (MLs) and pledging to keep them if elected.

Dr Mackey seriously injured

A PROMINENT rural NSW GP is recovering from serious injuries after being hit from behind by the side mirror of a passing truck while riding his bike.

Plibersek accuses Opposition of plan to sack 3000 ML workers

THE rift between Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and shadow health minister Peter Dutton has intensified with Ms Plibersek accusing her opposite number of promising to sack 3000 frontline health workers connected to Medicare Locals (MLs).

Medicare Local boss contests federal election

A MEDICARE Local boss is running as a Labor candidate in one of the safest Coalition seats at the federal election, campaigning in part on the grounds that a Coalition victory could spell the end of the new primary healthcare network.

Behind the news – The future of Medicare Locals

AS the Coalition heads towards likely election victory in September, Medicare Locals are trying to shore up bilateral support amid suggestions they are little more than Labor-induced layers of bureaucracy. But the diplomatic offensive looks like an uphill battle with Opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton accusing the government of creating new bureaucratic health positions with the establishment of MLs.

Former RDAA president Dr Ken Mackey sustains serious injuries after accident

Former RDAA president Dr Ken Mackey sustains serious injuries after accident

A PROMINENT rural NSW GP is recovering in hospital from serious injuries after being hit from behind by the side mirror of a passing truck while riding his bike.

AMA calls for review of Medicare Locals

AMA calls for review of Medicare Locals

THE AMA has given its strongest endorsement of Medicare Locals (MLs), calling on both political parties to commit to a pre-election review to ensure the new primary healthcare bodies have “substance, purpose, meaning and direction”.

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.

GPs frozen out of mental health funds

A GP-referred mental health service in a designated District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) has been frozen because the scheme has run out of money.

Push for funding to be doubled

Push for funding to be doubled

THE Australian Medicare Local Alliance has asked for an almost doubling in Commonwealth funding for Medicare Locals, calling for an extra $610 million to fund two ambitious new programs — targeting chronic disease and early childhood.

Rural practice evicts ML over rent stoush

A FORMER RDAA president has cut services to his Medicare Local, claiming his practice can no longer afford to subsidise the federally funded body to the tune of $15,000 a year.

ML funds used to keep ED open

A MEDICARE Local has been forced to pay for a hospital emergency ward to stay open after hours after hospital directors decided to shut it down because of controversial Commonwealth spending cuts.

Frozen mental health nurse program reached most needy

THE federal government is yet to respond to a two-month-old health department report that found a GP-led mental health nurse scheme — effectively frozen last year — was reaching the most needy patients and cutting hospital admissions.

Practice cuts support to ML over rent stoush

A FORMER Rural Doctors Association president has cut services to his Medicare Local, claiming his practice can no longer afford to subsidise the federally funded body to the tune of $15,000 a year.

Coalition softening on MLs

A COALITION health spokesman has conceded some Medicare Locals are linking hospitals with primary healthcare, indicating a softening from earlier rhetoric suggesting an Abbott government would shut the controversial reform down altogether.

Govt backs ML plan to continue PIPs

THE federal government has backed a Medicare Local’s (ML’s) plan to continue after hours practice incentive payments (PIPs) the same way they have been run under Medicare, opening the door for other MLs to follow.

Medicare Locals name to go under review

HEALTH Minister Tanya Plibersek has confirmed a planned review of the Medicare Locals initiative – set to begin early in 2013 – will evaluate whether the contentious moniker given to the entities is “suitable for its purpose”.

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.

Behind The News - 20 November 2012

MO asks the key figures for their opinions on a political issue making headlines.

Fast-tracked helpline access for aged care nurses welcomed

GENERAL practice leaders have welcomed a pilot program that aims to provide aged care nurses with fast-tracked access to the GP after hours telephone line, saying any measure to cut unnecessary emergency department admissions should be considered.

AML Alliance recognises top GP in inaugural national awards

ONE of the original architects of Medicare Locals, NSW country GP Dr Tony Hobbs, has taken out the ML national body’s first ever award for individual distinction in primary health care.

Medicare Locals to run collaboratives program

THE Australian Primary Care Collaboratives Program (APCCP), involving 1100 general practices, will be transferred to the control of Medicare Locals, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced last week.

Secure messaging switch could save practices $30,000 to offset PCEHR

GENERAL practices could offset any cost increases associated with the personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) by switching to a secure messaging service instead of paper letters, a leading e-health expert has said.

AML Alliance recognises top GP in inaugural national awards

ONE of the original architects of Medicare Locals, NSW country GP Dr Tony Hobbs, has taken out the ML national body’s first ever award for individual distinction in primary health care.

MLs to run collaboratives program

MLs to run collaboratives program

THE Australian Primary Care Collaboratives Program (APCCP), involving 1100 general practices, will be transferred to the control of Medicare Locals, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced today.

MLs devising ways to keep PIP payments for after hours care

MLs devising ways to keep PIP payments for after hours care

MEDICARE Locals newly saddled with the administration of after hours services are taking a novel approach to the federal government’s move to scrap after hours Practice Incentive Program payments (PIPs) – making the payments themselves.

Rebates slashed: rural GPs forced to cut telehealth

Rebates slashed: rural GPs forced to cut telehealth

GPs in regional cities and outer metropolitan areas are preparing to scale back their telehealth services – including one scheme to get regional children seen by city hospital specialists – after the federal government unexpectedly cut access to Medicare rebates.

Dr Sprogis first official AML Alliance chair

Dr Sprogis first official AML Alliance chair

HUNTER GP Dr Arn Sprogis has won the boardroom vote to become Australian Medicare Local Alliance’s first official chairman, declaring he would continue the fight to give the new organisation responsibility for all primary healthcare funding.

Pharmacists drafted by ML to help after hours

A MEDICARE Local has drafted in pharmacists to help with after hours care but reassured GPs the additional service would only extend within pharmacists’ existing skill sets and would not be a substitute for general practice.

Denied hospital access: rural GP says govt conditions ‘ridiculous’

A COUNTRY GP denied hospital visiting rights because he refuses to work through a NSW government-affiliated agency has described his situation as “ridiculously inappropriate” as local heath leaders warned his treatment would drive other GPs away.

Sprogis first official AML Alliance chair

Sprogis first official AML Alliance chair

HUNTER GP Dr Arn Sprogis has won the boardroom vote to become Australian Medicare Local Alliance’s first official chairman, declaring he would continue the fight to give the new organisation responsibility for all primary healthcare funding.

MLs should be handed mental health reform role

MLs should be handed mental health reform role

MOST Medicare Locals (MLs) want a role in a $549.8 million reform of support services for people with serious mental illness but should have been given the job automatically, the national ML body has said.

A musical weapon to spread health awareness

A musical weapon to spread health awareness

HIP hop music may be the last thing most people associate with primary health care reform but for one Medicare Local (ML) it’s the best way to get public health messages where they are needed.

MLs should take preventive health from states

STATE governments must follow Queensland and hand over preventive health programs to Medicare Locals (MLs) to advance Labor’s long-held plan for a Commonwealth health takeover, the ML national body has said.

Private insurers target MLs to manage care costs

Private insurers target MLs to manage care costs

PRIVATE health insurers are eyeing service contracts with the 61 Medicare Locals (MLs), sparking warnings that the increasingly close relationship between private funding and care could lead to US-style managed care and dilute the GP-patient relationship.

Warning: doctors’ computers hacked

Warning: doctors’ computers hacked

A QUEENSLAND Police detective has warned GPs to make sure their computer security is in place after several medical centre business file servers around the country were attacked by cyber criminals.

Wanted: AML seeks chief to tackle tough job ahead

AFTER electing its first board the new Medicare Locals body has begun the search for a CEO, calling for someone prepared to be “measured by the success of the MLs operating throughout Australia”.

Djakic denied seat on AML Alliance

Djakic denied seat on AML Alliance

AGPN chair Dr Emil Djakic has missed out on a seat on the first elected board of the national Medicare Locals body he set up, AML Alliance.

GPs seizing the day with MLs

ALMOST half the directors of Medicare Local boards are GPs, MO can reveal, scuppering warnings from divisions, the AMA and the federal Opposition that the new primary health care bodies will sideline general practice.

SBOs eager to broaden membership

SBOs eager to broaden membership

A TURF war is looming in the wake of primary health care reform, with state based organisations (SBOs) eyeing a restructure to allow them to accommodate Medicare Locals, while at least one general practice division is working to become a larger body supporting disenfranchised GPs.

AML Alliance goes ahead with official launch

ITS predecessor, the AGPN, remains in corporate limbo, but that didn’t stop the new Medicare Locals body AML Alliance from pressing ahead with its official launch today.

Dr Liz Marles wins 2012 RACGP election after hard-fought campaign

Dr Liz Marles wins 2012 RACGP election after hard-fought campaign

SYDNEY GP and sitting RACGP vice president Dr Liz Marles will become the next head of the RACGP after winning the college’s 2012 presidential election.

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.

Former director describes division rivalry in mergers

Former director describes division rivalry in mergers

THE former head of AGPN’s transition team has revealed he was surprised by the animosity between some divisions expected to merge into MLs and says he should have taken a more “tailored” leadership approach to overcome it.

Hambleton doles out advice to fix primary health

AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton accused the federal government of “insulting” rather than “consulting” GPs and provided an eight-point plan to fix primary health care in a press club speech yesterday.

Behind The News - 10 July 2012

MO asks the experts for their opinions on a key political issue making headlines.

Asset stand-off as decisions stay in limbo

THE Medicare Locals body last week linked the AGPN’s limbo to the federal government and health department as the stand-off over its wind-up looked set to continue indefinitely.

Analysis: How has the AGPN gotten into this mess?

THE AGPN’s paralysis is the culmination of a reform beset by the federal government’s poor communication, inconsistency and inadequate consultation with key players regarding the transition to Medicare Locals.

AGPN warned to strike a deal or face administration

AGPN warned to strike a deal or face administration

THE standoff over the AGPN’s future is continuing, with members refusing to back its plan to hand assets to the Medicare Locals body and corporate governance experts warning directors could be personally liable if they allow it to trade insolvent.

UGPA slammed for lack of faith in MLs' abilities

AUSTRALIAN Medicare Local Alliance has hit back at the GP umbrella lobby United General Practice Australia, (UGPA) declaring after hours services must be run by Medicare Locals rather than maintaining a “one size fits all” approach to incentive payments for individual practices.

MLs fail to represent GPs: AMA

THE new Medicare Locals (ML) body has hit back at the AMA after the association complained MLs failed to represent GP interests and said it would step in to take a “more active role” in local general practice.

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.

ML boards need nurse representation

ML boards need nurse representation

ALL Medicare Locals (MLs)should have nursing representation as a key component of their government contract, primary care nurses say.

'Deep uncertainty' on MLs could be solved by funding

'Deep uncertainty' on MLs could be solved by funding

A REPORT has called for a 10-year federal funding commitment for Medicare Locals to overcome primary health care’s “deep uncertainty” about the future of the reform.

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.

Hambleton’s cross-Tasman trek

JUST as the last of the Medicare Locals opens for business, AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton will head across the ditch to get some hands-on advice on what could go wrong – and what to do about it.

AGPN accused of ‘blatant disregard’ for divisions

A STATE-BASED organisation overseeing GP divisions has accused the AGPN of using members’ money to set up a new Medicare Local body and showing “blatant disregard” for both the wellbeing of divisions and good corporate governance.

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.

I'll continue the good fight: Hambleton

I'll continue the good fight: Hambleton

AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton has vowed to maintain the fight against what he considers the federal government’s deliberate disempowering of doctors as he prepares to embark on his second year in the high profile role.

SBOs to stay put despite funding cessation

SBOs to stay put despite funding cessation

STATE-based organisations have almost unanimously decided to stay in business beyond 2012 despite having their Commonwealth funding shut off and their core membership, divisions of general practice, consigned to history.

Arn Sprogis appointed interim chair of MLs body

Arn Sprogis appointed interim chair of MLs body

DR Arn Sprogis, the outspoken AGPN director who criticised the organisation for its handling of the Medical Locals (MLs) rollout, has been appointed interim chair of its new ML body.

Data is for funding, not ‘My GP’ contest

THEY have already been dubbed GP ‘league tables’ – but the organisation set to publish comparison data between Medicare Locals (MLs) has said the work is only to identify where further funding is needed.

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.

Oldest LMA may be saved as GPs baulk at MLs

THE return of Local Medical Associations (LMAs) continues with Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs Medical Association (ESMA) experiencing a life-saving surge in membership interest from GPs anxious that their needs will be overlooked by 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.

ML loses funds as event cancelled

A MEDICARE Local (ML) is considering legal action to recover tens of thousands of dollars after an events company it hired to run a “family fun day” collapsed days before the event was to go ahead.

Medicare Locals struggle to engage nurses

PRIMARY care nurses are going to have little influence on how Medicare Locals (MLs) operate because very few are putting their hands up to sit on their boards.

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.

Secure messaging switch could save practices $30,000 to offset PCEHR

GENERAL practices could offset any cost increases associated with the personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) by switching to a secure messaging service instead of paper letters, a leading e-health expert has said.

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.

Dr Emil Djakic

Djakic condemns dept's 'protracted', time-wasting approach

AGPN chair Dr Emil Djakic has blasted the department of health, warning its “arduous” and “protracted” oversight of Medicare Locals is wasting time and leaving the reform vulnerable to a “direct threat” from a future coalition government.

Back to the future – divisions revive LMAs

THE Local Medical Association (LMA) is back – at least that’s what some GP divisions are hoping as they explore ways to keep the family doctor’s voice alive amid the change to Medicare Locals (MLs).

Anxiety over MLs handling PIPs scheme

MEDICARE Locals risk straining relationships with local health providers if they are forced to allocate practice incentive payments for after-hours and other key services, a high profile GP leader has warned.

AGPN blasts govt's narrow, inadequate mental health roadmap

The AGPN has delivered a critical assessment of the federal government’s draft roadmap for mental health care, calling it “too narrow in focus” and saying it “lacks adequate acknowledgement” of GPs’ role in mental health care.

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.

RACGP president Professor Claire Jackson & AMA Council of General Practice chair Dr Brian Morton

GPs reveal big issues for 2012

A CHANGE of health minister hasn’t blunted the anger of GPs over the government’s Better Access mental health cuts, which will be one of the big medico-political issues of 2012, according to a Cegedim survey conducted for Medical Observer.

Dr Emil Djakic

My Christmas - Dr Emil Djakic

WITH Christmas almost upon us, it is fitting that AGPN chair Dr Emil Djakic talks in terms of communal dining to articulate his vision for the primary healthcare body in 2012.

‘Mixed messages’ muddying GP role in MLs

THE health department has been accused of giving “mixed messages” after publicly declaring the importance of GPs in Medicare Locals, then shelving one division’s ML bid because of fears it would have too many GP directors.

Partnership plan to take on preventable illness

THE Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA) plans to form a partnership with Medicare Locals (MLs) to fight smoking, binge drinking and obesity, the agency’s new CEO has told the AGPN national forum.

AGPN questioned over legality of asset switch

A STATE-BASED organisation (SBO) overseeing GP divisions has questioned whether AGPN can lawfully switch its assets to the new national Medicare Locals (MLs) body without first putting the move to a member vote.

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 division tackles rural youth suicide

THE small Queensland town of Oakey has suffered droughts, floods and a number of suicides in the past few years but residents are banding together with the help of the local division of general practice.

Govt announces new Medicare Locals

THE Federal government has unveiled the second and third rounds of Medicare Locals, this time giving winning division-led bodies two months to prepare before changing over from 1 January.

Many questions still plague Medicare Locals

THE AMA has raised concerns about Medicare Locals (MLs) since they were first announced. We still have no answers to our original questions around form and function and, importantly, guarantees on the key leadership roles of GPs in the management and decision-making of MLs. I announced at the National Press Club in Canberra in July that I would visit each of the MLs and find out from the local GPs what they thought of the cornerstone of the government’s bold new direction in primary care. So, in recent weeks I have visited three South Australian MLs ...

Australia’s GPs are the front line of primary care

Every day those in medical centres across Australia experience the pressures associated with the rising levels of chronic disease, the greater complexity of patient presentations and the demands of an ageing population. With around 75% of the population reporting that they have one or more current long-term medical conditions, doctors are seeing patients walking into their GP clinics with increasing frequency. Our ageing population is compounding this situation, with nearly all people aged 65 years or older having at least one long-term condition and more than 80% of people in this age group having three or more ...

Medicare Locals require a change in mindset

THE new era in primary healthcare through Medicare Locals (MLs) will bring a new mindset as well. Primary healthcare colleagues across the nation will become part of a system of accountability that will increasingly influence the type, frequency and availability of health services for ML regions. Over time, the changes will also increase the ‘cross-pollination’ of the medical, allied health, aged care and social care sectors that is fundamental to promoting real health. The reform task ahead requires leadership that understands the objectives and the outcomes to be achieved – socially and economically responsible healthcare that ...

GPs set to ditch Medicare Locals contract over board restrictions

GPs at a division awarded one of the first Medicare Locals contracts have warned the Federal Government that they will “walk away” from the deal if they are forced to give up control on their boards. Medical Observer understands the contracts, sent to many of the first 19 winning bidders in recent weeks, explicitly state the Medicare Local (ML) must have a board of 7–10 directors with no single profession dominating. NSW division, GP Access, is involved in one of the first tranche of MLs, and currently has six GPs among its eight ...

Taking charge: UK GPs in control

England has taken the decision to scrap its Primary Care Trusts. Kathryn Eccles wonders if GPs in Australia can ever hope for such a display of faith.

Divisions set to vote on future of AGPN

THE AGPN has downplayed fears it will become a fundholding body for Medicare Locals ahead of a vote by divisions that will determine whether the organisation continues to operate after July next year. AGPN chair Dr Emil Djakic has confirmed he will ask the 111 divisions to vote next week in favour of a change to the organisation’s constitution to allow it to continue operations as an overseeing body for the new primary healthcare hubs. But MO understands some divisions have indicated they will vote against the change due to concerns the new body would ...

Who wants the health money

In the battle for the Budget, Byron Kaye looks at this year’s top priorities.

NZ colleagues offer warning over Medicare Locals impact

NEW Zealand’s most influential GP has delivered a stark warning to the Australian Government as it prepares to unleash the first Medicare Locals: Don’t make the same mistake the NZ Government did. Dr Peter Foley, chair of the New Zealand Medical Association, said Australia must learn from the hugely unpopular introduction of Crown Health Enterprises – similar to Australia’s Medicare Locals (MLs) – which he said had failed to ensure adequate GP leadership. “If the [Australian] Government truly regards general practice as central to the delivery of primary healthcare… then this position must not be undermined by ...

Healthcare budget cuts expected

HEALTH economists have predicted heavy cuts to the PBS and MBS in next month’s federal budget as Prime Minister Julia Gillard again restated her government’s promise to deliver a budget surplus by 2013. The warnings follow the announcement of a number of measures designed to add more scrutiny to health spending. These have included the recent crackdown on the much maligned Chronic Disease Dental Scheme (CDDS), the deferral of PBS-listing for a number of drugs and the Government’s negotiations with the pathology industry to find further savings.  The CDDS has been a Government target since revelations that ...

Bitter split emerges in race towards Medicare Locals

GP networks vying to become Medicare Locals (MLs) have been urged to cooperate after a joint bid by three divisions to become Australia’s biggest primary care hub collapsed into a bitter split. With the 4 April deadline for the first round of ML tenders looming, the Sydney-based General Practice Network Northside (GPNN) unexpectedly broke from neighbouring Northern Sydney General Practice Network (NSGPN) and Manly Warringah Division of General Practice (MWDGP) to prepare a solo bid. In his division’s newsletter, due to be sent to members this week, NSGPN chair Dr Harry Nespolon suggested he had been “double ...

Doctors want reassurance on Medicare Locals fund-holding

THE Gillard Government has come under fire for failing to consult GPs about the fund-holding role of Medicare Locals (MLs), with doctors now calling for reassurances that the new bodies will only be able to directly fund primary care services in cases of “severe market failure”. Announcing the new guidelines for MLs, Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week flagged the new bodies would evolve to take on a greater fund-holding role. “I also want to make sure that Medicare Locals over time become fund-holding organisations… so if there isn’t enough of a particular service available, Medicare Locals ...

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.

First Medicare Local applications accepted, after-hours care funding fast-tracked

THE Federal Government has today begun accepting applications from GP divisions and primary care organisations to form its new Medicare Locals (MLs). Meanwhile, new guidelines for establishing MLs, released by Prime Minister Julia Gillard as part of the Invitation to Apply process launch, have been welcomed by the AGPN as further clarifying the roles the new organisations will play in ongoing health reforms. AGPN chair Dr Emil Djakic said the guidelines announced today by Ms Gillard and Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon provided "tangible steps for the network as it transitions from the divisions of ...

AMA rejects mental health ‘liaison’ role for pharmacists

THE AMA has dismissed a push by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia for its members to take a greater role in mental health with a scheme that would see pharmacists employed by Medicare Locals as “liaisons”. In its 2011–12 federal budget submission, the PSA last week requested $2.25 million in funding to employ a pharmacist at each of the 15 initial Medicare Locals – at a cost of $150,000 each. The in-house pharmacists would coordinate a range of services provided by community pharmacies to patients with a mental illness in their Medicare Local, including counselling and practical ...

Top 10 - A year living on the edge

It’s been a tumultuous year on the political scene. MO counts down the major events of 2010.

Divisions fear Govt will limit flexibility of Medicare Locals

DIVISIONS of General Practice have expressed concern about how Medicare Locals will be funded, with fears Government contracts will not allow adequate flexibility to respond to local needs. In response to a recently released Federal Health Department discussion paper detailing plans for the new organisations, the AGPN has warned the Government against dictating how Medicare Locals are to spend government-allocated funding. “Funding contracts that are too restrictive and program driven, as opposed to being needs driven, will stymie the ability of Medicare Locals to design programs and service models that address the specific needs of their local communities,” the ...

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.  ...

Expert claims reform think tanks biased

ATTEMPTS by the Federal Government to overhaul the health system were flawed from the start, a health policy expert has argued, as the independent think tanks steering reform directions were loaded with industry figures unable to “think outside the box”.  Speaking at a health reform forum hosted by the Australian National University last week, Ian McAuley, a fellow of the Centre for Policy Development, said the Government’s advisory bodies, including the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, had too much representation by health industry insiders. The bodies had failed to deliver a blueprint for a better integrated ...

Expert claims reform think tanks biased

ATTEMPTS by the Federal Government to overhaul the health system were flawed from the start, a health policy expert has argued, as the independent think tanks steering reform directions were loaded with industry figures unable to “think outside the box”.  Speaking at a health reform forum hosted by the Australian National University last week, Ian McAuley, a fellow of the Centre for Policy Development, said the Government’s advisory bodies, including the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, had too much representation by health industry insiders. The bodies had failed to deliver a blueprint for a better integrated ...

Medicare Locals boundaries mapped

THE overarching plan for Medicare Locals has started to take shape, with the release of a new proposal for their geographical boundaries. According to the proposal, there will be 44 to 60 Locals, each covering populations from 250,000 to 500,000 people. The boundaries were originally put forward in a report commissioned by the AGPN; however, this will now be used by the Federal Government as the basis for consultation. Two options have been put forward, and in each case the Northern Territory and Tasmania would have just one Medicare Local, while NSW would have the most ...

Govt needs to put a face to the name of Medicare Locals

THE lack of a long-term vision for the new Medicare Locals must be addressed if the new bodies are to fulfil their potential, the AGPN has argued. In its submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee inquiry into COAG health and hospital reforms, the AGPN voiced concern at a “lack of an overall, longer-term vision” for Medicare Locals. There was also a lack of alignment between the outcomes these new bodies would be expected to achieve, and the authority and resources they would be handed to achieve them. “[Medicare Locals] require real authority, responsibility ...

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 ...

Poll: GPs fail to see merits of Medicare Locals

Poll: GPs fail to see merits of Medicare Locals

THE Federal Government is facing an uphill battle to convince GPs that Medicare Locals are worthwhile, with a recent MO poll indicating that half do not see advantages in the new bodies.  The national poll of 150 GPs revealed just 14% were on board with the pending transformation of divisions of general practice. The Federal Government has budgeted $290.5 million for the transformation.  Eighty-three per cent of those surveyed did not believe the new bodies would lead to improved planning of primary health care services – a key objective of Medicare Locals. Seventy-two per cent ...

Budget comment

Health spending up despite an austere budget Professor Jim Butler, Director, Australian Centre for Economic Research on Health Australian National University The macroeconomic parameters for this year’s Commonwealth budget have led to modest growth in government spending. Total expenditure is estimated to grow by only 3.4% in current prices in 2010-11 compared with the last financial year. In real terms, after adjusting for the expected increase in the Consumer Price Index, the increase is a meagre 0.5%.  But health spending is a different story with a projected increase of 7.8% in ...

GP groups welcome Budget’s $1.2 billion investment in frontline healthcare

AFTER the disappointment of last year’s Budget, GP and primary health care has enjoyed billion-dollar wins in the Rudd Government’s third Budget. The Federal Government has set aside $1.2 billion to improve GP and primary health care, including $355.2 million for a widespread rollout of the controversial GP super clinic program. The funding provides for 23 new dedicated GP super clinics plus upgrades to around 425 primary care facilities. Grants to upgrade practices will be worth up to $500,000 per practice. The Government also unveiled the expected new practice nurse incentive payments. All practices will now ...

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