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The following articles have the tag funding

Limit private health insurer role in general practice: AMA

THE role of private health insurers in general practice must be targeted and limited, and a model that supports a greater role for GPs should be explored, according to the AMA.

Stronger partnerships needed between private health and GPs

GENERAL practice must form stronger partnerships with private health insurers (PHI) in order to deliver better coordinated patient care through new funding models, the AMA has said.

No pay for performance: Hambleton

No pay for performance: Hambleton

AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton has warned the government away from a pay for performance model of rewarding GPs.

Call for population complexity payment

THE RACGP has called for a new approach to general practice funding in its pre-budget submission to the federal government, including the introduction of a population complexity payment.

College calls for population complexity payment

THE RACGP has called for a new approach to general practice funding in its pre-budget submission to the federal government, including the introduction of a population complexity payment.

No new funding for GPs ‘astounds’ AMA

No new funding for GPs ‘astounds’ AMA

THE AMA has said it is “astounded” that the latest draft National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework – developed by both Commonwealth and state governments – contains no new funding for the sector in the immediate future.

Funding stalemate for 182 med students unresolved

Funding stalemate for 182 med students unresolved

THE Commonwealth and state governments remain at a stalemate over provision of funding for 182 international medical student intern places after two weeks of negotiations between the parties failed to finalise a deal.

Funding stalemate for 182 med students unresolved

Funding stalemate for 182 med students unresolved

THE Commonwealth and state governments remain at a stalemate over provision of funding for 182 international medical student intern places after two weeks of negotiations between the parties failed to finalise a deal.

General practice centre stage in Qld election

THE major parties have staked out Queensland general practice as a key battleground in this weekend’s state election, as AMA Queensland laments the focus on “personality politics” over policy debate.

Divisions row over after-hours care

THE West Australian government is refusing to intervene as two neighbouring divisions run competing state-subsidised after-hours clinics – next door to each other – following a dispute over a government contract.

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 ...

Govt revises practice nurse incentive budget

GPs have renewed calls for the Federal Government to reveal its financial modelling of the Practice Nurse Incentive Program following a belated clarification that the program budget could be far greater than $390 million. As of 2012 practices will be paid $25,000 per full-time equivalent GP to hire a practice nurse.  However, several nurse MBS items will be scrapped, leading GPs to fear they will be left out of pocket. It was widely thought the program budget was $390 million over four years, however MO has learned that the Government plans to draw on funds that ...

E-record support comes at a price

MOST Australians favour the introduction of an e-health record (EHR) to facilitate exchange of patient information, but only 27% are prepared to pay for it, a new survey by an IT services company has revealed. Launched at the Health Informatics Society of Australia’s recent HIC 2010 conference in Melbourne, the survey by CSC Australia showed a wide gap between public expectations of what an EHR should look like and how it should be funded, and the capabilities of current EHR initiatives. Nearly two-thirds of respondents supported the introduction of an EHR, including 34% strongly in favour, but ...

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 ...

Western Australia steadfast on GST takeover resistance

AS the deadline for the Federal Government’s health reforms looms, Western Australia is remaining firm on its refusal to sign up to the controversial plan. With new health funding arrangements set to commence from 1 July, WA remains the only state not to have signed up to the agreement, which would see the Government assume control of 30% of the states’ GST revenue. The revenue would be placed in a pool of funding used to finance health and hospital services. The deal would provide funding for increased GP training numbers, additional money for aged care as well ...

Govt targets HbA1c as marker of success

THE Federal Health Department has given the clearest signal yet that HbA1c levels will used as a benchmark to monitor improvement of patient care and outcomes under its controversial new diabetes funding scheme. The news has led to renewed calls from diabetes and primary care experts for caution in using the measure. There is also ongoing concern that such an indicator would be clinically inappropriate and difficult to implement given the limitations of existing national data. Previous concerns about have also been raised over GPs’ inability to control patient behaviour. Responding to questioning during recent Senate ...

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 ...

Diabetes discussions vital for GPs and dietitians

BETTER and more timely communication and data sharing between dietitians and GPs is needed to improve the overall management of diabetes, according to new research. The study, based on questionnaires completed by 356 dietitians assessing Medicare’s existing Chronic Disease Management (CDM) program, also found that the limit on the number of services funded under the scheme was a major barrier to better care. Study author Dr Robyn Cant (PhD), research fellow at the Monash University school of nursing and midwifery, found the limited weekly hours worked by private practising dietitians and a reliance on paper-based communication with ...

GP shortage means many nursing home patients miss out

GP shortage means many nursing home patients miss out

ELDERLY patients are being pushed onto emergency departments as residential aged-care facilities (RACF) around the country struggle to source on-site GP care.   A recent Catholic Health Australia survey of 91 RACFs found that 57% of residents transferred to emergency departments were because of GP shortages. Eighteen per cent of RACFs said this was done either “fairly frequently” or “regularly”. Fifteen per cent indicated that accessing GPs was an ongoing difficulty that “sometimes compromised patient care”. The findings follow recent news reports of the dire state of many NSW aged-care facilities, which in turn have ...

Mt Isa super clinic paralysed by year-long funding dispute

Mt Isa super clinic paralysed by year-long funding dispute

PLANS for the Mt Isa GP super clinic remain at a standstill, 12 months after the local division charged with developing the project raised concerns that the $2.5 million allocated was insufficient. The Federal Government remains locked in a stalemate with North & West Queensland Primary Health Care, with division chair Dr Viney Joshi saying the funding would need to be doubled for a viable super clinic to be established. Former division chair Dr Harvey Roux voiced concerns over the level of funding for the project last year (MO, 1 May 2009). However, the division signed a ...

AMA alternative to diabetes scheme gets RACGP backing

THE AMA’s recently-released alternative to the Rudd Government’s unpopular diabetes plan has won over the RACGP but at least one senior academic is unconvinced of its merits.  The alternative model comes a month after the Government unveiled its $436 million diabetes scheme, which will introduce voluntary patient enrolment and pay for performance into general practice. Under the AMA model, existing GP Management Plans would be simplified, allowing patients to access five allied health visits and selected home aids, including safety and mobility equipment, without the need for additional Team Care Arrangements. For patients with chronic and ...

Rudd’s reforms a ‘poisoned chalice’

THE Rudd Government’s health reform plans have come under renewed fire for failing to end health cost-shifting and the ‘blame game’ between the federal and state governments as experts continue to deconstruct them. Professor Jeff Richardson, foundation director of the Centre for Health Economics at Monash University, labelled the reform package a “poisoned chalice”, and said the funding arrangements would not stop public hospitals attempting to push their patients back on to GPs. Professor Richardson was one of several experts who criticised the reforms in the latest MJA. The proposals agreed at the recent Council of Australian ...

New health blame game could be in store

New health blame game could be in store

Establishing Local Hospital Networks and regional Primary Health Care Organisations (PHCOs) could create a new frontier for the ‘blame game’ within the health system. Addressing a forum hosted by the Australian National University, RDAA CEO Steve Sant warned the bodies might use each other as scapegoats if the system did not work. “Are we going to see another report in a few years titled Shifting the Blame Game about the networks blaming PHCOs and vice versa because they have not changed the health outcomes of [those] they serve?” he asked. Philip Davies, professor of health systems ...

GP income threatened by new diabetes scheme

GPs will need to look closely at their practice contracts to ensure their personal earnings don’t take a hit under the Government’s new diabetes scheme. The $436 million scheme will see practices awarded block-funding for each patient they enrol, plus an average bonus payment of $10,800 per year based partly on their performance in keeping patients healthy. Block funding will consist of annual payments of $1200 per enrolled patient, which will be split $950 for general practices and $250 for allied care. It remains unclear, however, whether the $250 for ...

GP shortage threatens to sink practice and super clinic plan

GP shortage threatens to sink practice and super clinic plan

THE future of a rural NSW GP super clinic due to open next year is in serious doubt with its operator unable to recruit enough GPs to maintain stretched existing services. The Narrandera Medical Centre in the Riverina region last year won a $1 million super clinic contract, which would involve expansion of the practice.  However, practice executive director Liz Romeo has written to Health Minister Nicola Roxon warning that without additional GPs to staff the clinic, existing medical services in the town may fold, and a super clinic will not be viable. The warning follows ...

Call to expand practice nurse incentive

ONE in four GP practices operating without a practice nurse do so because they do not qualify for the associated practice incentive payment (PIP), an AGPN survey has revealed.  The National Practice Nurse Workforce Survey found that, of the 2584 practices surveyed, 56.9% employed a practice nurse. Of those that didn’t, 24.4% attributed it to their ineligibility for the practice nurse PIP, while 17.3% cited lack of space. Only rural practices are eligible for the PIP, prompting AGPN chair Dr Emil Djakic to renew calls for the Government to extend the incentive to all practices. He also ...

Federal Government unveils hospital takeover plan

Federal Government unveils hospital takeover plan

THE Federal Government has announced plans to become the dominant funder of hospital services across the country, as the first step in its long-awaited health and hospitals reform plan. Under the new funding arrangements outlined today by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the Government plans to take over 60% of the funding for public hospitals with Local Hospital Networks, to be run by local clinical leaders, established to administer services. The Government will also assume responsibility for all GP and primary care services. “By taking full funding and policy responsibility for primary care we can also reduce ...

GPs back investment in nurses over NPs

DIRECTING funding to practice nurses rather than investing in nurse practitioners (NPs) having access to the PBS and MBS would represent better value, according to GP groups. Their comments come as a Senate committee has backed a change to the Federal Government’s legislation that would open Medicare and subsidised prescribing rights to NPs. The amendment would make...

Youth mental health care $200m short

THE Federal Government needs to invest $200 million in new youth mental health services as a matter of priority, rather than wait for its health reform blueprint to be finalised, a mental health expert has claimed. Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry, from the Centre for Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, has called for $100 million to be ploughed into tripling the number of headspace centres, from 30 up to 90. The youth mental health centres currently draw together GP, mental health, drug and alcohol services and employment services in one ...

Vertebroplasty: the debate for and against

Vertebroplasty’s five-year interim MBS funding is up for review. Chris Brooker looks at the controversy over the procedure’s efficacy. EXPERT opinion on the merits of vertebroplasty as a treatment for vertebral fracture is as divided as ever, following the 2009 publication of trials questioning its efficacy and safety. While these findings have led to calls for its public funding status to be reconsidered by the Australian Government, proponents remain convinced vertebroplasty is a procedure that brings relief to patients suffering acute pain.  Vertebroplasty involves the injection of polymethylmethacrylate (acrylic cement) directly ...

Shift mental health funding: expert

GOVERNMENT funding for mental health initiatives must be shifted from the Better Access program and into the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) scheme if the nation’s neediest are to get access to psychological care, according to a leading mental health advocate. Professor Ian Hickie, executive director of the Brain & Mind Research Institute, said when compared to the Better Access scheme, ATAPS provided a better avenue to reach people who were young, on low incomes or in rural areas. “The balance between Better Access and ATAPS is clearly wrong,” he said. “To have 95% ...

Doubts cast over funding of GP-based INR testing

AS data continues to emerge from the government-funded point-of-care testing (PoCT) trial, a top government advisor has cast doubt over the likelihood of future MBS funded INR tests in general practice. The latest figures from the PoCT trial, published in Pathology, shows GP INR testing was comparable to lab tests over six months in a sample of 417 patients from 26 general practices. Dr Caroline Laurence (PhD), senior research fellow at the University of Adelaide and member of the trial management group, said the study only reaffirmed safety and accuracy of INR PoCT in the short term. ...

Push to remove tax burden from rural grants program

RURAL doctors have urged the Rudd Government to rework its rural infrastructure grant program so GPs can access funding without facing major tax bills. Announced in the 2009-10 Budget, the National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Program provides $46 million over four years to improve  GP access to funding for essential health infrastructure, equipment and service planning. However, RDAA CEO Steve Sant said many rural practices had been discouraged from applying for the grants – worth up to $500,000 – due to the tax component, which the RDAA has estimated is set at a rate ...

College's Budget push for expanded nurse items and POCT

GREATER investment in general practice and primary care, including an expansion of MBS items for practice nurses and MBS funding for point-of-care testing, must be a priority in the next federal Budget, according to the RACGP. In its Budget submission, the college has called for a $530 million investment in general practice and primary care infrastructure as well as increased funding for prevocational and vocational training places. RACGP president Dr Chris Mitchell said that the Government needed to prioritise investment in health, following the disappointment of last year’s Budget. “GP supply has fallen by 2% since ...