Strategy being reunited with health policy decision-making: AHHA welcomes Medicare review announcement

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has welcomed Health Minister Ley's announcement of a comprehensive review of items funded through the Medical Benefits Schedule, and a review of care and funding models.

"A detailed review of the services funded through Medicare is long overdue," said AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven. "It is pleasing that the Government is now shifting its focus away from blunt fiscal measures, to more strategic efforts aimed at reducing waste, increasing efficiency, and improving health system sustainability and patient care."

"Ensuring that the services funded through Medicare are appropriate and cost-effective will contribute far more to the sustainability of the system than imposing co-payments and freezing rebates.  To further support sustainability, the review process needs to implement mechanisms for regular ongoing reviews to ensure that Medicare-funded services reflect best practice and best value."

"The rebates paid for Medicare items must reflect both the cost and the value of the service. This review provides an excellent opportunity to structure the funded services and rebates to encourage health professionals and consumers to have an increased focus on prevention and early intervention.   The rebate paid should reflect both the immediate cost and the longer term health benefits."

"It will be important to engage consumers and the broader health system in the review process to ensure the implications of changes across the sector are considered. The AHHA looks forward to participating actively in this process, in its role as the peak body representing public and not-for-profit health service providers in both the primary and acute care sectors.”

“The move away from co-payments and these review processes are important steps in restoring the credibility of the Commonwealth Government in the health sector, and Minister Ley is to be congratulated for accepting the challenge to look for new solutions.  Restoration of the funding for hospitals that was stripped in last year’s Budget will be a further sign that the Government is committed to ensuring accessible and affordable health services for all Australians,” said Ms Verhoeven.

 

The AHHA represents Australia’s largest group of health care providers in public hospitals, community and primary health sectors and advocates for universal high quality healthcare to benefit the whole community.

Media enquiries:

Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive

0403 282 501