Government runs a ruler over Medicare

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Government runs a ruler over Medicare


The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has welcomed the provision of $34 million over 2 years in the 2015-16 Budget for a comprehensive review of items funded through the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS), and the recently-announced review of primary care funding models.

"A detailed review of the services funded through Medicare is long overdue," said AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven. "It is pleasing that with regard to the MBS, the Government has moved 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 is heartening to note that Dr Steve Hambleton, Chair of the review panel carrying out the review, has today suggested the potential for e-health records to be linked to Medicare-funded care plans for patients with complex problems. The investment in the e-health system announced in the Budget tonight must be targeted at better meeting the needs of both clinicians and patients for this to occur.

"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. With the review teams due to report before the end of the year, we call on the Government to commit to making public without delay the findings and recommendations once received.”


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