NEWS, EVENTS & OPPORTUNITIES
NEW: Budget 2016: ACFI Modelling - Summary Findings (June 2016) (download)
NEW - Health Matters No.78 is out now - available for FREE (download)
This edition of Health Matters welcomes the insights of sector experts such as Dr Alex Wodak AM, President, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation and former Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service, St. Vincent's Hospital; President and CEO of CHA-USA and 2016 CHA National Conference keynote, Sr Carol Keehan DC; Managing Director of Catholic Healthcare Ltd, David Maher; and CHA's Dr Ellen Marks, amongst others.
CHA 2016 National Conference Registration Brochure is Now Available - (download)
NEW: CHA Pastoral Care Mapping Survey Full Report released (download)
Please click the image above to be redirected to CHA's publications page. The Full Report, Short Report, and Pastoral Care Assessment Tool are all available for FREE download.
At the CHA National Conference theMy Future Care website was launched. The web based resource provides information to help ensure people think about their health care needs and discuss them with others. The resource provides a framework that is consistent with the CHACode of Ethical Standardsfor Catholic health and aged care services, but has been designed to be appropriate for people of all faiths and none.
VIEW CARE PLAN DOCUMENTS
Partners Apunipima and Catholic Health Australia working to close the health gap in Cape York
Representatives from Catholic Health Australia (CHA), HESTA and James Cook University joined Apunipima Cape York Health Council in far north Queensland on a visit to the remote communities of Napranum and Aurukun. A health workshop followed which identified approaches by which the Catholic health and aged care sector can help close the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Cape York.
With the support of HESTA, St Vincent’s Health Australia, Mater Health Services, and Cabrini Health were in attendance for the three-day community visits and workshop. Site visits included the soon to be opened Apunipima primary health care centre in Napranum and newly opened centre in Aurukun.
“Apunipima’s objective is to achieve health equity across all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Cape York,” said Paula Arnol, Apunipima’s Acting Chief Executive Officer.
“The opening of new primary health care facilities in Aurukun and Napranum is a significant step towards our goal of providing equitable access to quality health care services in the Cape’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, but there are still serious challenges surrounding workforce – especially a shortage of clinical staff – together with logistics and the stretching of our limited funding to provide the levels of services required to close the health gap.”
Please follow this link to read the media release.
CHA congratulates Sussan Ley's reappointment as Minister for Health and Aged Care
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) congratulates Minister Ley, today reappointed Minister for Health and Ageing. CHA looks forward to continuing to work with Minister Ley and the Turnbull Government to ensure that all Australians are able to access timely, affordable and quality health care and aged care services, regardless of socio-economic status or geographic location.
CHA’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood, said today that “Minister Ley has shown a willingness to work with key health organisations to improve the health system. The Minister has initiated a number of crucial reviews during her previous term. The outcomes from these reviews will move health provision in Australia towards one more focused on consumer needs and patient-centred care.”
“It is important to recognise that although Australians generally enjoy good health in comparison to most other countries, there are many groups that are still missing out, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, as well as those who live in regional areas, come from lower socio-economic backgrounds and those who suffer from mental health or dental health conditions. Much remains to be done to improve the health outcomes and health equity of all Australians,” said Mrs Greenwood.
Independent report confirms essential aged care funding to be cut by 11%
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) in partnership with UnitingCare and Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) has today released an independent review that supports fears that the Turnbull Government’s changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI), which target older people with the most complex health care needs, will result in funding reductions that will significantly exceed Government estimates.
The review, conducted by Ansell Strategic, was undertaken to assess the impact of the proposed changes to the ACFI on funding and the care of residents. It involved 501 aged care homes and almost 39,000 residents across Australia.
“It has been our concern from the beginning that the ACFI changes designed to pull back on the rate of growth of funding per resident per annum on account of the increasing frailty of residents will cut deeper than intended, and will compromise the ability for the sector to provide for residents in need of the most complex care,” said Catholic Health Australia’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood.
“The Report confirms that changes to the ACFI would decrease funding per resident by an average of $6,655 and reduce funding for aged care homes by 11% on average,” said Mrs Greenwood.
Senator Xenophon’s call for Senate Inquiry into aged care funding welcomed
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) welcomes Senator Xenophon’s call for a Senate Inquiry into aged care funding, announced today.
CHA last week called on Minister Ley to release the financial modelling that informed the significant changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) which the Department of Health estimates will reduce aged care funding by approximately $2 billion over four years to 2019-20.
“The government’s changes to the ACFI, outlined in the 2015 MYEFO and the 2016-17 Budget, target aged care residents in need of the most complex health and nursing care,” said Catholic Health Australia’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood.
Labor’s plan for those living with dementia welcomed
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) welcomes the Labor Party’s commitment to allocate $25 million through the development of a National Dementia Strategy to address the increasing incidence of dementia.
Catholic Health Australia’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood, said today that “ensuring a coordinated national approach will assist in caring for and improving the quality of life of the increasing number of people living with dementia.”
“With the number expected to grow, the demands on the health and aged care systems will also grow and it is important that the nation is able to deal with the future challenges for health and aged care spending,” said Mrs Greenwood.
“The plan to see more communities embracing a dementia-friendly approach will better enable people with dementia and their informal carers to remain living in the community and avoid premature entry into residential aged care.”
Labor’s commitment to reverse cuts to the MBS pathology bulk billing incentives welcomed
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) welcomes today’s announcement that a Shorten Labor government would not proceed with the removal of the bulk billing incentive items for pathology tests.
CHA CEO, Suzanne Greenwood said today that “this proposal will remove some of the current financial pressure facing the sector and will help to ensure current levels of bulk billing are maintained.”
“Too many vulnerable and disadvantaged patients are already not accessing necessary health services due to high out of pocket costs for GP and specialist visits. We should not be adding to this burden,” Mrs Greenwood added.
“We welcome this measure as a recognition of the challenges facing pathology, and in particular the not-for-profit and independent providers.”
CHA calls for transparency surrounding aged care cuts
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) fears that financial modelling informing the Turnbull Government’s Budget changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) which target aged care residents with the most complex health care needs significantly underestimates the true impact on aged care services and the care of residents.
Assessments by service providers of the changes are all indicating that they will reduce annual care funding in aged care homes by up to 12%, depending on the care needs of the residents in each home.
“If implemented, cuts of this magnitude will compromise the care of residents that require the most complex nursing care,” warned Catholic Health Australia’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood.
CHA welcomes Coalition support for Specialist Dementia Care Units
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) welcomes the Coalition’s commitment of $11.4 million in support of the 350,000 Australians living with dementia, their families and communities.
“Today’s pledge of $7.5 million to be allocated to establishing Specialist Dementia Care Units is a step in the right direction for the care of residents who show severe psychological and behavioural symptoms as a result of dementia and is one CHA has supported from the beginning,” said Catholic Health Australia’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood.
CHA believes that such specialist support services for people showing severe Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) should be of the highest priority. Currently, people who show BPSD are a potential danger to themselves, other residents of an aged care facility, staff and the community.
Labor’s commitment to provide additional funding for public hospitals welcomed
Today’s announcement that a Shorten Labor government will re-commit to funding 50% of the efficient growth in public hospital costs was welcomed by CHA CEO, Suzanne Greenwood.
“Our public hospitals play a vital role in the health of our community, including the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. It is important that they are provided with the resources necessary to maintain that role,” Mrs Greenwood said.
“The commitment by Labor to 50% growth funding would ensure that the Commonwealth will continue over the long term to play its share in making sure that public hospitals are properly resourced.
By being exposed to growth in hospital costs, it will also strengthen the incentive for the Commonwealth to appropriately fund primary and aged care services – thereby reducing future hospital demand”, said Mrs Greenwood.
Government private health insurance announcement a win for consumers
"Today’s announcement that a re-elected Turnbull government will act to make private health insurance more transparent and easy to understand is a big win for consumers and will benefit the wider health system," CHA CEO, Suzanne Greenwood said today.
“Private health insurance plays an important role in Australia’s health system. With around half the population being covered by private health insurance, it is vital that consumers have a good understanding of what they are covered for.”
“The range and complexity of health fund products, including the options for exclusions and limitations, means that the vast majority of consumers do not understand the scope of coverage of their insurance product.”
“When consumers do need hospital treatment, many can be disappointed to find that they do not have the level of cover they thought and face the prospect of significant out of pocket costs.”
Urgent action needed to maintain not-for-profit and independent pathology
“Whoever is elected to government on 2 July will need to take urgent action to ensure the continuation of the not-for-profit and independent pathology sector,” CEO of Catholic Health Australia (CHA), Suzanne Greenwood, said today.
“The not-for-profit pathology sector is under extreme financial pressure as a result of ongoing cuts to MBS rebates, a freeze in MBS indexation since 1998, unilateral reductions in benefits paid by private health insurers and rapid increases in collection centre costs.”
“Additionally, the Medicare rules mean a large number of tests performed by pathology labs are not remunerated.”
The removal of the bulk billing incentives from 1 July would have dealt a further heavy blow to the sector.
“Whilst CHA welcomes the commitment that a returned Turnbull government will address the issue of high collection centre rents, this will disproportionately assist the larger corporate providers and will not be sufficient to adequately offset the cuts imposed on smaller providers by removing the bulk billing incentives.”
Health consumers to pay more as Budget initiatives bite
“CHA is concerned that consumers are going to pay more for necessary health care following tonight’s Federal Budget announcements,” said Suzanne Greenwood, CEO of Catholic Health Australia (CHA).
“The cuts to the pathology and diagnostic imaging bulk billing incentives announced last December are likely to see consumers paying higher out of pocket costs for blood tests and diagnostic services as early as 1 July this year.”
The extension of the freeze on MBS rebates for a further two years to 2019-20 will place further pressure on out of pocket costs.
Many private health insurance members will also face higher premium costs from 2018 as a result of a three year freeze in the indexation of the income tiers thresholds.
There are also likely to be further cuts to a range of workforce and other programmes that support services such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Please follow this link to read the media release.
Aged Care Budget is a ‘mixed bag’
Catholic Health Australia’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood has tonight described the 2016 Budget as a ‘mixed bag’ for aged care.
The Budget includes new measures to curb growth in funding for nursing and personal care in residential care, while increasing the viability supplement for rural and remote aged care services and providing additional funding to further strengthen MyAgedCare.
Nursing and personal care funding in residential care will be reduced by a further $1.2 billion over the next four years mainly by halving the indexation rate for the Complex Health Care Domain of the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI).
“This Budget marks the third time in almost as many years that growth in care payments under ACFI has exceeded Budget estimates,” said Mrs Greenwood.
“This is further evidence that ACFI is failing as a funding tool.”
Please follow this link to view the media release.