Billion dollar Medicare investment positive for health (Budget 2017/18)
Announced tonight in the 2017/18 Federal Budget, Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has welcomed the partial end to the four-year freeze on the Medicare rebate, however asserts the savings should be passed on to consumers to reduce the financial burden of accessing medical care.
Bulk-billing incentives for GPs will be indexed from 1 July 2017, with standard consultations by GPs and specialist attendances to be indexed from 1 July 2018. Specialist procedures and allied health service indexation will commence from 1 July 2019. The government will also recommence indexation of certain diagnostic imaging listed on the MBS from 2020.
CHA acknowledges growing costs associated with the provision of high-quality health care and welcomes the incremental abandonment of the Medicare rebate freeze to relieve the burden placed on clinicians. CHA’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood, is adamant that the abolishment of the freeze must ensure translation to a relative reduction in out-of-pocket costs for Australian taxpayers.
Government review of aged care quality regulatory arrangements welcomed by Catholic Health Australia
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) welcomes today’s announcement by Minister Wyatt that the government will respond to the Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service review with an independent review of aged care quality regulatory arrangements.
Minister Wyatt announced that the review will investigate the Commonwealth’s aged care quality regulatory processes to determine why the extent of the failures of care at Makk and McLeay wards, as documented in the recent South Australian Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service review, were not identified.
“A review of the regulatory processes relating to the quality of aged care is timely. Ensuring older Australians in need of care and support receive high quality services that meet their needs and preferences is a prerequisite for a civil society,” said CHA’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood.
Voluntary Assisted Dying: Andrews Government must guarantee equitable access to all end-of-life options
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has urged the Andrews Government to release its financial modelling to demonstrate how the government will resource both end-of-life care and education to ensure all Victorians have equitable access to options other than voluntary assisted suicide (VAS) should VAS be made legal in Victoria this year.
“We’re deeply concerned that the Andrews Government is pushing ahead with its voluntary assisted suicide laws when existing end-of-life services such as palliative care are so severely under-resourced in Victoria,” said CHA’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood.
“There are so few adequately resourced palliative care services available to those who live outside of metropolitan Melbourne. Victorians need to know how the government will ensure every Victorian resident, regardless of their means or location, will have equitable access to other end-of-life care services if the government’s assisted dying legislation passes through Parliament.”
Private health insurers must not diminish access to mental health services with exclusive policies
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) is adamant that excluding mental health cover from silver and bronze level private health insurance products would result in fewer options for some of the most vulnerable people in society.
A proposal to exclude mental health cover from anything but the most expensive insurance products was tabled at the third meeting of the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee, comprised of healthcare and private health insurance stakeholders.
The impact of mental illness in Australia is significant, costing $8.5 billion in 2014/15 and comprising approximately 13 per cent of Australia’s total burden of disease.
“An estimated 45 per cent of Australians will experience some form of mental disorder in their lifetime,” said Catholic Health Australia’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood.
“This proposal to reduce or exclude mental health cover as part of reforming Australia’s private health insurance sector suggests the interests of consumers are not at its core,” said Mrs Greenwood.
Key aged care policy to increase consumer choice and control falters
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has urged the Turnbull Government to take action in its 2017-18 Budget to improve older Australians access to home care packages that match their assessed needs – to be achieved by stepping up the release of new home care places and assigning packages to individuals as prioritised by MyAgedCare.
CHA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Suzanne Greenwood, is disappointed that the Government’s policy to increase the overall target provision ratio to 125 operational aged care places per 1,000 people aged 70 and over by 2021-22 and increasing the target ratio for home care packages to 45, announced in the 2012-13 Budget, has seen little progression in six years.
“Since 30 June 2011, the operational provision ratio for home care packages has increased by only 4.9 to 31.9 – well below the rate required to reach the target ratio of 45 by 2021-22,” said Mrs Greenwood. “And in addition to the slow growth towards the home care package target, the overall operational provision ratio covering both residential aged care beds and home care packages has increased by only 0.4 (from 112.8 at 30 June 2011 to 113.2 at 30 June 2016).”
AMA on point joining call for greater investment in quality end of life care
Catholic Health Australia’s (CHA) CEO, Suzanne Greenwood, has welcomed the Australian Medical Association’s call for greater investment in quality end of life care services and a campaign to increase community awareness to better support healthy end of life choices.
“Representing Australia’s medical doctors, the AMA is an important authoritative and ethical voice in the assisted suicide debate,” said Mrs Greenwood. “Doctors are confronting the realities of caring for the terminally ill every day, and policy-makers should be taking note.”
Representing the single largest non-government provider grouping of hospital, community and aged care services in the country, CHA shares the AMA’s objective to achieve greater investment in quality end of life care to ensure every Australian has equitable access to affordable high-quality palliative care services.
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.