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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:28 pm 
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Pay doctors more but only when they provide the right care say health funds

Doctors would be paid 30 per cent more by Medicare and health funds but only when they provided quality care under a controversial plan being pushed by private health insurers.

Private Healthcare Australia chief Dr Michael Armitage has presented a plan to the government that shows taxpayers could save billions if Medicare and health funds pay for evidence based care in line with clinical guidelines.

It comes as health funds are poised to this month win approval for a premium rise worth over 6 per cent or three times the inflation rate.

A recent Productivity Commission report found GPs were failing to do their job properly with many not devising asthma or diabetes plans for their patients and prescribing antibiotics for viruses when they don’t work.

Dr Armitage says a study into how doctors took up Heart Foundation guidelines on coronary care showed fewer than five per cent of doctors followed them.

And a Grattan Institute Report found major variations in the way different doctors cared for their patients that cost the health system lots of money.

“We should no longer be relying solely on fee for service and instead pay a fee for the best service or the most appropriate service,” Dr Armitage told News Corp.

The most appropriate service would be determined by clinical guidelines set by doctors themselves, he said.

The health fund lobbyist says his system would ensure governments and health funds “only paid people for doing the right things”.

“The model would reward practices that provide services that improve patient care,” he said.

Australian Medical Association president Professor Brian Owler, however, says it is simply the latest attempt by health funds to introduce the failed US managed care system into Australia.

“Patient care is a matter between the doctor and the patient and the doctor is in the best position to decide what is the best care,” Professor Owler said.

“When the payer interferes because of cost containment patients are denied care or have delayed care.

“The minister would be poorly advised if she accepts this proposal.”

Health Minister Sussan Ley has been consulting the health sector on what to do about the government’s unpopular $5 GP fee the government cannot get through the Senate.

There has been confusion about whether the government is planning to dump the GP fee but Ms Ley says it remains government policy.

And yesterday she hinted the government may be considering a two tier GP fee.

“Bulk-billing is there to protect the vulnerable but those who can pay a bit more need to do that and those who can pay a bit more again also need to,” she said during a visit to a GP in Western Sydney.

The minister must announce health fund premium rises before the end of the month to give the health funds time to notify their members of the increases that take effect April 1.

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health ... 7224616696


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:46 am 
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Flinders Medical Centre’s emergency department hits record patient intake on ­Monday

FLINDERS Medical Centre’s emergency department hit a record patient intake on ­Monday as 259 people walked through the doors at a rate of one every 5½ minutes.

Three ambulances were ramped for more than an hour and at least two more were ­diverted to Noarlunga Hospitalduring that time.

The surge in emergency patients presenting at the hospital, and ambulance ramping and diversions as a result, coincides with growing calls by health professionals to reject the State Government’s Transforming Health plans.

But SA Health believes the plan will reduce the high number of people presenting to EDs for treatment.

“These are the types of issues that Transforming Health is looking to fix,” SA Health spokesman Jon Logie said.

“It’s not just about the emergency department, it’s about making sure the whole hospital is working as efficiently as possible, and this means increasing the flow of patients through the beds faster, where it’s safe to do so.”

Sources inside FMC say Mondays have become the busiest days for the ED and staff are stretched to the limit.

The average daily presentation rate at its emergency department has risen from 190 people in 2012-13 to 200 last finan­cial year, figures from the annual reports reveal.

On Boxing Day last year, the number of patients presenting at the FMC emergency department hit 250 in a day for the first time.

To combat these alarming figures, SA Health assures that the Transforming Health plan will free beds to avoid situ­ations such as ambulance ramping.

“We can do this (increase patient flow) by reducing the average length of stay and increasing day case surgeries rather than overnight stays, which would free up overnight beds so when a patient gets to ED and needs admission there is bed there for them,” the SA Health spokesperson said.

The record ED intake comes amid revelations in The Advertiser on Friday that doctors have united to protest against the State Government’s plans to downgrade Noarlunga Hospital’s emergency department to a walk-in clinic.

They have accused Health Minister Jack Snelling of “dumbing down health care” and “selling out the south”, warning that lives will be lost.

http://www.news.com.au/national/south-a ... 7233959196


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