Health Minister Peter Dutton and Indigenous Health Minister Senator Fiona Nash (pictured above meeting with the NACCHO Board at Parliament House Canberra yesterday) told the NACCHO board they are awaiting the findings of the budget Commission of Audit, along with reviews of Medicare Locals and electronic health records, to decide the future of the health system.
Mr Dutton declared the system to be “riddled with inefficiency and waste” and foreshadowed changes to Medicare, with private health insurers likely to play a greater role and wealthy Australians asked to pay more for their care.
NACCHO will be reporting further outcomes from this meeting in the next 24 hours
Meanwhile in the Australian it is reported Treasury officials are working on a formula to determine whether health spending is sustainable
PUBLIC hospitals are wasting up to $1 billion a year and should be held to account for inefficient and substandard medical care, the Grattan Institute has warned.
In a report released last night, the think tank headed by long-time reform advocate Stephen Duckett has called for activity-based funding to be accompanied by measures that would reduce costs and rein in health inflation.
The institute’s report calls for states to exclude abnormally high costs from activity-based funding calculations to ensure the new average prices “drive hospital costs down towards achievable benchmarks”.
“But the reform won’t work on its own, the report concludes. “Tackling avoidable cost has to be at the heart of how the whole system works.
“Hospitals need data showing how much of their spending is avoidable and where that spending is concentrated.”
Last year, health fund Bupa and private hospital operator Healthscope entered into an Australian-first, quality-based funding system.
Under the arrangements Healthscope forgoes payment from the insurer if it makes a serious mistake treating any of its 3.5 million members, with reward payments likely to be considered in future for above-standard care.
Mr Dutton at the time welcomed the arrangements and said he expected providers to be more transparent and release data on avoidable costs.
“If we can bring that pressure to bear on both the public and private systems, we will end up with better health outcomes,” he said last October.
Mr Dutton has not taken the issue further and the so-called “budget emergency” has put any intergovernmental health reform talks on hold.
Treasury officials are working on a formula to determine whether health spending is sustainable.
NACCHO Chair JUSTIN MOHAMED will be telling the Coalition Government at the NACCHO SUMMT Investing in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health makes economic sense