AMA submission on Independent Hospital Pricing Authority
The AMA's submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee on the National Health Reform Amendment (Independent Hospital Pricing Authority) Bill 2011 highlights the importance of the Pricing Authority, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, and the National Health Performance Authority collaborating on their roles and responsibilities, for example, on data collection requirements.
It also points out that the Pricing Authority should consider the standards set by the Performance Authority when calculating the national 'efficient' price, that is, it must take into account the performance that must be achieved. In addition, the National Health Reform Agreement allows states to pay hospitals less than the determined efficient price, therefore, we recommend that the actual payments made to hospitals are reported to Parliament so that it is clear when poor performance is linked to insufficient funding.
Consistent with previous submissions, the AMA also calls for:
- transparent and apolitical processes in the appointment of Pricing Authority and Clinical Advisory Committee members;
- the capacity for individuals and non-government organisations to make submissions to the Pricing Authority on any matter falling under its responsibilities; and
- allegations of cost shifting to be reported by anyone, not just jurisdictions, and for the Pricing Authority to investigate and report on allegations upheld.
Overall the Bill before Parliament responds to the AMA's lobbying last year to ensure the Pricing Authority considers the range of variables affecting the actual costs of providing health care services when calculating the national efficient price. However we recommend that the Authority is explicitly required to ensure hospitals can fulfil their teaching and research obligations.