GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 10 - 18 March 2011

18 Mar 2011

AMA seeks Minister’s response on Non VR Rebates

The AMA has written to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Ms Nicola Roxon, again on the issue of non VR rebates.  The AMA has raised with the Minister the need for a further round of grandfathering but also the inappropriateness of the small separation in the rebates at present between non VR medical practitioners and Nurse Practitioners.  If non VR rebates remain excluded from indexation and NPs are indexed, a negative relativity will emerge.

The AMA has indicated its willingness to work with the Minister’s Department to develop a proposal to address this issue for consideration in the context of the upcoming Budget.

Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program

From 1 May 2011, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) will introduce an innovative new health program for eligible DVA Gold Card holders.

The DVA this week announced the program and advised the completion of the selection process for service partners.

The Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) Program will target Veterans with chronic disease and complex care needs who are most at risk of an unplanned hospitalisation.

General practitioners, supported by a practice nurse or a DVA contracted community nurse, will receive new payments to provide comprehensive planned and coordinated care to eligible veterans. The program is expected to benefit an estimated 17,000 or 10 per cent of eligible DVA Gold Card holders by 2014.

The Australian Medical Association, as a member of the CVC Program’s Clinical Reference Group, has been involved throughout the program’s design.

Further information is available here.

Australia to host the World Medical Association (WMA) Council

The 188th World Medical Association (WMA) Council Session will be held in Sydney next month.

The WMA Council Session – one of the biggest events on the international health policy calendar – is being hosted in Australia for the first time since 1994.

From 5-9 April at Sydney’s Westin Hotel, the Council will convene a range of meetings and forums, featuring some of the leading authorities in global health, to enhance collaboration across the international medical community and advance the WMA’s policies.

A highlight of the Session will be the Symposium – Medical Leadership: The View From Down Under – which is being hosted by AMA and the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA).

Speakers include BMA President, Professor Sir Michael Marmot; His Excellency The Hon Brendan Nelson, Australia’s Representative to NATO and WHO; Chairman of NZMA, Dr Peter Foley; Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing, Jane Halton; and former AMA President, Dr Bruce Shepherd.

AMA members are welcome to attend the symposium (register here).

Advice on radiation exposure from Japanese damaged nuclear reactors

The Department of Health and Ageing together with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) have released fact sheets and related material to advise and guide medical practitioners and the community on managing the current radiation risk in Japan. The documents include:

  • Advice for Australians remaining in Japan
  • Advice for Australians returning home
  • Consolidated Advice for Medical Practitioners

The advice is being updated regularly as the situation unfolds. To access this material click here.

Centre for Independent Studies Report (CIS)

People see a GP because they are sick, and recent BEACH data shows that GPs are increasingly treating patients with complex chronic disease helping to keep them out of hospital, Vice President, Dr Steve Hambleton said in response to a CIS report on Medicare. The report argues that Medicare over subsidises primary health care, resulting in a misallocation of funding to those with less serious health needs at the primary health care level and away from those with the greater health needs at the hospital level, thus impacting on wait times for hospital surgery. To address hospital waiting lists and improve access to care the Government needs to better fund public hospitals to have more beds and to be able to deal with increasing demands, Dr Hambleton said. While the report suggests that Government is overspending on minor health issues leading to rationing of hospital services the AMA reaffirms that within the context of an annual health budget of $120 billion around $4.9 billion is spent on GP services. A copy of the report is here.

We welcome your comments and suggestions as well.  Please tell us what you think.

The AMA Platinum Edge Credit Card from American Express

A sophisticated reflection of your professional success, the AMA Platinum Edge Credit Card includes a range of complimentary benefits – including domestic economy return flight each year when you enrol in Membership Rewards Ascent* and Travel Insurance for trips purchased with your Card*. You’ll also save $50 p.a. with a reduced annual Card Fee of just $99.

Plus you will receive a complimentary $200 MyPrePaidCard when you apply online, are approved and spend at least $500 on your new Card before 30 June 2011*.

*Conditions apply.

To find out more go to

In this Issue

AMA seeks Minister’s response on Non VR Rebates

Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program

Australia to host the World Medical Association (WMA) Council

Advice on radiation exposure from Japanese damaged nuclear reactors

Centre for Independent Studies Report (CIS)

The AMA Platinum Edge Credit Card from American Express

Email the AMA

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AMA is the peak medical organisation in Australia representing the profession’s interests to Government and the wider community.
Your Federal AMA General Practice Policy team can be contacted via email or by phone (02) 6270 5400
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