GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 30 - 5 August 2011
This week the AMA lodged its submission to the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee Inquiry into Commonwealth Funding and Administration of Mental Health Services. AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that the submission provides the Committee with a detailed account of how Budget cuts to the GP mental health rebates under the Better Access program will severely disadvantage people with mental illness. Click here for full media release. The AMA submission is here.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that the Commonwealth and all state/territory Governments have officially signed off on the final details of the National Health Reform Agreement that was agreed by the COAG in February. AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, described the deal as a starting point for genuine and much needed health reform.
Dr Hambleton said “Today’s agreement is essentially a reform of health financing arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States… the real health reform will come with system re-design and proper service planning at the local level through the Local Hospital Networks (LHNs) engaging with local clinicians.” The full AMA press release is here. The full Agreement and related documents is here.
The AMA is currently running a survey to find out exactly how much of a headache red tape is and what might be done to relieve it. The findings will help the AMA target its efforts to reduce red tape in the areas that cause the most headaches for GPs.
All GPs are encouraged to complete the five minute survey, which includes an opportunity to offer suggestions for how red tape could be reduced immediately in any area of your practice. Add your voice to the over 150 GPs who have already submitted the survey. You can find the survey here.
In late 2010, following successful AMA lobbying, the Government decided to put its Coordinated Care for Diabetes reform on hold to allow a pilot to be conducted and assessed.
Through membership of the Diabetes Advisory Group (DAG), the AMA has maintained close involvement with the development of the pilot, which kicked off in July in South Australia and Queensland and will conclude in June 2014. The pilot will test new funding arrangements including voluntary patient registration and pay for performance incentives and will be conducted by McKinsey and Company who have formed a consortium of primary health care organisations.
It is expected that the pilot will commence in participating general practices from early 2012 and include an intervention group and a comparison group so that comparable data from usual care arrangements are available to ensure a robust pilot evaluation.
The AMA will continue its involvement in the pilot and its evaluation to ensure no general practice or general practitioner are disadvantaged by any resulting funding arrangement and that it is not used as a mechanism to introduce the program more broadly.
Click here to sign the petition to support the AMA’s campaign to have the Government reverse its May Budget decision to cut Medicare rebates for GP mental health services under the Better Access Program. You can have your say and add your signature to the over 2550 already collected.
We welcome your comments and suggestions as well. Please tell us what you think.