GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 40 - 14 October 2011

14 Oct 2011

GP Super Clinics – need for a proper audit

The AMA President has called on the Commonwealth Auditor General to conduct a full review of the Government’s GP Super Clinic Program.

Information released earlier this week by the Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon, confirmed that there are ongoing problems with the implementation of the Government’s GP Super Clinics program, highlighted by the decision not to proceed with Super Clinics in Darwin (NT) and Sorell (Tas). AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that the AMA has had concerns about the GP Super Clinics Program since day one and believes it may be time for a proper audit of the program. Click here for the full press release.

MBS Indexation inadequate

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said yesterday that proper and realistic indexation of Medicare patient rebates is urgently needed. The overall Medicare fee increase of just two per cent is inadequate when compared with the Labour Price Index of 3.94 per cent and CPI of 3.18 per cent. The AMA List of Medical Services and Fees reflects these more realistic indices. AMA recommended fees this year have been indexed on average by 3.2 per cent, with a standard GP consultation rising from $66 to $69 as at 1 November.

Indexation of the Nurse Practitioner MBS items means that a 30-minute consultation with a Nurse Practitioner will have a scheduled fee of $39 compared to $38 for Non VR GPs.

Click here for full press release.

Average fees for patient billed services

The AMA estimates the fee for the average patient billed attendance has risen above $60. The steady increase in patient billed fees reflects how some GPs are moving to adjust their fee structures to account for the increasing costs of practice and the inadequacy of the MBS rebates.

The AMA List of Medical Service and Fees provides guidance to AMA members when setting their fees, based on their own practice cost experience. The AMA Fees Calculator (members only) and other support tools are also available to assist practitioners with fee setting.

AMA delivers mental health petition to the Government

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton has written to the Prime Minister and the Health Minister delivering a petition with more than 4400 signatures of people calling for the restoration of funding for mental health services provided under the Better Access Program.

The petition has been signed by doctors, other health professionals, carers, people who have family members with mental illness and mental health patients. The AMA is again calling on the Government to restore the funding or at least provide a twelve month moratorium on the cuts to allow proper consideration of the findings of the Senate Inquiry into mental health funding which are yet to be delivered. For more click here.

Advice for patients whose treatment plan is impacted by the cuts to mental health services and rebates

On 1 November 2011 the number of psychological services available to patients with a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan, under the Better Access Program, will reduce from 12 (with a maximum of 18 under certain circumstances) to 10. Once the 10 services have been reached any additional planned sessions will not attract a rebate. The reduced rebates for GP mental health services are set to come into effect on 1 November 2011 and will apply immediately.

The AMA has prepared and made available an Online Kit to assist GPs inform their patients about rebate cuts to mental health items under the Better Access Program.

Australian Wound Management Association (AWMA)

GPs interested in wound management may be interested in the AWMA’s Elephant in the Room campaign and in signing their petition. The campaign seeks to draw attention to the serious problem of chronic, slow to heal wounds that are affecting 270,000 Australians today.

The AWMA is a multi-disciplinary, non-profit association consisting of people who are committed to developing and improving wound management for all individuals through education, communication and networks. The AWMA is active in developing and presenting educational courses and modules in wound management and is committed to research in the field having established the Australian Wound Management Research Foundation in 2004. To find out more about the activities of the AWMA visit their website here.

Aged care survey – call for participants

The RACGP is conducting a national survey of GPs involved in the delivery of aged care services. The survey will run from 1–30 November 2011, gathering data on the aged care services that GPs provide which are not currently recognised by Medicare. Participating GPs will receive a logbook to record the activities and time spent delivering aged care services in day-to-day practice, both in the community and residential aged care facilities. Survey results will be used to inform the development of funding models to better support the delivery of general practice aged care services in Australia. To register your interest, email advocacy@racgp.org.au and include your full name, postal address and a contact telephone number.

 

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


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OnePath Life has developed a new life insurance product for members with a Life Benefit of up to $2.5 million called Professionals Life Cover Plus. It is designed for professionals who are looking for higher cover options that other insurance products may not provide. With no medicals or blood tests required, immediate cover upon acceptance and an optional Major Illness and Injury Benefit, Professionals Life Cover Plus can help your family with loan repayments, household bills and other everyday expenses in the event of major illness or injury or death.

For more information visit www.onepath.com.au/ama or call 1800 658 679.

In this Issue

GP Super Clinics – need for a proper audit

MBS Indexation inadequate

Average fees for patient billed services

AMA delivers mental health petition to the Government

Advice for patients whose treatment plan is impacted by mental health cuts

Australian Wound Management Association (AWMA)

Aged care survey – call for participants

OnePath - Australian families are underinsured

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 gpnn@ama.com.au or by phone (02) 6270 5400. You can unsubscribe from GPNN by emailing unsubscribe@ama.com.au