GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 46 - 25 November 2011
The AMA has previously written in GPNN about the potential impact of two recent draft GST rulings issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
The draft rulings appeared to have the potential to create additional compliance costs for medical practitioners who have relied on existing ATO rulings to determine the GST status of medical services. Advice received by the AMA indicated that the proposed ATO views in the draft addenda may have impacted on the provision of medical services where payment comes from a party other than the patient and also where payment may come from government agencies that subsidise health services such as the Department of Health and Ageing and the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
In some circumstances, medical services that are currently characterised as a GST-free supply to the patient could have become subject to GST.
The AMA’s lobbying has seen Treasury release exposure draft legislation on 20 November that will protect health services from the consequences of these rulings and, in essence, preserve the existing understanding of the GST status of medical services in circumstances where treatment is funded by an insurer or government entity.
The AMA Red Tape Survey Report released this week found that almost 10 per cent of GPs are spending more than nine hours of their working week dealing with Government red tape and more than 20 per cent are spending up to nine hours. The average red tape burden was 4.62 hours a week. The AMA estimates this equates to 15,000,000 GP consultations lost to red tape each year. By halving the amount of Government red tape we could free up about 7,400,000 additional GP consultations each year, dramatically improving patient access to care.
The key areas where GPs stated there was too much red tape were:
The AMA solution to each of these key areas of concern is here.
Red tape clearly remains a real problem for GPs despite the many reviews that have been conducted by Federal and State/Territory Governments, all of which have identified that it can and should be reduced. To that end the AMA Council of General Practice has agreed that tackling red tape reduction will be an ongoing priority with feedback derived from the survey being critical to the AMA’s work with government and other bodies to achieve this. The full press release is here or listen to the President’s Melbourne Talk Radio interview here.
The AMA welcomes the Government’s investment in general practice through Primary Care Infrastructure Grants, AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton said late last week.
The grants, this round totalling $54 million, would enable existing practices to expand and upgrade their facilities… to provide additional rooms for consulting GPs, practice nurses and allied health staff, and for training tomorrow’s medical workforce, Dr Hambleton said. With both funding rounds to date being over subscribed it is clear that existing general practices are keen to expand to continue serving their communities.
It is the AMA’s view that enhancing the capacities of existing services is more cost effective and efficient than building new practices from scratch, Dr Hambleton said.
The full press release is here.
The AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, will be in NSW next week to attend a series of meetings with GPs to discuss the impact of national health reforms, including Medicare Locals. The AMA believes that Medicare Locals need strong GP leadership to ensure that services are appropriately targeted and implemented.
The AMA’s campaign opposing the Government’s recent funding cuts to GP mental health services under the Better Access initiative continues with the recent inclusion in our patient information kit of a template letter to the Minister for Health and Ageing urging the Government to reverse the cuts. The template and other material in the information kit is here.
In response to the Bill introduced by the Greens, AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton said the AMA would welcome a junk food advertising Bill that has the support of all MPs and Senators. He said that the Green’s Bill has succeeded in putting the focus back on the reality that voluntary schemes might work for a while, but there are no guarantees for the long term… Government regulation is needed to ensure that vulnerable and impressionable children are not exposed to advertising that promotes high fat, sugar and salt foods he said. The full press release is here. The AMA is conducting a Food Traffic Lights web poll on whether there should be 'traffic light' labels on food items to signify high, moderate or low levels of fat, sugar and salt. Click here to register your vote.
The MBS Items Online Checker is now available in HPOS here. The item numbers available as of 1 October 2011 are: 104, 116, 721, 725, 751, 752 and 10900.
Other services available include:
Rent a car for 5 days or more with Hertz and you’ll only pay for 4.That’s on top of all the usual benefits you’d expect with your Hertz rental including your usual AMA rate discount.
The offer is available at participating domestic locations on rentals collected before 20th December 2011. So book now at hertz.com.au and quote CDP Number 283826 and Promotion Code 161615, or call Hertz Reservations on 13 30 39.
* Terms and conditions apply. Minimum rental period of 5 consecutive days, maximum 1 free day per rental. Offer is available on Intermediate, Standard, Fullsize and Minivan vehicle groups; one free day is applied to daily rate and applicable GST and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Hertz standard terms, conditions and credit qualifications apply.