GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 17
The AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton met with the Department of Health and Ageing, the RACGP and other medical groups earlier this week to attempt to clarify the uncertainty about Medicare rebates for the Shared Health Summary for the PCEHR.
At that meeting, Departmental officials confirmed that:
Consequently, the Government has not found it necessary to do any financial modeling on the impact of an increased use of items, or an escalation in the use of the more complex items (Level C and D), because of the introduction of the PCEHR and its key feature - the Shared Health Summary.
In practice, this means that preparation and maintenance of a Shared Health Summary is inconsequential to a clinically relevant consultation that meets the complexity and time requirements of the existing MBS attendance items.
The AMA advises its members to continue to bill MBS items according to the time and complexity requirements of the items, and to keep clinical notes that can substantiate the time and complexity of the patient consultation to the item billed.
The AMA has introduced specific time-based items to prepare and maintain Shared Health Summaries that may be billed by any medical practitioner in addition to any patient consultation that might occur at the same time.
The AMA believes that the Government should introduce similar items to the MBS to recognise this important new clinical service. Specific Commonwealth funding for this service is needed to ensure that the objectives of the PCEHR to reduce adverse events, avoid duplication, and improve coordination of care are met.
The Government announcement that the first stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will commence from July next year has been welcomed by the AMA, which has been pushing for such a national long-term care scheme for the severely disabled since 2003.
“When fully implemented, the NDIS will provide fairness, equity, and a better quality of life for people with a disability, their families, and their carers,” Dr Steve Hambleton, AMA President, said.
“The benefits for these members of our community, who are often overlooked, will be tremendous. For the first time, they will have certainty that their care needs will be met”.
The AMA is preparing to work closely with the Government in developing and implementing the National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS) for people who are severely injured and require the same levels of support.
“Over time, there is scope for both schemes to be integrated so that all Australians have access to early intervention and support, based on need, regardless of the cause or type of disability,” Dr Hambleton said.
Click here to view the AMA press release.
A major mail-out to GPs with patients most likely to benefit from the Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) Program is being sent during early May by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).
Gold Card holders with chronic conditions and a high risk of being admitted to hospital are being identified through analysis of DVA’s client data. Letters are being sent to these identified candidates and their GPs.
The CVC Program has been running for one year and has over 8,200 enrolments. Many of the participants have been identified by their GP. The AMA understands that analysis of the DVA data indicates that the candidates identified through the data analysis generally have a higher risk of hospitalisation than those identified by GPs.
DVA is encouraging practices to focus on the patients listed in the targeted letters when considering potential participants for the CVC Program. Information about the CVC program for both patients and GPs is available at www.dva.gov.au/cvc.htm
A report released by the nation’s Health Ministers on 27 April 2012 shows there is a looming shortfall of training places for medical graduates and therefore a desperate need for Governments to fund extra pre-vocational and specialist training places, in order to keep pace with the number of graduates emerging from medical schools.
The AMA had lobbied hard for the review, Health Workforce 2025, to be undertaken, and President Dr Steve Hambleton said Governments needed to act urgently on its findings to ensure Australia’s medical workforce met the community’s future health needs.
According to the report, in 2016 there will be 3867 doctors who require a first year advanced specialist-training place, whereas the most recent data shows that there are currently only 2817 positions available. Even factoring some growth in these places, Health Workforce 2025 is still projecting a shortage of 451 training positions, highlighting the need for urgent action.
Dr Hambleton said implementing the training plan will require significant funding, planning and coordination, which can only be achieved with support at the highest level across all Governments. The AMA strongly supports crucial work to be undertaken by Health Workforce Australia in drawing up an implementation plan.
Click here to view the AMA press release.
The AMA was this week alerted to a problem with payments made by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to some GPs through the GP Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) in August 2011. According to the DHS, a significant number of GPs, 293 in fact, were overpaid. These GPs have recently received advice from DHS to this effect and that their next payment would be adjusted by the overpayment.
Concerned about the cash flow impact this could have for GPs, the AMA has confirmed with the DHS that practitioners so affected can arrange an alternative payment schedule. To do so, GPs should call the DHS on 1800 010 550.
A smaller number of GPs (40) were underpaid the GRIP-GP payment but have since been reimbursed.
Following feedback from the AMA Red Tape Survey, the AMA has been working closely with the DHS to improve the forms for the Disability Support Pension Medical Report and the Centrelink Medical Certificate. The forms have been revised and are currently being tested ready for a June release.
Changes to the forms include removal of duplicate questions, improvements to the clarity and logical flow of questions, and clarification under the reimbursement section that the time taken to complete the report counts towards the length of the consultation claimed. In addition, practitioners will be encouraged to complete and lodge the forms via HPOS. By completing the Disability Support Pension Medical Report via HPOS for example GPs will only see the questions they are required to answer.
Going forward, the AMA and DHS are working on pre-population of forms and using previously created reports/certificates as the basis for generating a new report/certificate for that patient.
The AMA has released its 2011 Annual Report. A copy is available at:
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