GP Network News , Issue 12 Number 14

13 Apr 2012

AMA Items for the PCEHR

The AMA this week announced its own items for preparing and managing a shared health summary for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). The move is in response to the Government not creating new items for doctors’ time and work with patients on the PCEHR and not allocating any new funding in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to cover this new clinical service provided by doctors.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said the AMA items are time-tiered and can be billed in addition to any consultation that is provided to the patient on the same day. The items provide guidance to AMA members when setting their medical fees for this important clinical service for their patient.

“The AMA is a strong supporter of the PCEHR and the benefits for patients and the healthcare system – but we have to get it right the first time”, Dr Hambleton said.

Click here for the full media release and the AMA items for the PCEHR.

AMA Submission to MBA on DHAS Funding

The AMA in a submission to the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) calls on the Board to fund better access to external doctors’ health services across the country. The AMA submission was prepared based on the results of a survey conducted by the AMA, which attracted 2057 responses.

While the MBA has a role to play in funding external doctors' health advisory services, the AMA submission highlights that funding arrangements must be structured so as to guarantee independence from the MBA and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. This is essential if doctors are to trust these services and utilise them at an early stage in their illness.

Given the results of the AMA survey and the fact that medical registration fees have increased dramatically since the introduction of national registration arrangements, the AMA has recommended that these services should be funded from the existing registration fees paid by the profession.

The submission highlights that the AMA is keen to work with the MBA to develop a sustainable funding model to ensure that doctors have access to high quality, confidential doctors’ health advisory services.

Click here for the full media release.

AMA Plan to bolster the rural medical workforce

The AMA this week released the AMA Position Statement on Regional/Rural Workforce Initiatives 2012, which sets out a practical achievable plan to attract doctors and medical students to live and work in rural and regional Australia.

The Position Statement highlights five key priority areas for Government policy development that would help attract medical practitioners and students to regional and rural areas. The AMA urges the Government to:

  • provide a dedicated and quality training pathway with the right skill mix to ensure GPs are adequately trained to work in rural areas;
  • provide a realistic and sustainable work environment with flexibility, including locum relief;
  • provide family support that includes spousal opportunities/employment, educational opportunities for children’s education, subsidy for housing/relocation and/or tax relief;
  • provide financial incentives including rural loadings to ensure competitive remuneration; and
  • provide a working environment that would allow quality training and supervision.

The Position Statement also highlights the significant ongoing concern at the way in which the Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA) is being applied to determine the distribution of financial incentives.

Click here for the full media release.

BEACH to measure non face to face time

The AMA has previously lobbied the general practice research program Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) to measure how long GPs spend on non face to face services for patients. It is pleasing to see BEACH’s recent announcement that it would trial collecting information on how much time GPs spend on patient care outside a Medicare-rebated consultation.

AMA queries RACGP re after hours indicators

Dr Brian Morton, Chair of AMA Council of General Practice (AMACGP) writes in next week’s Australian Medicine about the possible impact that Medicare Locals may have on practices’ ability to meet RACGP accreditation requirements.

The article considers the appropriateness of retaining flagged indicators related to the provision of out of hours care under Criterion 1.1.4 of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioner Standards for general practices: 4th edition, upon Medicare Locals assuming responsibility for the planning and support of local out of hours GP services.

Dr Morton reports the AMA has raised its concerns with the RACGP and has queried whether it would be more appropriate for the status of the after hours indicators to be amended from flagged to desirable.

AMA Position Statements on Genetics and Human Cloning

The AMA has updated and split the content of its Position Statement on Human Genetic Issues 1998, revised in 2000 and 2002, to produce the AMA Position Statement on Genetic Testing 2012 and the AMA Position Statement on Human Cloning 2012.

The AMA Position Statement on Genetic Testing 2012 is more contemporary and reflects current issues relevant to genetic testing.

The AMA Position Statement on Human Cloning 2012 retains the existing AMA policy of opposing cloning for the purposes of creating a human being (reproductive cloning), while permitting cloning for other (non-reproductive) purposes (eg., cloning of human tissue for therapeutic purposes).

Click here for full media release.


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In this Issue

AMA Items for the PCEHR

AMA Submission to MBA on DHAS Funding

AMA Plan to bolster the rural medical workforce

BEACH to measue non-face to face timer

AMA queries RACGP re after hours indicators

AMA Position Statements on Genetics and Human Cloning

Income replacement – getting it right

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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. You can unsubscribe from GPNN by emailing