4 Feb 2014

Following an invitation from the Hon Josh Frydenberg, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, the AMA has made a submission in relation to areas where the Government could remove unnecessary red tape on medical practice.

The submission highlights that red tape reduction is critical for lowering overall health care costs, improving access to health services and improving health outcomes and that it should be a priority for all governments.

Over the years the AMA has proposed a number of initiatives for cutting red tape in medical practice and these have been endorsed in several reviews commissioned by former Governments. Despite this, the submission highlights that there has been only modest progress on red tape reduction, with
resistance to greater progress appearing to be based on a misguided view within some parts of Government that red tape is a way to constrain health care costs.

The AMA argues that this is a very poor approach to health policy that contradicts efforts to achieve greater efficiency in the provision of health services. It also fails to recognise the rigorous professional standards that govern medical practitioners and our strong focus on quality, safety and evidence based practice.

The AMA submission proposes:

  • Scrapping PBS phone authorisations
  • The introduction of a single Medicare provider number for doctors
  • The streamlining of Medicare payment systems
  • Streamlining PCEHR registration requirements for medical practices
  • Simplifying Centrelink and DVA documentation requirements
  • Simplifying Chronic Disease Management items under the MBS.

The AMA submission also highlights the additional compliance burden that will be imposed by the Federal Government's proposed Medicare co-payment, estimated to be between $1.41 per service and $1.61 per service. In this regard, the AMA has proposed a simpler and fairer co-payment model that would impose far less red tape through its use of existing systems and the removal of the complicated thresholds proposed by the Government. Details
of the AMA alternative can be accessed at