AMA submission to Independent Hospital Pricing Authority on the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2020-21

In July 2019 the AMA lodged a submission on the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2020-21.  The AMA welcomes IHPA’s proposed interest in pricing for quality but this must not be pursued via the use of funding penalties as ‘incentives’.  Public hospitals don’t need an incentive to provide quality care – they need more funding to pay for additional staff, additional staff time with each patient, sufficient hospital beds, and other additional resources inherent in quality care.  There is no evidence to demonstrate funding cuts improve quality and safety of care.  The proposed adoption of individual healthcare identifiers into large hospital datasets used by IHPA for the purpose of pricing public hospitals will likely achieve the aim of tracking patient interactions with the health system across care settings.  It is disappointing the motive for this is to improve the ease of penalising public hospitals for apparent avoidable readmissions.  While it is reasonable to expect public hospitals to provide a full patient discharge summary and post discharge care plan to the patient’s GP within 48 hours of discharge or sooner – it is unreasonable to financially penalise the hospital if patient readmission is still required.  AMA urges IHPA to seek expert advice on the risks of patient re-identification before the public disclosure of these large de-identified public hospital data sets for research purposes.