Private health insurers must not diminish access to mental health services with exclusive policies
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) is adamant that excluding mental health cover from silver and bronze level private health insurance products would result in fewer options for some of the most vulnerable people in society.
A proposal to exclude mental health cover from anything but the most expensive insurance products was tabled at the third meeting of the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee, comprised of healthcare and private health insurance stakeholders.
The impact of mental illness in Australia is significant, costing $8.5 billion in 2014/15 and comprising approximately 13 per cent of Australia’s total burden of disease.
“An estimated 45 per cent of Australians will experience some form of mental disorder in their lifetime,” said Catholic Health Australia’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood.
“This proposal to reduce or exclude mental health cover as part of reforming Australia’s private health insurance sector suggests the interests of consumers are not at its core,” said Mrs Greenwood.
Key aged care policy to increase consumer choice and control falters
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has urged the Turnbull Government to take action in its 2017-18 Budget to improve older Australians access to home care packages that match their assessed needs – to be achieved by stepping up the release of new home care places and assigning packages to individuals as prioritised by MyAgedCare.
CHA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Suzanne Greenwood, is disappointed that the Government’s policy to increase the overall target provision ratio to 125 operational aged care places per 1,000 people aged 70 and over by 2021-22 and increasing the target ratio for home care packages to 45, announced in the 2012-13 Budget, has seen little progression in six years.
“Since 30 June 2011, the operational provision ratio for home care packages has increased by only 4.9 to 31.9 – well below the rate required to reach the target ratio of 45 by 2021-22,” said Mrs Greenwood. “And in addition to the slow growth towards the home care package target, the overall operational provision ratio covering both residential aged care beds and home care packages has increased by only 0.4 (from 112.8 at 30 June 2011 to 113.2 at 30 June 2016).”
AMA on point joining call for greater investment in quality end of life care
Catholic Health Australia’s (CHA) CEO, Suzanne Greenwood, has welcomed the Australian Medical Association’s call for greater investment in quality end of life care services and a campaign to increase community awareness to better support healthy end of life choices.
“Representing Australia’s medical doctors, the AMA is an important authoritative and ethical voice in the assisted suicide debate,” said Mrs Greenwood. “Doctors are confronting the realities of caring for the terminally ill every day, and policy-makers should be taking note.”
Representing the single largest non-government provider grouping of hospital, community and aged care services in the country, CHA shares the AMA’s objective to achieve greater investment in quality end of life care to ensure every Australian has equitable access to affordable high-quality palliative care services.
Partners Apunipima and Catholic Health Australia working to close the health gap in Cape York
Representatives from Catholic Health Australia (CHA), HESTA and James Cook University joined Apunipima Cape York Health Council in far north Queensland on a visit to the remote communities of Napranum and Aurukun. A health workshop followed which identified approaches by which the Catholic health and aged care sector can help close the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Cape York.
With the support of HESTA, St Vincent’s Health Australia, Mater Health Services, and Cabrini Health were in attendance for the three-day community visits and workshop. Site visits included the soon to be opened Apunipima primary health care centre in Napranum and newly opened centre in Aurukun.
“Apunipima’s objective is to achieve health equity across all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Cape York,” said Paula Arnol, Apunipima’s Acting Chief Executive Officer.
Independent report confirms essential aged care funding to be cut by 11%
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) in partnership with UnitingCare and Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) has today released an independent review that supports fears that the Turnbull Government’s changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI), which target older people with the most complex health care needs, will result in funding reductions that will significantly exceed Government estimates.
The review, conducted by Ansell Strategic, was undertaken to assess the impact of the proposed changes to the ACFI on funding and the care of residents. It involved 501 aged care homes and almost 39,000 residents across Australia.
“It has been our concern from the beginning that the ACFI changes designed to pull back on the rate of growth of funding per resident per annum on account of the increasing frailty of residents will cut deeper than intended, and will compromise the ability for the sector to provide for residents in need of the most complex care,” said Catholic Health Australia’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood.
“The Report confirms that changes to the ACFI would decrease funding per resident by an average of $6,655 and reduce funding for aged care homes by 11% on average,” said Mrs Greenwood.
Senator Xenophon’s call for Senate Inquiry into aged care funding welcomed
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) welcomes Senator Xenophon’s call for a Senate Inquiry into aged care funding, announced today.
CHA last week called on Minister Ley to release the financial modelling that informed the significant changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) which the Department of Health estimates will reduce aged care funding by approximately $2 billion over four years to 2019-20.
“The government’s changes to the ACFI, outlined in the 2015 MYEFO and the 2016-17 Budget, target aged care residents in need of the most complex health and nursing care,” said Catholic Health Australia’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood.
Labor’s plan for those living with dementia welcomed
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) welcomes the Labor Party’s commitment to allocate $25 million through the development of a National Dementia Strategy to address the increasing incidence of dementia.
Catholic Health Australia’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood, said today that “ensuring a coordinated national approach will assist in caring for and improving the quality of life of the increasing number of people living with dementia.”
“With the number expected to grow, the demands on the health and aged care systems will also grow and it is important that the nation is able to deal with the future challenges for health and aged care spending,” said Mrs Greenwood.
“The plan to see more communities embracing a dementia-friendly approach will better enable people with dementia and their informal carers to remain living in the community and avoid premature entry into residential aged care.”