Dangerous Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passes Victorian Legislative Assembly

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) is disappointed the Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Bill has been passed today by the Victorian Legislative Assembly.

"It is disheartening to see that Victorian parliamentarians in the lower house neglected to heed the safety and ethical concerns of many medical professionals and palliative care experts when voting in favour of this flawed and dangerous bill", said CHA Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Greenwood.

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Private health insurance reforms improve value and access

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) congratulates the Health Minister for continuing to pursue important reforms in the private health insurance sector.

The decision to introduce a mental health safety net for those with lower cost policies by enabling them to upgrade their cover with no waiting period is strongly supported.

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Health Minister launches CHA report on the impact of private patients in public hospitals

Federal Health Minister the Hon Greg Hunt MP today at Parliament House launched Catholic Health Australia’s (CHA) newest report examining how the growth of privately insured patients in public hospitals is impacting Australia’s health system.

The report, titled Upsetting the Balance: How the Growth of Private Patients in Public Hospitals is Impacting Australia’s Health System (available to download) is the not-for-profit Catholic hospital sector’s response to concerns about the significant increase in private patients in public hospitals. It finds that the trend is having a damaging effect on patients, stakeholders, as well as the balance of Australia’s mixed model health system, and ultimately, the universality of Medicare.

The report finds growing inequity between public and private patients, with private patients receiving a number of inducements in some public hospitals that are not available to public patients. There is also evidence that, on average, public patients are waiting more than twice as long as private patients for elective surgeries in public hospitals.

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Private sector steps up to train Australia’s health workforce

The Australian private hospital sector makes a substantial contribution to training Australia’s health workforce and with further investment from governments could do much more, a new CHA-APHA report shows (available to download).

The ‘Education and training in the private hospital sector’ report, produced by the Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) and Catholic Health Australia (CHA) shows the private sector’s investment in training doctors, nurses and allied health workers has increased to $167 million from $30 million a decade ago.

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Respecting and meeting end-of-life care needs in residential aged care

Access to high quality palliative and end-of-life care in aged care facilities will enable more Australians to have a good death, aged care, palliative care and aged care consumer peak bodies said today.
 
To help mark National Palliative Care Week 2017, Palliative Care Australia, COTA Australia, Alzheimer’s Australia, Aged & Community Services Australia, Leading Age Services Australia, Aged Care Guild and Catholic Health Australia released a set of agreed principles to guide the delivery of palliative and end-oflife care services in residential aged care.
 
The principles reflect the need to recognise when an aged care resident is approaching the end of life and to ensure their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are assessed and met; that their care is holistic and that their dignity, privacy and diversity is respected.
 

Regional end-of-life care spend welcome but Andrews Government must still deliver equitable access (Victoria)

Catholic Health Australia’s (CHA) CEO Suzanne Greenwood today welcomed Health Minister Jill Hennessy’s announcement that the government’s Regional Health Infrastructure Fund will for the first time be expanded to include publically funded community palliative care services.
 
“With the Andrews Government committed to introducing its Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Bill in Parliament this year, it is timely that palliative care services in regional and rural Victoria will see some much-needed additional funding,” said CHA’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood. 
 
“Whilst promising that the Andrews Government has gone some way to acknowledging how under-resourced Victoria’s palliative care sector is, it’s CHA’s concern that it is far too little to ensure every Victorian in need will have practicable access to high-quality palliative care, this year or the next.”
 
 

Billion dollar Medicare investment positive for health (Federal Budget 2017/18)

Announced tonight in the 2017/18 Federal Budget, Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has welcomed the partial end to the four-year freeze on the Medicare rebate, however asserts the savings should be passed on to consumers to reduce the financial burden of accessing medical care.
 
Bulk-billing incentives for GPs will be indexed from 1 July 2017, with standard consultations by GPs and specialist attendances to be indexed from 1 July 2018. Specialist procedures and allied health service indexation will commence from 1 July 2019. The government will also recommence indexation of certain diagnostic imaging listed on the MBS from 2020.
 
CHA acknowledges growing costs associated with the provision of high-quality health care and welcomes the incremental abandonment of the Medicare rebate freeze to relieve the burden placed on clinicians. CHA’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood, is adamant that the abolishment of the freeze must ensure translation to a relative reduction in out-of-pocket costs for Australian taxpayers.
 

Government review of aged care quality regulatory arrangements welcomed by Catholic Health Australia

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) welcomes today’s announcement by Minister Wyatt that the government will respond to the Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service review with an independent review of aged care quality regulatory arrangements. 
 
Minister Wyatt announced that the review will investigate the Commonwealth’s aged care quality regulatory processes to determine why the extent of the failures of care at Makk and McLeay wards, as documented in the recent South Australian Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service review, were not identified. 
 
“A review of the regulatory processes relating to the quality of aged care is timely. Ensuring older Australians in need of care and support receive high quality services that meet their needs and preferences is a prerequisite for a civil society,” said CHA’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood. 
 
“The review provides an opportunity to examine the effectiveness of the current regulatory processes to see whether improvements can be made, particularly in relation to specialist care and support services for older people with severe and psychological symptoms of dementia and severe mental health issues.”
 

Voluntary Assisted Dying: Andrews Government must guarantee equitable access to all end-of-life options

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has urged the Andrews Government to release its financial modelling to demonstrate how the government will resource both end-of-life care and education to ensure all Victorians have equitable access to options other than voluntary assisted suicide (VAS) should VAS be made legal in Victoria this year.
 
“We’re deeply concerned that the Andrews Government is pushing ahead with its voluntary assisted suicide laws when existing end-of-life services such as palliative care are so severely under-resourced in Victoria,” said CHA’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood.
 
“There are so few adequately resourced palliative care services available to those who live outside of metropolitan Melbourne. Victorians need to know how the government will ensure every Victorian resident, regardless of their means or location, will have equitable access to other end-of-life care services if the government’s assisted dying legislation passes through Parliament.”
 

Older Australians to have increased choice with funds following the consumer from today

Older Australians who access home care services will – for the first time – be able to exercise greater choice and control from today with the commencement of Increasing Choice in Home Care, launched this morning by Minister Ken Wyatt.

From today, home care funding will follow the consumer rather than be allocated to the home care provider, so that individual consumers can choose their preferred service provider and more easily change service provider.

Catholic Health Australia (CHA), peak body for the Catholic hospital and aged care network, representing approximately 10 per cent of all hospital and aged care service provision, has been supportive of these reforms, having worked closely with government and other aged care stakeholders towards implementing the changes.

CHA’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood, said today’s launch marks a significant step in the right direction for aged care in Australia, with older Australians now afforded the opportunity to better influence the nature and quality of home care services. 

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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 level1 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.
 
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