CHA chair appointed to Vatican health committee

Catholic Health Australia Stewardship Board chair Rowena McNally has been named a board director of the International Committee of Catholic Health Care Institutions, joining Catholic health leaders from around the globe on the Vatican-appointed body.

The appointment of Ms McNally, who has been CHA's chair since August 2012, was announced last week, just two weeks after the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, visited Australia. He spent time at a number of Catholic hospitals and aged care facilities during his 11-day visit.

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Aged care legislation must pass, but success of Compact in doubt

A survey of aged care providers reveals one in five will not sign up to the Government's Aged Care Workforce Compact, and a further one in five are unlikely to sign up, putting success of Government plans to tie aged care funding to workplace industrial conditions in doubt.

Catholic providers of 4,318 residential aged care places and 3,327 home care packages responded to the Catholic Health Australia (CHA) survey this month, following the Government's release of details of the Aged Care Workforce Compact.

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Senate recommendations must prompt action on social determinants

Two of the largest organisations representing non-government agencies in Australia are calling on politicians across Commonwealth, state and territory governments to implement the recommendations contained in the Senate Community Affairs Committee's report on action on the social determinants of health.

Catholic Health Australia and UnitingCare Australia this morning said their organisations have a long tradition of working to ensure people who are vulnerable, marginalised or living in poverty receive the support they need and deserve. In many cases, those people are susceptible to long-term and chronic health conditions, and governments have a duty to help Australians avoid such circumstances.

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Politicians given blueprint for meaningful health reform

Hundreds of thousands of Australians are suffering from ill health because health reforms implemented in recent years aren't having an impact on their lives. Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty says it's time for political parties to get serious about improving the health of all Australians.

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) today released its Health Blueprint, which outlines six key priorities for how ongoing health reform can be effective and reach those seemingly untouched by previous reforms.

Click here to access the Health Blueprint

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Aged care pay increase needs more than workforce compact

The Aged Care Workforce Compact, announced today by Minister Mark Butler, will not see all aged care staff receive pay increases and will not change aged care's low wage status, according to a member of the Minister's Advisory Group that advised on the Compact's content.

Catholic Health Australia CEO, Martin Laverty, who represented Catholic aged care providers on the Minister's consultative group, said it was not clear how many aged care services would take up the new Compact.

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Will health ministers act on proposals to solve health workforce challenges?

Allowing non-government health care services to play a greater role in the training of tomorrow's doctors, nurses and allied health professionals would go a long way to solving health workforce problems, Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty told a national summit hosted by New South Wales Health Minister Jillian Skinner to examine the recent medical internship shortage.

Mr Laverty said the shortage of intern places for last year's record number of medical graduates grabbed headlines, and had various health officials scrambling for answers – answers that Catholic facilities can offer.

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Single health funder would end Commonwealth-state blame game

Catholic Health Australia has told a Senate Inquiry looking into public hospital funding that the cost-shifting and blame-shifting inherent in a split funding model between the Commonwealth and states and territories can only be solved by making the Commonwealth Government the sole funder of publicly funded health services.

CHA chief executive officer Martin Laverty addressed the Senate Inquiry into implementation of the National Health Reform Agreement this morning – just hours after Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the Government would reinstate $107 million of funding that was set to be taken out of the Victorian public hospitals budget.

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Palliative care uncertainty must not continue

People in need of palliative care should be able to think about how they can spend their final days in as much comfort as they can, receiving the best treatment possible and surrounded by those they love. They shouldn't have to worry about whether they will be able to receive the end-of-life care they deserve because there might be no money to fund it.

That's the call from Catholic Health Australia as palliative care providers around the country prepare for the cessation of funding that has seen marked improvements in the quality of, and access to, end-of-life care.

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Australia Day honour fitting for former CHA chair’s service, leadership

Catholic Health Australia Stewardship Board chair Rowena McNally has paid tribute to her predecessor, saying Tony Wheeler's inclusion on today's Australia Day honours list is deserving recognition for his many years of service and leadership in Catholic health and aged care.

Mr Wheeler, who lives in Busselton, WA, was today honoured with the Order of Australia Medal for services to the community through health and Church organisations. That includes five years as chair of Catholic Health Australia's board.

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Government risks over-reach on aged care accommodation payments

Today's decision by Minister for Ageing Mark Butler to set accommodation prices for some residential aged care services might increase red tape for people entering aged care homes.

Minister Butler today announced changes to accommodation payments for those in residential aged care, creating a new government approvals process for setting prices in aged care and a new complaints process for consumers worried about costs of accommodation. He also announced the details of additional funding for the refurbishing of existing aged care homes.

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Health reform set up to fail

Health financing and governance reforms agreed by federal, state and territory governments were never likely to see artificial emergency waiting times met, according to the nation's largest hospital group.

With the National Health Performance Authority releasing emergency department waiting time data for 2011-12 today, Catholic Health Australia (CHA) said penalties that withhold funds from states who don't achieve targets will only make the problem worse.

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