More details needed on health reform

CHA says the uncertainty surrounding the proposed primary healthcare organisations is getting in the way of aged care planning.

The uncertainty around the federal government’s planned reforms to primary health services is making it difficult for aged care organisations to plan for the future, according to Catholic Health Australia (CHA).

It is concerned by the lack of detail around the government’s proposed primary healthcare organisations, which will be called Medicare Locals.

The group’s CEO, Martin Laverty said hospital and aged care providers were not consulted about the design of the Medicare Locals, which were designed to promote cooperation and collaboration between general practices and health professionals.

“If hospital providers and aged care services are not consulted, you have to wonder just how integration between primary, acute, and aged care will be achieved,” he said.

Mr Laverty also warned that cooperation and collaboration will not be achieved by imposing heavy requirements on health providers.

“Getting ‘cooperation and collaboration’ from this diverse group with remarkably different interests and motivations is hard,” he said.

“It can’t be done with a big stick, but can be done with incentives. It’s unclear as to if Medicare Locals will have either power or resources to offer incentives required to achieve ‘cooperation and collaboration’.”

CHA is calling for the establishment of a health reform implementation commission to develop concrete proposals and to end the uncertainty for providers.

Last month the group released findings from a survey showing that 57 per cent of aged care facilities had sent residents to emergency departments because they were unable to see a doctor.

Eighteen per cent of respondents said they had been forced to do so “fairly frequently” or “regularly”.

Tags: cha, doctors, health-reform, hospitals,

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