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GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 49 - 16 December 2011

AMA welcomes new Health Minister; Mental Health Minister into Cabinet; Food Minister’s decisions hard to swallow; The role of financial incentives in Preventive Health - Background paper; 2011 in Review; AMA resources for medical fees; Merry Christmas; Pick up a free day on Hertz; Email the AMA; Post new comment to the website

16 Dec 2011

AMA welcomes new Health Minister

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton said the new Health Minister, Ms Plibersek’s Ministerial experience along with her commitment to social equity and social justice makes her well equipped to take on the demands and challenges of the Health portfolio. The AMA looks forward to a close working relationship with the new Minister, Dr Hambleton said. The AMA will be seeking a meeting at the earliest opportunity to discuss a range of issues including primary health care reforms and the need to reverse the cuts to the Better Access mental health services available through general practice.

The AMA also acknowledged the contribution of former Minister Nicola Roxon, with Dr Hambleton wishing her well in the next stage of her political career. The full press release is here

Mental Health Minister into Cabinet

The AMA applauded the Prime Minister’s decision earlier this week to appoint the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, to Cabinet and adding Social Inclusion to his portfolio. There is a lot of unfinished business in mental health and aged care and many conflicting views about the way ahead in both areas, AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton said. The AMA will seek an early meeting with the Minister to discuss a range of issues, especially mental health funding arrangements for patients seeing GPs under the Better Access program. The full press release is here.

Food Minister’s decisions hard to swallow

The AMA is extremely disappointed that the Forum on Food Regulation held last week failed to endorse the traffic light system of labelling for packaged food. AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that the Forum had followed the lead of the Federal Government, which last week, caved in to industry pressure to put self-regulation ahead of legislated action to protect and improve people’s health. It has opted for a deliberation process that may decide on a front-of-pack labelling system, but not a traffic light system. The AMA wants to know the Terms of Reference for this process, who will participate, how it will be conducted, what sort of collaboration is envisaged, and how the decision will be made, Dr Hambleton said. The full press release is here.

The role of financial incentives in Preventive Health - Background paper

The AMA has released a background paper on the role of financial incentives in preventive health. The paper explores the effectiveness and limitations of using financial incentives and disincentives to encourage better preventive health decisions. In the paper the AMA:

  • recognises the international evidence that financial incentives have potential to encourage specific “one-off” preventive health behaviours;
  • calls for Australian research to be undertaken on the effectiveness and acceptability of financial incentives in preventive health care
  • provides in-principle support for financial incentives that:
    • are targeted at specific “one-off” behaviours;
    • do not undermine the doctor-patient relationship or patient autonomy; and
    • are properly evaluated.

The background paper is here.

2011 in Review

Dr Brian Morton, Chair of AMACGP, in this week’s Australian Medicine provided a brief review of this year’s events. The review touching on issues related to Mental Health, Medicare Locals, and GP Super Clinics. Some of the good news stories for the year including the promise of GP referred MRI items and the implementation of the Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program. Click here to read the article in full.

AMA resources for medical fees

The AMA encourages medical practitioners to determine their own fees based on their own practice costs. To guide medical practitioners in determining their fees and to assist those considering moving from bulk billing to patient billing, the AMA provides members with tools and resources, which are available at http://ama.com.au/feeslist. There is a checklist for those medical practitioners who have decided to move from bulk billing to patient billing and a template letter to explain to their patients why their fee is different to the Medicare rebate.

The AMA Gaps Poster illustrates why patients might have to pay a gap. The poster shows the effect of the difference between the indexation of Medicare Schedule fees and the Consumer Price Index and average weekly earnings.  Download a A4 size poster that you may print, or you can order a colour A3 size poster by emailing ama@ama.com.au or calling on (02) 6270 5400

Merry Christmas

As another year rolls by your GP Network News team would like to take this opportunity to wish you compliments of the season and a happy and peaceful Christmas break. Our first edition for 2012 will be published on January 13 and we look forward to bringing you all the latest GP news.


We welcome your comments and suggestions as well. Please tell us what you think.


Pick up a free day on Hertz* Rent a car for 7 days or more and only pay for 6

Rent a car for 7 days or more with Hertz and you’ll only pay for 6. That’s on top of all the usual benefits you’d expect with your Hertz rental including your usual AMA rate discount.

The offer is available at participating domestic locations on rentals collected before 15th February* 2011. So book now at Hertz.com.au and quote CDP Number 283826 and Promotion Code 101485, or alternatively call Hertz Reservations on 13 30 39.

 *Terms and Conditions: Customer Discount Program (CDP) number 283826 and  Promotional Code (PC) number 101485 must be quoted at time of reservation  to redeem the free day offer. Offer is available at participating  locations in Australia, until 15 February 2012. Blackout periods apply between 15 December 2011 to 05 January 2012 inclusive. Minimum rental  period of seven (7) consecutive days applies, with a maximum of one (1)  day free of time and kilometre charges granted per rental. Offer excludes  taxes, fees, optional products and services. Offer is non-discountable and  cannot be combined with any other promotion, special offer or coupon.  Offer is not applicable to Prepaid (Pay Now) rates. Offer applies to the  following vehicles groups, and is subject to availability at time of  vehicle collection: Intermediate Auto, Standard Auto, Full-size Auto,  Premium Auto, Full-size Wagon and People Mover. Hertz standard driver and  credit qualifications in effect at the time and place of rental apply.  Minimum driver age without surcharge is 21 years.

In this Issue

AMA welcomes new Health Minister

Mental Health Minister into Cabinet

Food Minister’s decisions hard to swallow

The role of financial incentives in Preventive Health - Background paper

2011 in Review

AMA resources for medical fees

Merry Christmas

Hertz: Pick up a free day*

Email the AMA

Post new comment to the website






AMA is the peak medical organisation in Australia representing the profession’s interests to Government and the wider community. Your Federal AMA General Practice Policy team can be contacted via email gpnn@ama.com.au or by phone (02) 6270 5400. You can unsubscribe from GPNN by emailing unsubscribe@ama.com.au

 


Published: 16 Dec 2011