GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 33
In this issue: Clarity on billing for SHS and PCEHR PIP requirements delayedMore hearings scheduled for ANF low pay claimAMA call for independent medical panel to oversee the health of asylum seekersAMA Parliamentary DinnerAMA President meets with Shadow Minister for Health and AgeingMedicare vouchers – order them now
AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that the Government has listened to the AMA’s concerns and delivered an outcome that will encourage doctors to become actively involved in the implementation of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).
“The Government has clarified that the additional time spent by a GP on a shared health summary (SHS) or an event summary during a consultation will count towards the total consultation time, and that the relevant time-based GP item can be billed accordingly,” Dr Hambleton said. In addition the PCEHR e-health practice incentive (PIP) capability requirements have been delayed until May 2013.
Click here for the full press release.
The AMA continues to defend general practices against the low paid bargaining authorisation being sought by the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF), with a further directions hearing held on Monday before Fair Work Australia (FWA). While the case was originally expected to run over 5 days in the week beginning 3 September, it will now not conclude until December. A total of 60 witnesses are expected to appear and, as a result, FWA has decided to schedule additional hearings in November and December.
The AMA is investing significant resources in fighting this claim, noting its potential to expand beyond the practices already named in the ANF's application.
The AMA has called on the Australian Parliament to establish a truly independent medical panel to oversee and report regularly on the health services that are available to asylum seekers in immigration detention facilities, both onshore and offshore.
Dr Hambleton stated “the Australian Parliament has voted for offshore processing of asylum seekers in Nauru and on Manus Island. It is now up to the Parliament to ensure that these desperate people seeking a better and safe life have access to quality health services.”
Click here for the full press release.
The AMA this week held its annual dinner at Parliament House providing further opportunity for advocacy on key health issues.
Dr Hambleton welcomed the Prime Minister, and among others, a significant array of Ministers, Shadow Ministers, Parliamentarian’s, Senators, and Executive departmental staff to the dinner. In his speech, Dr Hambleton reflected on the AMA’s 50-year history outlined in the AMA’s publication More Than Just a Union: A History of the AMA which can be found here.
Dr Hambleton praised the Government for its stance on plain packaging for cigarettes but expressed disappointment about the Standing Council on Health’s agreement to vary the existing determination on collaborative arrangements to enable agreements between midwives and hospitals and health services.
The Prime Minister Julia Gillard also addressed attendees, as did the Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek, the Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing Peter Dutton and the Greens Senator, Dr Richard Di Natale. Click here for a copy of the PM’s speech.
Dr Hambleton met with the Hon Peter Dutton MP this week, to discuss health issues of particular concern to the AMA, including the AMA's plan for complex and chronic disease, support for teaching in general practice and the future of Medicare Locals. Mr Dutton welcomed the AMAs input and agreed to further dialogue on these key issues.
The AMA this week secured from the Department of Human Services (DHS) an undertaking to continue processing bulk billing forms until practitioners supplies of them are exhausted. Practitioners have until 31 August 2012 to replenish their supplies.
This change follows on from the announcement by DHS (see July 2012 issue of GPNN) that bulk billing forms would no longer be available from 1 September 2012 and would only be processed until 31 December 2012. The DHS following representations from the AMA has realised the impact of this decision on non-computerised practices and those providers delivering services out of rooms.The DHS has also undertaken to supply printed copies of the new forms (available electronically) for those who do not have access to a computer or printer.
Further updates will be provided as the DHS confirms additional measures to assist practitioners over time transition to electronic billing.We welcome your comments and suggestions as well. Please tell us what you think.
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Published: 24 Aug 2012