Enhanced transparency in Australia’s medical systems

Date: Aug 26, 2011

Australia's medical system will benefit from increased transparency and pricing regulation thanks to the introduction of two new bills, according to minister for health and ageing Nicola Roxon.

The National Health Reform Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (NHRIHPA) and National
Health Performance Authority (NHPA) could serve to provide both the public and medical professionals with a deeper insight into hospital performance.

Information on departmental success rates, number of procedures and likelihood of infection were all of concern to people across Australia who deserved to be able to better manage their health plans, said Ms Roxon.

She asserted: "The recent National Health Reform Agreement is therefore a watershed moment in the history of Australia's health system."

The competitive nature of the medical profession could propel institutions to improve standards and procedures – reducing the incidents of misconduct requiring the intervention of medical negligence lawyers.

All states and territories have indicated they will comply with the initiative, submitting statistics to the new body on a regular basis.

A major part of the funding for the new measures will come from the Commonwealth government, with estimates of up to $175 billion being supplied to public hospitals from the new department by the year 2030.

The NHRIHPA will be put in place to ensure that the money provided through the scheme is spent in the best possible manner by providing official medical bodies with advice on the most cost-effective methods of performing a procedure.

Statistics provided by the hospitals would then be fed back to the IHPA to be incorporated into the transparent performance rates used to generate the benchmarked amounts.

Ms Roxon also commented on the unique nature of the policy in that it received unilateral support from all sides of politics.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reports that more than 8,500 claims for medical negligence were made between June 2008 and July 2009.

Nearly ten per cent of these cases lasted more than five years – highlighting the need for victims to seek trusted legal advice.

A no win no fee law firm can help people who may be affected by medical malpractice by providing them with up front assessments of their case, minimising the initial expense of a claim.

According to Ms Roxon: "The significance of these two bills may not be apparent in their bureaucratic titles, but by shining a light on the performance of our hospitals, they will lead to better performance and better services for patients across Australia." 

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