APHA has several Taskforces and Committees which are established by, and report to, the Board. These are:

  • Policy and Advocacy;
  • Safety and Quality;
  • Workforce;
  • Psychiatry; and
  • Rehabilitation.

Policy and Advocacy

This taskforce, chaired by Richard Royle, APHA Vice-President and CEO of UnitingCare Health directs the policy arena for APHA. Taskforce members are:

  • Henry Barclay, Cura Day Hospital until October 2012
  • Mark Cathcart, Uniting Care Health until October 2012
  • Robert Cooke, Healthscope from June 2012
  • Michael Coglin, Healthscope
  • Phil Currie, Sydney Adventist
  • Ian England, St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital, Qld, from October 2012
  • Alan Kinkade, Epworth Health Care
  • Alan Morrison, SportsMed, SA,
  • Craig McNally, Ramsay Health until October 2012
  • Geoff Sam, Heathe Care from October 2012
  • Danny Sims, Ramsay Health until October 2012
  • Mark Stephens, Chesterville Day Hospital until July 2012
  • George Toemoe, NSW PHA until October 2012
  • Lucy Fisher PHAQ, observer

Despite a sustained lobbying effort, APHA was unsuccessful in preventing the introduction of means-testing of the Private Health Insurance rebate. Since then the Taskforce has monitored it’s impact closely and continued to advocate alternative approaches to ensuring a strong private hospital industry.

Other key issues addressed by the Taskforce in 2012 were the growth in private patient services provided by public hospitals, sustainable funding for chemotherapy, worker’s compensation funding, activity based funding in the public sector and the future of the Prostheses List.

Safety and Quality Taskforce

The Taskforce was chaired by Stephen Walker, CEO of St Andrew’s Hospital, Adelaide until October when he was succeded by Christine Gee, Toowong Private Hospital. Other Members of the Safety and Quality Taskforce were

  • Anne Crouch, EyeTech Surgeries
  • Bernadette Lyons, Healthe Care
  • Damien Lloyd, from February 2012
  • Moira Munro, Perth Clinic
  • Bronwyn Mace, Epworth Health Care from November 2012
  • Sue McKean, UnitingCare Health Group
  • Glenna Parker, Ramsay Healthcare
  • Mark Stephens, Chesterville Day Hospital
  • Maureen Willson, Epworth Health Care until February 2012
  • Lucy Fisher, Private Hospitals Association Queensland, observer
  • George Neale, George Neale and Associates, observer

Taskforce members have significant experience in the important area of patient safety and quality. Consequently APHA is able to address the key issues and provide input into a range of national safety and quality initiatives.

Some of the highlights for the S&Q Taskforce were:

  • The continued development and rollout of APHA’s the National Measurement and Reporting of the Safety and Quality Indicators Program. Over 120 member hospitals are now participating in the Program;
  • Continued liaison and co-operation with Australian Commission for Safety and Quality . Several members of the Taskforce sit on the Private Sector committee of the Commission thus facilitating excellent communication with APHA members. Christine Gee is a Commissioner. The private sector has a strong voice in the Commission’s national safety and quality agenda, and there was a further increase in the number of private hospitals participating in the National Hand Hygiene Program;
  • Engagement with the Commission and with accreditation agencies on the implementation of the National Safety and Quality Standards, a significant change program for all hospitals.

In the later half of the year the Taskforce also prepared a brief discussion paper outlining key issues and difficulties faced by private hospitals in managing credentialling.  This paper identified issues subsequently raised the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and ACWQR and the Commission.

Workforce Taskforce

The Workforce Taskforce was chaired by APHA Board member Geoff Sam, Director of Healthe Care until October 2012 when he was succeeded by Danny Sims of Ramsay Health.

Members of the Taskforce were:

  • Peter Dohrmann Epworth Health Care until May 2012
  • Sue Elmslie, Healthe Care from October 2012
  • Dr Lynleigh Evans, Skin and Cancer Foundation until May 2012
  • Ray Fairweather St Andrew’s Toowoomba
  • Maree Feery, Epworth Health care from October 2012
  • Andrew Mereau, Healthe Care
  • Gavin O’Meara, Ramsay Health
  • Sharon Stedman, Toowong Private Hospital
  • Denise Taylor, Metropolitan Rehabilitation Hospital from July 2012
  • Nick Warden, Burnside War Memorial Hospital from October 2012
  • Jenny Williams, Healthscope from March 2012
  • Lucy Fisher, Private Hospitals Association Queensland, observer

Several Taskforce members represented APHA on Committees and Working Groups of Health Workforce Australia, including the HWA Standing Advisory Committee for NGO and Private Sector, the Federal Government’s Extended Medical Education Advisory Committee (EMEAC) which was subsumed within the Medical Training Review Panel (MTRP) in mid 2012.

APHA members are also represented on health workforce planning committees in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

In 2012 the Taskforce continued its strong advocacy for better access for private hospitals to specialist training places and internships and for stronger engagement with health workforce reform through the HWA including private sector representation at Board level.  APHA was also involved in discussions at the both the Federal and State level about registrar training, internships and training networks.

Psychiatric Committee

The Committee is chaired by Christine Gee, CEO of Toowong Private Hospital. Members are:

  • Emma Bognar, Healthscope from March 2012
  • Andrew McKenzie, The Melbourne Clinic, until March 2012
  • Sue McLean, Ramsay Health,  – Victorian Representative
  • Anne Mortimer, Ramsay Health – New South Wales Representative
  • Moira Munro, Perth Clinic – Western Australian Representative
  • John Smith, Healthe Care – Queensland Representative
  • Carol Turnbull, Ramsay Health – South Australian Representative
  • Amanda Quealy, The Hobart Clinic – Tasmanian Representative
  • Janne McMahon, Independent Chair of the Private Mental Health Consumer Carer Network – Observer

In 2012 the Committee worked hard to promote mental health and to ensure the views and interests of member private mental health services are represented and included in the national health policy agenda.

For the second year in succession, APHA initiated a communications program for national Mental Health Week in October. This year the theme “What do you about mental health?”.   This  year the campaign encompassed both social and traditional media.  Nearly 200 private hospitals participated with displays, staff events, community talks, ad campaigns and many more activities. APHA Mental Health Week Facebook advertising was seen by more than 400,000 people across Australia in just one week.

The intent of the campaign was to raise awareness of common mental health disorders and the coverage of mental health services afforded by private health insurance.  APHA produced quiz cards and posters promoting information about depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse and private health insurance using a simple and accessible format.  The campaign specifically urged people with private health insurance to ensure that they were covered for psychiatric care. Media releases were issued to launch the campaign, highlight these issues.

Committee members undertook representation for APHA with Private Mental Health Alliance, the Mental Health Workforce Strategy Committee and the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.

An on-going major focus of the Committee is to participate, contribute and support the Private Mental Health Alliance (PMHA) and the Centralised Data Management Service(CDMS).  The private hospital representatives on the PMHA are Moira Munro and Carol Turnbull. The PMHA Quality Improvement Project (APHA representative , Moira Munro) competed a major surveys on the provision of services for Borderline Personality Disorder patients and an extensive trial of a survey to measure Perceptions of Care which will become an essential part of the CDMS  in 2013.

Rehabilitation Committee

APHA’s Rehabilitation Committee provides private hospital representation to the National Consultative Committee on Private Rehabilitation (CCPR). The CCPR is an industry forum that deals with issues such as treatment guidelines, private health insurance benefits, and information to consumers, patient classification and data needs. During 2012 the Committee was chaired by Danny Sims of Ramsay Health who was succeeded by Bronwyn Mace in October 2012.  Members are:

  • Denise Thomas, Metropolitan Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Robyn Ashe, Ramsay Health
  • Brett Goods, Healthe Care
  • Harry Koutsioufitis, Victorian Rehabilitation Centre, from March
  • Emma Bognar, Healthscope
  • Robin Copeland, Greenslopes Private Hospital, until March 2012

The Rehabilitation Committee and the CCPR work with the Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre to review systems for the measurement of outcomes in rehabilitation.

In 2012, the CCPR completed a review of the Guidelines for Recognition of Private Hospital-Based Rehabilitation Services Having achieved this goal, the Committee turned its attention to raising awareness of the value of Rehabilitation services.  In 2012-13 this will continue to be the Committee’s central goal together with examining the future data and research needs of hospital and health funds.