Annual Review 2013 a showcase of the vital work undertaken this year

APHA Taskforce Report

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 Group, QLD, directed the policy arena for APHA. Taskforce members were:

  • Michael Coglin, Healthscope
  • Robert Cooke, Healthscope
  • Andrew Currie, Healthscope
  • Philip Currie, Adventist Healthcare
  • Ian England, St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital, QLD, until June 2013
  • Alan Kinkade, Epworth Health Care
  • Alan Morrison, SportsMed SA
  • Geoff Sam, Heathe Care
  • Lucy Fisher, Private Hospitals Association, Queensland, observer

Key issues addressed by the taskforce in 2013 were the growth in private patient services provided by public hospitals, sustainable funding for chemotherapy and issues to be addressed in relation to the PBS as a whole, worker’s compensation funding, activity based funding in the public sector, Second Tier benefits, and the future of the Prostheses List.  Exploratory work also commenced in relation to private hospital emergency department services. 

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.

Safety and Quality Taskforce

The Taskforce was chaired by Christine Gee, CEO of Toowong Private Hospital. Other Members of the Safety and Quality Taskforce were

  • Anne Crouch, EyeTech Surgeries, QLD
  • Karen Kelly, UnitingCare Health Group, QLD from October 2013
  • Damien Lloyd, Healthscope
  • Bernadette Lyons, Healthe Care
  • Moira Munro, Perth Clinic, WA
  • Louise O’Connor, Epworth Health Care from October 2013
  • Bronwyn Mace, Epworth Health Care until October 2013
  • Sue McKean, UnitingCare Health Group, QLD until October 2013
  • Glenna Parker, Ramsay Healthcare
  • Mark Stephens, Chesterville Day Hospital
  • 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.

A central focus for the Safety and Quality Taskforce was the implementation of National Standards accreditation. Continued liaison and co-operation with Australian Commission for Safety and Quality through Christine Gee (a Commissioner) and other members of the Commission’s Private Sector Committee ensured issues identified first part of the year were effectively resolved.  Data from the Commission indicated that transitional implementation has been successful for private hospitals.

Other major issues advocated were harmonisation of State and Federal licencing and reporting arrangements and liaison with the National Health Performance Authority.

The APHA Quality Indicator Program was wound up in June 2013 and the Taskforce commenced planning for new initiatives to support APHA members in reporting against nationally agreed Core Hospital Based Outcome Indicators. 

Workforce Taskforce

The Workforce Taskforce was chaired by APHA Board member Danny Sims of Ramsay Health.

Members of the Taskforce were:

  • Sue Elmslie, Healthe Care
  • Ray Fairweather St Andrew’s Toowoomba
  • Maree Feery, Epworth Health Care
  • Andrew Mereau, Healthe Care until June 2013
  • Gavin O’Meara, Ramsay Health
  • Sharon Stedman, Toowong Private Hospital
  • Denise Taylor, Metropolitan Rehabilitation Hospital until June 2013
  • Nick Warden, Burnside War Memorial Hospital until November 2013
  • Jenny Williams, Healthscope
  • 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 Non-Government Organisations and the Private Sector, 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 2013 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, medical internships and training networks, clinical placements, vocational education training packages, the mental health workforce and the future of the nursing workforce.

The APHA and CHA collaborated closely to articulate issues of common interest in relation to workforce including promotion of productivity, clinical training and the international health workforce.

Psychiatric Committee

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

  • Emma Bognar, Healthscope
  • 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 until January 2013
  • Patrick McGurrin, Belmont Clinica – Queensland Representative from May 2013
  • 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 third year in succession, APHA initiated a communications program for national Mental Health Week in October. This year the theme “What do you know about mental health?” for further extended to include a specific focus on mental health and older people.   Nearly 200 private hospitals participated with displays, staff events, community talks, ad campaigns and many more activities.

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 Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care in relation to National Standards accreditation.

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.

Rehabilitation Committee

During 2013 The APHA Rehabilitation Committee was chaired by Bronwyn Mace of Epworth Healthcare until October 2012.  Other members were:

  • Robyn Ashe, Ramsay Health
  • Emma Bognar, Healthscope
  • Brett Goods, Healthe Care, until April 2013
  • Harry Koutsioufitis, Victorian Rehabilitation Centre, Healthscope
  • Lynnette McDonald, Healthe Care from August 2013f
  • Denise Thomas, Metropolitan Rehabilitation Hospital

Issues of concern during the year were the provision of timely and useful data from the Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre (AROC), the cost and burden of reporting data to AROC and eligibility of rehabilitation services for Second Tier payments.

The 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.

In 2013, the CCPR turned its attention to raising awareness of the value of Rehabilitation services examining the future data and research needs of hospital and health funds.


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