Annual Review 2014 a showcase of the vital work undertaken this year

APHA Taskforce Report

The APHA Policy and Advocacy Taskforce is APHA’s lead source of advice on issues of government policy affecting the economic and regulatory environment within which private hospitals operate.  While most of the issues discussed are national, from time to time State level issues are also discussed.  Matters dealt during 2013 and 2014 include:

  • Private patients in public hospitals
  • The Federal Government’s Competition Policy Review
  • Means testing and indexation of the Private Health Insurance Rebate
  • The Review of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records System
  • The funding of chemotherapy drugs and services
  • The Community Pharmacy Agreement
  • Private sector emergency departments
  • Exclusionary private health insurance products
  • Second Tier provisions
  • The Prostheses List
  • Industry representation on key government bodies

Workforce Taskforce

The APHA Policy and Advocacy Taskforce supports APHA’s advocacy on workforce issues.  During 2013 and 2014 this Taskforce has considered and made submissions on the following:

  • Clinical placements in the private sector
  • Internships in the private sector
  • Workplace Gender Reporting obligations
  • The Review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme
  • Alignment of registration requirements for health professionals with the National Standards
  • The Review of the Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa (Subclass 457) Programme
  • Consultations held by the Nursing and Midwifery Board
  • Accreditation Standards for Re-entry to Practice Programs for Registered Nurses
  • Strategic responses to the forecast shortage of Nurses

The Taskforce also supports close collaboration with Catholic Health Australia on issues of mutual interest through the APHA/CHA Not-for Profit/Private Hospital Sector Workforce Committee which has been instrumental in raising the profile of the sector as a whole with Federal and State governments.

In the coming year, APHA plans to conduct a survey of members (similar to that conducted 10 years ago) to establish an overview of the private hospital sector’s workforce and fill significant gaps in published data on this issue.

Safety and Quality Taskforce

The APHA Safety and Quality Taskforce addresses issues pertaining to:

  • government regulation and accreditation,
  • guidelines and clinical care standards, and
  • benchmarking and reporting against quality and safety measures.

The implementation of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards has been a major preoccupation over several years leading to strong and ongoing engagement with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.  Submissions and major issues discussed in 2013 and 2014 include:

  • The appropriate use of quality and safety data including use by private health insurance funds and government agencies
  • Challenges in reporting against Core Hospital Based Outcome Indicators (CHBOI)
  • Harmonisation of state and national accreditation and licencing requirements in order to address duplication and an excessive burden of reporting
  • The role out of the National Standards in their first two years of operation
  • Alignment of registration requirements for health professionals with the National Standards
  • Credentialing of health professionals in the private hospital sector
  • The wind-up of the APHA Safety and Quality Indicator Program

The Taskforce is currently engaged in negotiations with the ACSQHC on participation by the private hospital sector in an implementation review of the National Standards.

The APHA Psychiatric Committee

During 2013 and 2014 the APHA Psychiatric Committee has dealt with issues including:

  • A submission to the National Mental Health Review
  • The attitude and behaviour of health funds towards psychiatric services
  • Department of Veterans Affairs policies and tending processes
  • Application of the National Standards to mental health facilities
  • The continued growth of Mental Health Week as a key event in APHA’s calendar
  • A national classification and costing model for mental health
  • Liaison with the Private Mental Health Consumer Carer Network

The Committee also oversaw the production of a suite of brochures to support hospitals in explaining private health insurance to doctors working in private psychiatric hospitals and patients considering admission.

The Committee supports APHA’s work with the Private Mental Health Alliance on projects including a major patient survey tool – the Perceptions of Care Survey, improvements in the quality of publicly reported data, and the review of the Guidelines for Determining Benefits for Health Insurance Benefits Purposes for Private Mental Health Care.

The APHA Rehabilitation Committee

During 2013 and 2014 the APHA Rehabilitation Committee has worked hard to try and improve relations with the Australian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre and to improve the quality and timeliness of reports provided to private hospitals – this is an ongoing area of work.

The Committee also supports APHA’s engagement with health funds through the Consultative Committee on Private Rehabilitation.  This committee is currently reviewing the Guidelines for Private Rehabilitation.

Other issues being worked on by the APHA Rehabilitation Committee include:

  • The application of the National Standards to rehabilitation services
  • Data reporting on rehabilitation services
  • Standardisation of rehabilitation certificate requirements
  • Promotion of the value of private rehabilitation services through research