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Let’s not be afraid of reform

Welcome to this June issue of The Health

extra health dollars and reduced out-of-pocket

Advocate, which will be coming to you shortly

costs for electors—but public commitment to

after the 18 May Federal election.

getting better value for those dollars was muted.

Our ‘value and outcomes’ theme for this

Before the election we asked questions such as

issue is something that AHHA and its members

‘Do you really need that extra appointment with

are passionate about, as you can see from the

the doctor to renew a script or have a specialist

submitted articles.

referral updated? Do you really need to pay a GP to

In the run-up to the May 2018 election we put

carry out a treatment or give an injection when a

‘pedal to the metal’ on value and outcomes with

trained nurse can do it just as effectively? Why are

the major parties, topped by our setting up of

some treatments still subsidised by Medicare when

a new Australian Centre for Value-Based Health

more effective evidence-based treatments are

Care (ACVBHC), which will be officially launched

available? Why get that injury treated in hospital

in Melbourne on 11 June 2019. More information

when it could be done just as well at your local

on the Centre is available in ‘The new Australian

primary care clinic for a fraction of the cost?

Centre for Value-Based Health Care’ article in this issue. In our view, as well as that of many others, we need ‘better bang for the health buck’ from our health system. This is not about saving money—it

We need to shift the whole system to value-based healthcare—that is, better outcomes for patients relative to costs—or the right care in the right place at the right time by the right provider. This will often involve teams of health

is about achieving better outcomes. For example,

professionals providing ongoing care for chronic

reducing the cost of a treatment for which there

conditions. Team-based care models with

is no proven benefit will save money, but that

professionals working at the top of their licence

treatment is still of little value. Conversely an

may offer more effective, more timely and better

expensive treatment that has been proven to

value care than traditional care systems.

bring great results may be of high value and worth the investment.

To enable this, funding arrangements need to move away from a reliance on traditional fee-for-

Before the May 2019 election the Coalition,

service models, which can entrench fragmented

Labor, and the Greens all promised welcome

care. Rewards and funding should be re-oriented


The Health Advocate • JUNE 2019

Profile for Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association

The Health Advocate - Issue 53 / June 2019  

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