corporate health

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October 2007

Payout for "hostile" medico's sacking

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has recommended that Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service (DYHS) apologise and pay compensation to Dr Julie Copeman for terminating her employment at a Perth clinic in 2004, allegedly for lobbying about colleagues' workplace conditions as an AMA rep. They found DYHS was frustrated that Dr Copeman had discussed her colleagues' complaints in a forceful, open manner that was "interpreted as being hostile". The Commission recommended DYHS pay Dr Copeman $76,185 compensation for emotional hurt and lost income.

Primary scuttle Symbion/Healthscope merger

Primary Health Care has used its recently acquired 20% stake in Symbion to scuttle the long-expected Symbion/Healthscope merger. Although 99.2% of voters (representing 73.9 % of total shares) were in favour, the requirement to meet a share vote of 75% was stymied by Primary. Healthscope and Symbion are now "discussing other options".

Addiction Medicine fellowships

Tony Abbott has signed off on Addiction Medicine being recognised as a specialty...

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September 2007

EasyClaim slow

WA doctors are not racing to embrace the federal government's Easy Claim system. In theory, the good idea of allowing people to claim Medicare rebates at the same time as they pay their doctor's bill has been outweighed by the extra time in processing and the need for additional staff. The AMA has put forward a proposal that doctors be paid $1 for every claim made - pharmacists and banks receive a transaction fee. As a side issue, it was reported in the Financial Review that a number of senior AMA policy staff dealing with electronic health had resigned following the election of Dr Rosanna Capolingua.

Diluted WA health dollar

A report by the Federal Government shows that in 2005-2006, WA spent $3.5 billion in health (an increase of $170m) but due to a rising population this equated to $118 less per person than the preceding year (but still $894 per person, the second highest). The report also showed that the average number of beds per 1000 population fell 0.1 to 2.5 and the average waiting time for procedures increased by one day.

Thanks for the mammaries

Through years of IVF treatment (and afterwards), Busselton woman Sarah O'Brien struggled... ... Read More...
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June 2007

Canadian cash cow

Canadian operation www.mdBriefCase.com.au is now targeting Australian doctors, medical students and nurse practitioners with free CME activities. As elsewhere, ‘free' means financed by the pharmaceutical industry while the RACGP and ACCRM are paid to accredit. Heavy promotion is through regular email broadcasts and prizes offered to survey participants, with results used to fine tune content and provide feedback to sponsors. Its all about creating awareness around a product or service within a clinical area - educational grants generate particular content, usually from specialists, paid by mdBriefCase to write independently with "AMA standards for scientific validity, objectivity and completeness" whatever that is.

Govt fat burn fans

Aussies are fat, with 80% dying from preventable diseases. A stunning proactive move by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has been the 4-year Australian Better Health Initiative ($250m from the feds and $24.6m from State coffers). Even the federal opposition has a new shadow minister for Sport and Recreation and Health Promotion in Senator Kate Lundy - to help people live healthy, active lives and cut the estimated $1.5 billion preventable disease bill for Oz. Wow! The public sector Australian Health Promotion Association is trumpeting support, with eyes on the new preventive health budget no doubt. They run an annual conference and publish the Health Promotion Journal of Australia to add science to what we already know.

Kalamunda curtailed

Despite earlier talk of a GP-focussed community hospital at Kalamunda, the reality is ... ... Read More...
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April 2007

The birds!

Longstanding Esperance GP and Liberal MLA Dr Graham Jacobs finds himself in a challenging situation, with birds dropping out of Esperance skies, presumably from contamination from lead carbonate shipped out of Esperance harbour. The contamination appears airborne, and with a ‘no safe threshold limit' for lead in humans, fall out for his patient (now constituent) population seems inevitable. His choices might be to quietly get on with doctoring in the town or scaremongering and Labor-bashing for political advantage in his marginal seat.

Silver lining on the Gray cloud?

The pragmatic peace pipe is out at Sirtex Medical. The company announced it had been granted leave to amend its cost claim against Professor Bruce Gray, and said it had received a written undertaking from Prof Gray to refrain from directly or indirectly carrying on any business similar to, or competitive against, Sirtex's. Given the boardroom events of last year, this is a huge change. Meanwhile, Sirtex's net profit dropped to $1.6m (compared to $2.7m last period) although sales increased worldwide. The reason for the drop? Legal fees.

C3: all cashed up with nothing to sell

As we predicted in the February edition, investors are now running a mile from C3 after it downgraded its earnings forecast....

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