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August 2009

Ramsay and HBF at loggerheads

Ramsay Health Care, operator of Hollywood, Joondalup, Attadale, and Glengarry private hospitals has withdrawn from negotiations with HBF over fee increases, which HBF claims are too high. The health insurer put pressure on Ramsay through a letter sent to members in July warning of higher admission charges, but when quizzed, an HBF spokesperson confirmed HBF will honour its previous agreement with Ramsay and not charge members default ‘second tier' benefits. The dispute is before the Health Insurance Ombudsman with a resolution expected soon. Stay tuned!

St John review submissions

You've probably seen the Four Corners Report on the alleged systemic failures of St John Ambulance and heard the media and political bluster. St John Ambulance's Medical Director Dr Garry Wilkes gives his perspective on the issue on page 4. Now, Kim Hames is calling for submissions as part of the review into St John's quality and safety (before the government renews their ambulance service contract). The review is to be conducted by Greg Joyce, former Director-General of the Department of Housing and Works and overseen by Dr Simon Towler, the Department of Health's Chief Medical Officer. If interested, send your submissions to Ms Kim Loh, Development Division, Department of Health, PO Box 8172, Perth Business Centre, WA, 6849, or via email to Hurry, submissions close  early August!

Stan and the Medical Board

Doctors may have been worried about where their fees were heading after reading in The West that fraud squad detectives had charged prominent Stamfords accountant Stan Palassis with stealing $80,000 from the WA Medical Board...

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November 2008

United we stand

Australia's general practice peak bodies have banded together to boost their lobbying power and provide a consensus opinion on important matters affecting general practice. The national group, called United General Practice Australia, is an amalgamation of leaders from the AMA, RACPG, Divisions (Australian General Practice Network), Rural Doctors Association, General Practice Registrars Association, and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine. Highest on their agenda is a call for an extra 100 national GP training places, international medical students, and national accreditation.

Gap gaffs downplayed

In early October, federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon promised to crack down on medicos who failed to tell patients about gap fees but the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman has found the number of complaints about gap fees for hospital treatment is small. The Ombudsman received 2,385 complaints in the 12 months to June 2008, which was 45 (1.9%) more than the previous year. Most complaints were about health insurers (2267), followed by hospitals (133) and practitioners (56). Policy holders with Medibank Private (which has 28.6% market share), made 22% of the complaints. MBF Australia (15.9% market share) policy holders made 28.4% of the complaints and HBF (7.6% market share) made 2.1% of complaints.

Cosmetic cleanup

Speaking of clampdowns, the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery (ACCS) is taking aim at inexperienced cosmetic surgeons...

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