- Medicare is to undergo a major shake up, with the Federal Government announcing every subsidised test, treatment and procedure will be investigated to make sure it is effective and value for money.
- The family of a Gold Coast woman who died after undergoing cosmetic surgery in Mexico has spoken for the first time about their loss and the need for greater oversight of the industry.
- Mental health carers say they are not being recognised, supported or respected by a health system that should work “with them, not against them”.
Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 23rd April 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Medicare is to undergo a major shake up, with the Federal Government announcing every subsidised test, treatment and procedure will be investigated to make sure it is effective and value for money.
Minister for Health Sussan Ley announced the wide-ranging review, saying Medicare needed to be revamped.
“It has come … to me through every single consultation with doctors that the Medicare system is sluggish, bloated and at high risk of long-term chronic problems,” Ms Ley said.
Among the measures, the Government will:
review all Medicare-funded procedures, tests and treatments
examine new ways to pay GPs providing care for patients with chronic conditions and mental health problems
develop new rules to crack down on Medicare cheats
In making the announcement, the Government explicitly said there would be no GP co-payment or any plans to introduce one.
More than 350 million Medicare services worth about $20 billion were paid out by the Government last year.
Ms Ley said many Medicare items were no longer used or used inappropriately.
The review of Medicare items will be led by Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of the University of Sydney.
Former Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Dr Steve Hambleton will head the review into GP funding.
It will examine whether GPs should be paid each time a patient comes to see them or whether they should be paid a lump sum, known as block funding, for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes.
The taskforces would be expected to report back with key priority areas for action later this year.
The family of a Gold Coast woman who died after undergoing cosmetic surgery in Mexico has spoken for the first time about their loss and the need for greater oversight of the industry.
In late March, 29-year-old Evita Sarmonikas travelled to the medical tourism hub Mexicali, on the border with the United States, for a procedure known as a Brazilian butt lift.
Her sister Andrea still remembers the moment a friend called her to say Evita had died not long after the operation.
Andrea Sarmonikas said the clinic in Mexicali tried to persuade Evita’s boyfriend to have her body cremated and returned to Australia, but the family insisted on arranging an independent autopsy.
“I knew I had to go over. I wasn’t going to let her body leave without having a proper investigation,” she said.
When the family arrived in Mexico they discovered the paperwork Evita was supposed to have read and signed before the surgery was incomplete.
Andrea Sarmonikas would not discuss the findings of the second autopsy except to say it raised questions about the report prepared by the clinic.
The surgeon who performed the “butt lift” on Evita Sarmonikas has been identified as Dr Victor Ramirez.
The College of Plastic Surgeons in Mexicali told the Mexican media Dr Ramirez was certified, but that his membership with the college lapsed after he failed to attend meetings.
The Australian Medical Association warns the risks involved in travelling to developing countries for cosmetic surgery outweigh the benefits.
Mental health carers say they are not being recognised, supported or respected by a health system that should work “with them, not against them”.
In a national first, the experiences of 130 Tasmania’s mental health carers has been catalogued in a series of reports.
Mental Health Carers Tasmania’s Wendy Groot said carers told stories about their frustrations and battles with the health system.
“We’ve had carers telling us that they’ve had the person who’s been in the health system being released from hospital,” she said.
“And [the carer] having no knowledge that they’ve been released and being released in some cases to the street.
“Carers feel that their voice is not heard, and they’re not respected and that the system needs to work for them not against them.”
Ms Groot said she hoped the report acted as a catalyst for change.
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