- The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is warning the Federal Government against moving to a system where health insurers, rather than Medicare, pay for GP visits.
- The Tasmanian Government would be prepared to support the findings of an Upper House inquiry into medicinal cannabis, Treasurer Peter Gutwein has indicated.
- John Curtin School of Medical Research have praised the first Australian fellowship, Judith Whitworth Fellowship for Gender Equality in Science, who take time off work to raise children.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 24th July 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is warning the Federal Government against moving to a system where health insurers, rather than Medicare, pay for GP visits.
Medibank Private has begun trialling a managed care scheme that guarantees its members priority bulk-billed care.
It is a move beyond the traditional insurer role of simply reimbursing members and health care providers for clinical services, and begins a direct involvement in the provision and management of care.
In a speech to the National Press Club, AMA president Brian Owler said he feared managed care could soon be rolled out as government policy.
Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton has declared he will not back a US-style two-tiered health system.
If Australia went down that path, the insurer could assume responsibility for an individual’s health care in exchange for a fixed payment.
Early last month, Mr Dutton said he would not allow people to opt out of Medicare, saying: “We would never go down the path of an American system.”
However, he said he was happy to talk with insurers about spending money on patients in addition to what is spent on Medicare.
Dr Owler says there may be a role for private health insurers in primary health care, but only at the edges.
“Medibank Private talks about loving those patients, but I’m not sure if loving actually means dictating what doctor they can be sent to and who they’re going to see,” he said.
“That’s not what we want to have happen.”
Dr Owler has written to the Federal Government about his concerns with managed care.
“Managed care has many guises …” he said.
The Tasmanian Government would be prepared to support the findings of an Upper House inquiry into medicinal cannabis, Treasurer Peter Gutwein has indicated.
Mr Gutwein made the suggestion at the annual Local Government Association conference, where several mayors took the opportunity to express their willingness to establish medical cannabis crops in their regions.
Early this month, the government rejected a medicinal cannabis trial after meeting the proponents, saying it was concerned about safety and security.
There had been a groundswell of council support for medical cannabis production in Tasmania, and some mayors were upset they were not consulted before the government dismissed the proposal.
But it appeared the Government had softened its hardline stance against the crop.
Mr Gutwein said the Government would not only take the findings of Upper House inquiry on board, but might well act on any recommendations.
Researchers have praised the first Australian fellowship for scientists who take time off work to raise children.
The Judith Whitworth Fellowship for Gender Equality in Science is funded by the John Curtin School of Medical Research, and the Australian National University.
The fellowship will support promising early and mid-career scientists who have stepped out of their role for maternity or paternity leave.
One fellowship will be awarded every year, with successful applicants receiving two years’ salary and $50,000 in research funding.
Emeritus Professor Judith Whitworth, the former head of the school, said she is proud to have the fellowship named after her.
She said she would have benefited from that type of support when she had a child early in her career as a doctor and medical researcher.
Professor Whitworth said the fellowship will put those taking time out of the laboratory on par with those who stay.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallacher (sic – Gallagher) officially launched the fellowship today, and said she was shocked it was the first of its kind in Australia.
ANU vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young said the university is looking at other ways to support researchers leaving work to raise children.
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