The Health News Australia November 2 2017

  • President of the AMA, Doctor Michael Gannon has said that Australians are buying useless health insurance and should not have to be an actuary or doctor to understand what those products cover.  He told a federal parliamentary committee in Sydney on Tuesday the cost of medical procedures is not the reason why patients with health insurance are seeing a rise in out-of-pocket expenses.
  • The IVF industry has been accused of increasingly placing profits over patients, with a new study suggesting that some doctors are offering women more treatment cycles than appropriate or necessary. The study by Macquarie University and Sydney University researchers has found that conflicts of interest are leading to fertility doctors making decisions that financially benefit them and their employer, at the expense of their patients.
  • An estimated 31% of Australian workers have used leave for mental health or stress within the last year. Research published on Wednesday by Finder.com.au estimates that 3.74 million Australians used at least one day of their sick leave for mental health or stress in the past twelve months.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 2nd of November 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/31/australians-buying-useless-health-insurance-ama-head-says

The president of the Australian Medical Association, Doctor Michael Gannon has said that
Australians are buying “useless” health insurance and should not have to be an actuary or doctor to understand what those products cover.  Gannon also blamed the health insurance industry for increased premiums in order to pay shareholders, while reducing choice for patients by “controlling what services are provided”. He told a federal parliamentary committee in Sydney on Tuesday the cost of medical procedures is not the reason why patients with health insurance are seeing a rise in out-of-pocket expenses. Gannon said most consumers understood they may need to contribute to the cost of care.
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He urged the committee to find out why it was costing insurers as much to run their businesses as it was to pay the doctor to treat their customers. He blamed a shift to a full-profit industry for the growth in health premiums because insurers had to ensure there were sufficient profits to allow a return to shareholders. The AMA president also said insurers were driving Australia to a “managed-care system” like in the US. He said health insurers would not provide cover if hospital facilities did not meet their business needs. “This reduces choice for the patient, something private health insurance is supposed to offer,” he said. Gannon said insurers were trying to convince government they could reduce health expenditure through controlling what services are provided – low-value care the AMA did not support.
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He also stated that while health insurers were focused on minimising their expenditure, they were creating barriers for patients accessing care.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/healthcare/bioethicists-raise-alarm-about-conflicts-of-interest-in-australias-ivf-industry-20171101-gzcp8z.html

The in vitro fertilization industry has been accused of increasingly placing profits over patients, with a new study suggesting that some doctors are offering women more treatment cycles than appropriate or necessary. A team of Australian bioethicists has found that conflicts of interest are leading to fertility doctors making decisions that financially benefit them and their employer, at the expense of their patients. Professor William Ledger of IVF Australia steps through the fascinating process of in vitro fertilisation. The first IVF cycle costs about nine thousand dollars .

As some IVF clinics became more corporate, there are growing concerns that professionals will put profit before patients. The study by Macquarie University and Sydney University researchers and published in the journal Human Fertility was based on interviews with eight professionals in the IVF industry, including counsellors and clinical specialists. They said most participants believed commercial interests had some impact on a doctor’s commitment to their patients, and was “particularly true of doctors working for corporations”. In Australia, most clinics are privately run. The two major players, Virtus Health and Monash IVF, were floated on the stock exchange in two thousand fourteen, both raising more than three hundred million dollars. The study noted that the move was welcomed by the financial sector, with one analyst declaring that “people will pay almost anything to have a baby”.

Lead author Doctor Brette​ Blakely from the Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University said there was evidence that conflict of interest changed clinical practice.
She said there was concern that financially motivated clinicians were offering IVF to patients who may actually achieve success with cheaper and less invasive treatments.  At present, there is no Medicare limit to the number of cycles that can be reimbursed or the age of the woman receiving treatment.

http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/managing/australians-took-374-million-mental-health-days-last-year-20171031-gzbwq2.html

Mental health days are not frowned upon at Sydney content marketing and public relations agency Filtered Media. “By policy, we offer YOLO or you only live once days,” says co-owner Heather Jones.  She added: “It’s two paid days per year to take at your whim, either when the sun is shining too brightly for you to bear being anywhere but the beach, or the clouds are hovering so thickly in your own mental space you need to stay in bed with the curtains drawn.”
An estimated thirty one per cent of Australian workers have used leave for mental health or stress within the last year. Jones has lived with depression herself and so has embedded mental health care into the culture and policies of the business, which employs thirty staff and turns over more than three million dollars a year.
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Staff at Filtered Media are not alone in taking mental health days, with research published on Wednesday by Finder.com.au estimating three point seventy four million Australians used at least one day of their sick leave for mental health or stress in the past twelve months. The analysis which came from a survey of two thousand ten Australian adults, found thirty one per cent of Australian workers have used their leave for mental health or stress within the last year with mental health estimated to cost the economy at least eight hundred eighty one million a year in just sick days alone. The research found thirty six per cent of full-time workers take leave for mental health, compared to thirty two percent per cent of part-time workers. There is a generational gap, with four times as many Generation Y workers (at forty four per cent) using their sick leave for a mental health day in the last year compared to only eleven per cent of working baby boomers.
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Graham Cooke, insights manager at Finder, says anxiety and stress clearly have a huge impact on Australian workplaces, and mental health affects every industry in Australia in some way.

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