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Key Issues

Department of Veterans Affairs

AMA Supports Veteran Health Care Program

Speaking at its launch, AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that the Government’s Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) program will help reduce avoidable hospital admissions in veterans with chronic and complex diseases.

Under the program, GPs will be able to provide comprehensive planned and coordinated care to eligible veterans with the support of a practice nurse or community nurse contracted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).

Click here for AMA press release in full. More information about the program is available here.

In-home telemonitoring pilot launch

Dr Brian Morton, Chair of AMACGP, attended the Department of Veterans’ Affairs launch of their in-home telemonitoring pilot early December 2011. The $8 million trial will use high speed and high capacity broadband capability to enable veterans’ vital statistics to be monitored from home and veterans will also have access to high definition consultations with their GP or nurse coordinator.

Dr Morton welcomed the Government’s trial of in-home telemonitoring and said ‘the telemonitoring trial will prove beneficial and pave the way for expansion to the wider community in the years ahead. Telemonitoring consultations will enable GPs to monitor patient conditions in their own home, promoting early intervention and reducing preventable hospitalisations.’

The DVA press release on the in-home telemonitoring trial can be found here.


Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR)

AMA Survey

The AMA is preparing an Essential Guide to using a shared electronic health record for medical practitioners ahead of introduction of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record from 1 July 2012. This document will be a resource for medical practitioners that will help them make decisions about whether, when and how to use the PCEHR in their practice. To ensure that the guide is as useful and relevant to practicing doctors as possible, the AMA is conducting a survey of members. An email from the President sent to members on 13 January 2012 includes the link to the survey. The survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete.


Mental Health

Report of the Senate Community Affairs Inquiry into funding and administration of mental health services

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said early November 2011 that this week’s messy and divided outcome from the Senate Community Affairs Inquiry into funding and administration of mental health services reflects the enormity of the community interest in mental health, and the confusing and misinformed input from some key stakeholders.

Dr Hambleton said the Inquiry’s majority and minority reports place further doubt on the rationale for the Government’s cuts to mental health services accessed through general practice under the Better Access program, which took effect from this week.

The AMA will continue to lobby for restoration of the Better Access funding and will monitor the effect that the Government’s changes will have on some of the most vulnerable patients in the community.

For the full press release click here.

The AMA has prepared an information kit that practices can use to help patients understand the new Medicare rebate structure following these cuts and the extent to which the Government has reduced their Medicare entitlements.


COAG National Health Reform Agreement

On 2 August 2011, the Commonwealth, State and Territory (the States) governments finalised the National Health Reform Agreement (the Agreement).

The Agreement supersedes the National Health and Hospitals Network Agreement (April 2010) and the Heads of Agreement – National Health Reform (February 2011).

The Agreement sets out the:

  • financial and governance arrangements for Australian public hospital services; and
  • governance arrangements for primary health care and aged care.

The Agreement is supplemented by two additional agreements: the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospitals Services, and the National Healthcare Agreement 2011. All these agreements can be found in full at: www.coag.gov.au.

Medicare Locals

Medicare Locals have been established by the Federal Government in order to coordinate primary health care delivery and identify local health care needs. However there is a complete lack of information as to how this is supposed to occur.

The AMA has grave concerns that Medicare Locals will take money out of general practices and waste valuable resources on supporting unnecessary layers of bureaucracy.

Read Doctor Hemley’s speech to AMA National Conference on Medicare Locals here


Nurse Practitioners

25 August 2011.

AMA welcomes GP-coordinated care for veterans with chronic and complex diseases

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that the Government’s Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) program will help reduce avoidable hospital admissions in veterans with chronic and complex diseases.

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2011 National Minimum Terms and Conditions for Basic and Advanced GP Terms

As part of a service to all of our members the AMA has mediated an agreement between GP Registrars and GP Supervisors that sets out minimum terms and conditions for GP Registrars. This agreement is negotiated every two years by the National GP Supervisors Association (NGPSA) and GP Registrars Australia (GPRA), with the AMA's assistance.

The 2011 agreement applies from the start of the 2011 training year and can be found here.