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AHHA calls for pathology payment system revamp

On the back of a Grattan Institute’s report on the cost of pathology testing, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has called on the Commonwealth to modernise Australia’s pathology payment system.

The report, Blood Money: paying for pathology services, held that the government could save up to $175 million a year by changing the way it pays for pathology testing and negotiating a fairer share of efficiency savings with industry.

AHHA acting chief executive Dr Linc Thurecht said: “The current fee-for-service payment system in pathology is outdated and does not take into account industry efficiencies realised through technological, market and regulatory changes.”

He added the system also fails to pass on efficiency savings to health-consumers and taxpayers.

Thurecht said: “The AHHA would support a pilot being conducted in Victoria to open the provision of pathology services to a competitive tendering process where the government would share some the benefits of improved economies of scale, with Primary Health Networks being closely involved to ensure care coordination at the local level.”

He said any changes to modernise the payment system must come as part of a coordinated response, and be carefully considered and evidence-informed, and added: “With ongoing reform processes underway throughout the health sector, any change must come as part of a coordinated response.”

Click below to hear from Grattan Institute’s health program director Stephen Duckett.

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