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BUDGET: Key measures for nursing


  • Medicare Benefits Schedule – pause on rebate indexation extended
    The government will achieve savings of $925.3 million over two years from July 1, 2018 by extending the pause on indexation of Medicare Benefits Schedule fees for all services provided by general practitioners, medical specialists, allied health and other health practitioners until 30 June 2020.
  • Healthier Medicare – trial of healthcare homes
    The government will provide $21.3 million over four years from 2015‑16 to trial the Health Care Homes model of coordinated primary health care, which was recommended by the Primary Health Care Advisory Group's Report — Better Outcomes for People with Chronic and Complex Health Conditions. The trial will support eligible primary care providers to deliver coordinated care, management and support to approximately 65,000 voluntary participants with chronic and complex conditions. Funding will be provided to health care practitioners by redirecting fee for service payments for Chronic Disease Management Medicare items for participating patients. An evaluation of the impact of the pilot on improving participant health outcomes and reducing avoidable hospitalisations will be considered in 2018.
  • National Cancer Screening Register
    The government will provide $178.3 million over five years from 2015‑16 to develop a National Cancer Screening Register to replace current State and Territory registers for theNational Cervical Screening Program and the current register for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. Funding of $148.4 million for this measure has already been provided for by the government. This measure builds on the 2014‑15 Budget measure titled Full implementation of National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme and the 2015‑16 Budget measure titled National Cervical Screening Programme — reform.
  • National Immunisation Program – new and amended listings
    The government will list FluQuadri® as an alternative vaccine for seasonal influenza on theNational Immunisation Program (NIP) from 6 May 2016. The government will also amend the existing listing for Cervarix®, a vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer. These changes will have no financial impact, as both vaccines are alternatives to vaccines already listed on the NIP.
  • National Partnership Agreement on Specified Projects – addressing blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections
    The government will provide $4.5 million over four years from 2016‑17 to the Queensland Government to continue funding for primary healthcare staff and healthcare workers to reduce the risks and prevalence of blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections on Saibai Island, and to expand current activities to the rest of the Torres Strait region. The funding will be provided through a National Partnership Agreement. The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Health.
  • Perinatal Depression Online Support
    The government will provide $0.8 million over two years from 2015‑16 to develop online support resources for women who are experiencing, or are at risk of developing, perinatal depression. The cost of this measure and for the ongoing management of the online support tools will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Health.
  •  Public Hospitals – new funding arrangements
    The government will provide up to $2.9 billion over the forward estimates in additional funding to the states and territories (the states) for public hospitals. On 1 April 2016, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to retain key features of Activity Based Funding (ABF), including the National Efficient Price (NEP), with the Commonwealth agreeing to fund 45 per cent of the growth in hospital services based on the NEP for three years from 2017‑18. Growth in the government's contribution will be capped at 6.5 per cent a year over this period.
    The Commonwealth will also work with the states to implement reforms to improve the safety and quality of public hospital services and to reduce avoidable hospitalisations for patients. The states will also work with the government on trials of the Commonwealth's Health Care Homes model of coordinated primary health care for patients with multiple chronic conditions.
    As part of the commitment to retain the ABF, the government will provide $8.5 million over three years from 2017‑18 to continue the operation of the Administrator of the National Health Funding Pool and the National Health Funding Body.
    This measure will revise the changes to public hospital funding that were announced in the 2014‑15 Budget measure titled ‘Commonwealth Public Hospitals — change to funding arrangements’. The government will also provide additional funding to Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, and to other states on a case by case basis, to ensure that they will receive no less than they would have under the 2014‑15 measure.

See more on Nursing Review's budget coverage including industry reaction here.

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