Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document

 Download WordDownload Word  Download PDFDownload PDF 


Bill home page
Table Of Contents
Next Fragment
HLA (Health Care Agreements) Bill 1998

Contents

1............ Short title............................................................................................

2............ Commencement..................................................................................

3............ Schedule(s).........................................................................................

Schedule 1—Amendment of the Health Insurance Act 1973, and related matters

Schedule 2—Amendment of the National Health Act 1953, and related matters  

 



This Bill originated in the House of Representatives; and, having this day passed, is now ready for presentation to the Senate for its concurrence.

                         I. C. HARRIS

           Clerk of the House of Representatives

House of Representatives

26 March 1998

 

 

A Bill for an Act to amend the Health Insurance Act 1973 and the National Health Act 1953, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1   Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Health Legislation Amendment (Health Care Agreements) Act 1998 .

2   Commencement

             (1)  Subject to subsections (2) and (3), this Act commences on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

             (2)  Subject to subsection (3), items 2 and 13 of Schedule 1 are to commence on a day to be fixed by Proclamation.

             (3)  If items 2 and 13 of Schedule 1 do not commence under subsection (2) within 12 months after the day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent, they are taken to have been repealed on the first day after the end of that period.

3   Schedule(s )

                   Subject to section 2, each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.



 

   

1  Subsection 3(1) (definition of hospital )

Omit “recognized”, substitute “public”.

2  Subsection 3(1)

Insert:

Information Commissioner means the Health Care Information Commissioner established under Part IIIA.

3  Subsection 3(1) (definition of patient contribution )

Omit “recognized” (wherever occurring), substitute “public”.

4  Subsection 3(1) (definition of private hospital )

Repeal the definition.

5  Subsection 3(1)

Insert:

public hospital means:

                     (a)  a hospital (other than a private hospital or day hospital facility) whose hospital services to public patients are wholly or partly funded by a State; and

                     (b)  any other hospital declared by the Minister, by writing signed by him or her, to be a public hospital for the purposes of this definition.

6  Subsection 3(1) (definition of recognized hospital )

Repeal the definition.

7  Transitional provision

Any reference to a recognized hospital or to a recognised hospital in regulations made for the purposes of the Health Insurance Act 1973 , as those regulations were in force immediately before the day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent, is to be taken, on and after that day, to be a reference to a public hospital as defined for the purposes of that first-mentioned Act.

8  Subsection 3(15)

Omit “recognized”, substitute “public”.

9  Subsection 3(15)

After “includes”, insert “the Australian Capital Territory and”.

10  Subparagraph 16A(5AA)(d)(iii)

Omit “recognised”, substitute “public”.

11  Paragraph 17(1)(a)

Omit “recognized”, substitute “public”.

12  Part III

Repeal the Part, substitute:

Division 1 Preliminary

24   Purpose of Part

                   The purpose of this Part is to provide for:

                     (a)  the Commonwealth to enter into agreements with States concerning the provision, during the 5 years starting on 1 July 1998, of designated health services and related matters; and

                     (b)  the payment of financial assistance to the States in respect of those designated health services and related matters under Division 2; and

                     (c)  the payment of financial assistance to the States or to other persons in respect of health service delivery initiatives that are approved by the Minister under Division 3 during the period referred to in paragraph (a).

Note:          If a State does not enter into an agreement with the Commonwealth before 2 June 1998, the purpose of this Part is modified by the operation of section 28.

25   Definitions

                   In this Part:

agreement means an agreement made under section 26 (including section 26 as varied in the circumstances set out in subsection 28(4)) and includes such an agreement as varied under section 31.

designated health service means:

                     (a)  a health service:

                              (i)  that is provided by a hospital to a patient on an admitted patient basis, whether or not the service, or any part of the service, is actually provided at the hospital; or

                             (ii)  that is not so provided but that is of a kind that was historically so provided; or

                     (b)  a health service (of a kind specified in an agreement as a core service):

                              (i)  that is provided by a hospital to a patient on a non-admitted basis, whether or not the service, or any part of the service, is actually provided at the hospital; or

                             (ii)  that is not so provided but is of a kind that was historically so provided; or

                     (c)  an emergency service (of a kind specified in an agreement as a core emergency service) that is provided by a hospital.

financial assistance means financial assistance payable under an agreement.

Health Care Agreement Principles means principles set out in subsection 29(2).

health service delivery initiative means a project or program approved by the Minister as a health service delivery initiative under Division 3.

State includes the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

Division 2 Agreements with the States for provision of designated health services and related matters from 1 July 1998

26   Entry into agreements

                   The Commonwealth may enter into an agreement with a State concerning:

                     (a)  the provision by the State, during the 5 years starting on 1 July 1998, of designated health services and related matters; and

                     (b)  the provision by the Commonwealth of financial assistance in respect of those services and matters under this Division; and

                     (c)  the provision by the Commonwealth of financial assistance in respect of health service delivery initiatives approved, during the period referred to in paragraph (a), under Division 3 on conditions specified in the agreement or specified by the Minister under section 35; and

                     (d)  if the Health Care Information Commissioner is established under Part IIIA—the means for determining the respective contributions of the Commonwealth and of the States towards the operating expenses of the Commissioner and the time and manner of payment of those contributions.

Note:          The provision of financial assistance referred to in paragraph (c) may involve a requirement for entry into a subsidiary agreement dealing with a particular project or program.

27   Other matters to be dealt with in an agreement

             (1)  Each agreement must set out:

                     (a)  the method of working out the financial assistance referred to in paragraph 26(b) that is payable to a State in respect of a financial year; and

                     (b)  the manner in which, and times at which, such financial assistance will be paid.

             (2)  All financial assistance to a State under this Division is provided on the terms and conditions set out in sections 28, 29 and 30.

             (3)  Each agreement must provide that the Commonwealth may vary or suspend or terminate the financial assistance that would otherwise be payable to a State under this Division:

                     (a)  if a State fails to comply with conditions specified in the agreement or in this Part; or

                     (b)  in accordance with any further agreement between the Commonwealth and the State providing for such a variation.

28   Financial assistance conditional on entry into agreement

             (1)  Financial assistance is payable to a State under this Part in respect of the 5 years starting on 1 July 1998 only if the State has entered into an agreement with the Commonwealth before 2 June 1998.

             (2)  If a State does not enter into an agreement with the Commonwealth before 2 June 1998, the Commonwealth may, in a law providing for the annual appropriation of money in respect of the year starting on 1 July 1998, provide for the payment of financial assistance to the State in respect of that year on such terms and conditions, including terms and conditions requiring adherence by the State to the Health Care Agreement Principles set out in section 29 of this Act, as are determined in writing by the Minister.

             (3)  If a State enters into an agreement with the Commonwealth on or after 2 June 1998 and before 1 July 1999, financial assistance is payable to the State under this Part in respect only of the 4 years starting on 1 July 1999.

             (4)  For the purpose of the application of this Part in circumstances where a State enters into an agreement with the Commonwealth on or after 2 June 1998 and before 1 July 1999, this Part has effect as if each reference to the 5 years starting on 1 July 1998 were a reference to the 4 years starting on 1 July 1999.

29   Financial assistance conditional on adherence to Health Care Agreement Principles

             (1)  Financial assistance is not payable to a State under this Part unless the agreement with the State provides for adherence to the Health Care Agreement Principles.

             (2)  The Health Care Agreement Principles are as follows:

Principle 1

                   Eligible persons are to be given the choice to receive designated health services free of charge as public patients.

Principle 2

                   Access to designated health services by public patients is to be on the basis of clinical need and within a clinically appropriate period.

Principle 3

                   Arrangements are to be in place to ensure equitable access to designated health services for all eligible persons, regardless of their geographic location.

30   Financial assistance conditional on development of a Public Patients’ Charter

             (1)  In this section:

Public Patients’ Charter means a document for the dissemination of information about:

                     (a)  the provision of designated health services; and

                     (b)  the means by which complaints made by eligible persons to a nominated body about the provision of such services can be dealt with.

             (2)  Each agreement must specify:

                     (a)  minimum standards in relation to matters to be dealt with by a Public Patients’ Charter in the State concerned, including matters related to the structure and operation of the body nominated by the Charter to deal with complaints; and

                     (b)  a date by which the State must have in place a Charter that complies with those minimum standards; and

                     (c)  minimum standards for ensuring public access to the Charter.

             (3)  Financial assistance is not payable to a State unless:

                     (a)  the State has, by the specified date referred to in paragraph (2)(b), in place a Public Patients’ Charter that complies with the minimum standards referred to in paragraph (2)(a); and

                     (b)  the State complies with the minimum standards referred to in paragraph (2)(c) in ensuring public access to the Charter.

31   Variation of agreement s

             (1)  An agreement may be varied by agreement, in writing:

                     (a)  by the parties to it; or

                     (b)  on behalf of the parties to it by the Commonwealth and State Ministers for Health.

             (2)  A variation must comply with the conditions in this Part.

             (3)  In this section:

Commonwealth Minister for Health means the Minister for Health and Family Services or any other Commonwealth Minister who administers matters to which this Part and the Agreement relate and includes any other Commonwealth Minister who may be acting for or on behalf of either of those Ministers.

State Minister for Health means the State Minister for Health or any other State Minister who administers, for the State, matters to which this Part and the Agreement relate and includes any other State Minister who may be acting for or on behalf of either of those State Ministers.

32   Tabling of agreement s

                   An agreement must be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after:

                     (a)  1 July 1998; or

                     (b)  the day on which it is made;

whichever last occurs.

Division 3 National Health Development Special Assistance

33   Purpose of assistance

                   Financial assistance may be provided under this Division for the purpose of funding projects and programs that are designed:

                     (a)  to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of, or reduce the demand for, the delivery of designated health services; or

                     (b)  to improve patient outcomes in relation to delivery of such services.

34   Minister’s power to approve initiatives and authorise payment

             (1)  Financial assistance under this Division is to be in the form of payment of amounts by the Commonwealth to a State or States or to other parties.

             (2)  The Minister may authorise payment of specified amounts for the purpose of funding specified projects or programs approved by the Minister under this section as health service delivery initiatives.

             (3)  The Minister may only approve a project or program if the Minister is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the project or program is likely to improve the efficiency or effectiveness of the delivery of, or reduce the demand for, designated health services, or to improve patient outcomes in relation to the delivery of such services; and

                     (b)  the approval of the project or program is consistent with the guidelines under section 36.

35   Conditions for provision of financial assistance

             (1)  If financial assistance under this Division is provided to a State, that financial assistance is provided on the conditions that the State comply with:

                     (a)  the terms and conditions applicable to financial assistance provided under Division 2; and

                     (b)  any additional terms and conditions that the Minister determines, in writing, to be appropriate to the particular financial assistance concerned.

             (2)  The Minister may vary the amount of financial assistance that would otherwise be payable under this Division to a person or body if the Minister is satisfied that the person or body has failed to comply with a condition under which financial assistance of that kind was so paid.

36   The guidelines

             (1)  The Minister may, by written guidelines, specify criteria for approving projects or programs under this Division.

             (2)  Guidelines made under this provision are disallowable instruments for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .

Division 4 Miscellaneous

37   Appropriation

                   An amount of financial assistance referred to in paragraph 26(b) or (c), or an amount of an advance in respect of such financial assistance, is payable out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is appropriated accordingly.

38   Advances

             (1)  The Minister may make advances in respect of amounts that may become payable under this Part as the Minister thinks fit.

             (2)  Advances under subsection (1) may be made subject to such conditions as the Minister determines.

13  Before Part IV

Insert:

Division 1 Preliminary

38A   Definition

                   In this Part:

State has the same meaning as in Part III.

Division 2 Establishment, functions and powers of the Information Commissioner

38B   The Information Commissioner

                   There is established by this Act a Health Care Information Commissioner.

38C   The functions of the Information Commissioner

             (1)  The Information Commissioner is to:

                     (a)  collect and analyse patient level data supplied by the Commonwealth and the States; and

                     (b)  provide reports to the Commonwealth and the States on health service provision; and

                     (c)  disseminate other information to the Commonwealth, a State or any other person if the Information Commissioner considers that it is in the public interest to do so; and

                     (d)  do other things as prescribed in the Agreement entered into between the Commonwealth and the States under Part III; and

                     (e)  do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of any of the above functions.

             (2)  The Information Commissioner must ensure that any report referred to in paragraph (1)(b) and any other information referred to in paragraph (1)(c) do not permit the identification of individual patients.

38D   The powers of the Information Commissioner

             (1)  The Information Commissioner has power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of his or her functions.

             (2)  The powers of the Information Commissioner under this section include, but are not limited to, the power to enter into contracts and agreements.

38E   Secrecy

             (1)  For the purposes of subsection 130(3A) of this Act:

                     (a)  the Information Commissioner is a prescribed authority; and

                     (b)  information is to be treated as information that may, in accordance with the regulations made under this Act, be provided to the Information Commissioner, if it is information relating to medicare benefits.

             (2)  For the purposes of paragraph 135A(3)(b) of the National Health Act 1953 :

                     (a)  the Information Commissioner is a prescribed authority; and

                     (b)  information is to be treated as information that may, in accordance with the regulations made under this Act, be provided to the Information Commissioner, if it is information relating to pharmaceutical benefits.

38F   Regard to Health Ministers’ resolutions

                   The Information Commissioner must have regard to resolutions of the Health Ministers’ Conference when performing functions and exercising powers under this Division.

38G   Use of reports

                   The Information Commissioner’s reports may be used for purposes specified in, and in accordance with, an agreement entered into between the Commonwealth and a State under Part III.

38H   Minister may issue guidelines

             (1)  The Minister may issue guidelines concerning the use and secrecy of any personal information collected by the Information Commissioner in the course of performing the Commissioner’s functions or executing the Commissioner’s powers.

             (2)  The guidelines are disallowable instruments for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

38J   Minister’s direction s

             (1)  The Minister may give written directions to the Information Commissioner in relation to the performance of the Commissioner’s functions or the exercise of the Commissioner’s powers.

             (2)  The Information Commissioner must comply with the directions.

Division 3 Matters relating to the Information Commissioner’s appointment etc.

38K   Appointment of the Information Commissioner

             (1)  The Information Commissioner is to be appointed by the Minister after consultation with State Ministers for Health.

             (2)  The Information Commissioner is to be appointed for a period ending no later than 31 December 2003.

             (3)  The Information Commissioner is to be appointed on a full-time basis or a part-time basis.

38L   Acting appointment

             (1)  The Minister may appoint a person to act as the Information Commissioner:

                     (a)  during a vacancy in the office of the Information Commissioner (whether or not an appointment has previously been made to the office); or

                     (b)  during any period, or during all periods, when the Information Commissioner is absent from duty or from Australia or is, for any other reason, unable to perform the duties of the office.

             (2)  Anything done by or in relation to a person purporting to act under an appointment under this provision is not invalid merely because:

                     (a)  the occasion for the appointment had not arisen; or

                     (b)  there was a defect or irregularity in, or in connection with, the appointment; or

                     (c)  the appointment had ceased to have effect; or

                     (d)  the occasion for the person to act had not arisen or had ceased.

38M   Remuneration

             (1)  The Information Commissioner is to be paid such remuneration as is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.

             (2)  The Information Commissioner is to be paid such allowances as are prescribed.

             (3)  This provision has effect subject to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 .

38N   Disclosure of interest by the Information Commissioner

                   If the Information Commissioner has a material personal interest in a matter that the Commissioner is considering or is about to consider, the Commissioner must give written notice of the interest to the Minister.

38P   Outside employment

             (1)  A person who holds the office of Information Commissioner on a full-time basis must not engage in any paid employment outside the duties of that office without the Minister’s written approval.

             (2)  A person who holds the office of Information Commissioner on a part-time basis must not engage in any paid employment that, in the Minister’s opinion, conflicts with the proper performance of the functions of the Commissioner.

38Q   Leave of absence

             (1)  If a person holds the office of Information Commissioner on a full-time basis, he or she has such recreation leave entitlements as are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.

             (2)  The Minister may grant the Information Commissioner such leave (other than recreation leave in the case of a Commissioner holding office on a full-time basis) on such terms and conditions as the Minister determines in writing.

38R   Resignation

                   The Information Commissioner may resign by writing signed and delivered to the Minister.

38S   Termination of appointment

             (1)  The Minister may terminate the appointment of the Information Commissioner for misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity.

             (2)  The Minister must terminate the Information Commissioner’s appointment if he or she:

                     (a)  becomes bankrupt, applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors, compounds with creditors or makes an assignment of remuneration for their benefit; or

                     (b)  is appointed on a full-time basis and is absent from duty, except on leave of absence, for 14 consecutive days or for 28 days in any 12 months; or

                     (c)  is appointed on a full-time basis and engages, except with the Minister’s approval, in paid employment outside the duties of his or her office; or

                     (d)  is appointed on a part-time basis and engages in paid employment that, in the Minister’s opinion, conflicts with the proper performance of his or her duties as Commissioner.

Division 4 Miscellaneous

38T   Funding of the Information Commissioner

                   An agreement entered into between the Commonwealth and a State under Part III may make provision for the State to make a payment to the Information Commissioner towards the operating expenses of the Commissioner on a basis set out in the agreement.

38U   Staff

             (1)  The staff required for the purposes of this Act are:

                     (a)  persons appointed or employed under the Public Service Act 1922 for the purpose of assisting the Information Commissioner in the performance of functions under this Act; and

                     (b)  persons whose services are made available in accordance with arrangements made under subsection (4); and

                     (c)  persons engaged under subsection (6).

             (2)  The Information Commissioner has all the powers of, or exercisable by, a Secretary under the Public Service Act 1922 so far as those powers relate to the branch of the Australian Public Service comprising the staff referred to in paragraph (1)(a) as if that branch were a separate Department of the Australian Public Service.

             (3)  For the purposes of section 26 of the Public Service Act 1922 , the Information Commissioner is taken to be a Secretary.

             (4)  The Information Commissioner may arrange with the head of a Department or of an authority of the Commonwealth or of a State, for the services of a person who is currently employed in that Department or authority to assist the Commissioner in the performance or functions under this Act.

             (5)  If the services of a person are made available in accordance with an arrangement under subsection (4), the person must perform such duties as are assigned by the Information Commissioner and is, in the performance of those duties, subject to the directions of the Commissioner.

             (6)  The Information Commissioner may engage persons to perform services for the Commissioner otherwise than as persons referred to in paragraph (1)(a) or (b).

             (7)  The terms and conditions of engagement of persons under subsection (6) are as determined by the Information Commissioner.

38V   Delegation

                   The Information Commissioner may delegate all or any of his or her powers and functions to any member of the staff of the Commissioner.

38W   Protection from civil actions

                   Civil proceedings do not lie against the Information Commissioner or any member of the staff of the Commissioner in respect of loss, damage or injury of any kind suffered by another person as a result of any act done or omitted to be done in good faith in the performance of the functions or the exercise of the powers of the Commissioner.

14  Paragraph 130(5A)(c)

Omit “recognised”, substitute “public”.

15  Schedule 2A

Repeal the Schedule.



 

   

1  Section 4

Insert:

private hospital means:

                     (a)  premises that were, immediately before 1 October 1986, a private hospital (within the meaning of the Health Insurance Act 1973 as in force at that time), other than premises in respect of which a declaration under subsection 5C(2), or a declaration referred to in paragraph 5C(8)(b), is in force; and

                     (b)  premises in respect of which a declaration under subsection 5C(1), or a declaration referred to in paragraph 5C(8)(a), is in force.

2  At the end of section 5B

Add:

             (7)  In subsection (3), a reference to the law of the State in which premises are located includes, in relation to premises located in the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory, a reference to the law of that Territory.

3  After section 5B

Insert:

5C   Declarations in relation to private hospitals

             (1)  Subject to subsection (5), the Minister may, in writing, declare specified premises to be a private hospital for the purposes of this Act and the Health Insurance Act 1973 .

             (2)  The Minister may, in writing, declare specified premises that were, immediately before 1 October 1986, a private hospital within the meaning of section 3 of the Health Insurance Act 1973 as in force at that time, not to be a private hospital for the purposes of that Act and this Act.

             (3)  A declaration under subsection (1) may be expressed to take effect from a day earlier than the day on which the declaration is made (other than a day earlier than the day on which the premises specified in the declaration were licensed, under the law of the State or territory in which they are located, to operate as a private hospital).

             (4)  For the purposes of this Act and the Health Insurance Act 1973 , a declared private hospital must provide data specified in the Hospital Casemix Protocol:

                     (a)  in a patient identifiable state, to a registered private health insurance organisation which has an applicable benefits arrangement with the patient; and

                     (b)  in a patient de-identified state to a data bureau established by the Commonwealth for the purpose of receiving and disseminating such data.

             (5)  A decision whether to make a declaration under this section must be in accordance with any guidelines in force under subsection (6).

             (6)  The Minister may, by written instrument, make guidelines relating to the making of such decisions.

             (7)  The guidelines are disallowable instruments for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .

             (8)  For the purposes of this Act and the Health Insurance Act 1973 :

                     (a)  a declaration under subsection 23EA(1) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 and in force immediately before the commencement of this section has effect after that commencement as if it were made under subsection (1) of this section; and

                     (b)  a declaration under subsection 23EA(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 and in force immediately before the commencement of this section has effect after that commencement as if it were made under subsection (2) of this section; and

                     (c)  any guidelines under subsection 23EA(5) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 and in force immediately before the commencement of this section have effect after that commencement as if they were guidelines made under subsection (6) of this section.

             (9)  In subsection (3), a reference to the law of the State in which premises are located includes, in relation to premises located in the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory, a reference to the law of that Territory.

4  Subsection 84(1) (definition of public hospital )

Repeal the definition.

5  Transitional provision

Any reference to a recognized hospital or to a recognised hospital in regulations made for the purposes of the National Health Act 1953 , as those regulations were in force immediately before the day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent, is to be taken, on and after that day, to be a reference to a public hospital as defined for the purposes of the Health Insurance Act 1973 .

6  Subsection 84(1) (definition of public hospital authority )

Repeal the definition, substitute:

public hospital authority , in relation to a public hospital, means the governing body of the hospital.

7  After section 105AA

Insert:

105AAA   Applications for review by Tribunal of decisions under section 5C

                   Application may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of:

                     (a)  a decision by the Minister refusing to make a declaration under subsection 5C(1); or

                     (b)  a decision by the Minister revoking a declaration made under subsection 5C(1); or

                     (c)  a decision by the Minister making a declaration under subsection 5C(2); or

                     (d)  a decision by the Minister revoking a declaration referred to in paragraph 5C(8)(a).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(17/98)