Save Search

Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Health Practitioner Regulation (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010

Bill home page  


Download WordDownload Word


Download PDFDownload PDF

 

 

 

 

 

2008 - 2009 - 2010

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

HEALTH PRACTITIONER REGULATION (CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS)

AMENDMENT BILL 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

Amendments to be Moved on Behalf of the Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Health and Ageing,

the Hon Nicola Roxon MP)





HEALTH PRACTITIONER REGULATION (CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS) AMENDMENT BILL 2010

 

OUTLINE

 

Under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professions (the Scheme), national arrangements for the registration and accreditation of health professionals will be implemented by states and territories adopting the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (Qld) (the National Law) as a law of their jurisdiction. 

 

The Commonwealth is not required to adopt the National Law.  However, consequential amendments to Commonwealth legislation to recognise and support the implementation of the Scheme are required.  On 24 February 2010, the Health Practitioner Regulation (Consequential Amendments) Bill (the Bill) was introduced into the House of Representatives. The Bill amends the Health Insurance Act 1973 (the Act) and the Crimes Act 1914 .

 

On 25 February 2010, the Senate Selection of Bills Committee referred the Bill to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for Inquiry (the Inquiry), to report by 11 May 2010. The Committee is to consider the implications of the Bill for healthcare providers.

 

Amendments to the Bill are proposed for to address stakeholder concerns raised in submissions to the Inquiry to:

(a)         clarify the purpose of the regulation making power relating to recognition as a consultant physician or specialist for the purpose of Medicare;

(b)         extend the scope of sections 19C, 19CB and 19DA of the Act to apply these provisions to all categories of registered health professionals; and

(c)         amend the definition of ‘nursing care’ to clarify that nursing care may only be provided by or under the supervision of a registered nurse (Division 1).

 

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

Nil

 

 



HEALTH PRACTITIONER REGULATION (CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS) AMENDMENTS BILL 2010

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Amendment (1)

 

The Bill currently repeals the definition of ‘consultant physician’ in subsection 3(1) of the Act and inserts a new definition.

 

The new definition provides that a medical practitioner will be a consultant physician in relation to a particular specialty if:

(i) he or she is registered in that specialty under a law of a state or territory;

(ii) the specialty is prescribed in regulations made under the Act; and

(iii) he or she satisfies any other requirements prescribed by regulations in relation to the specialty.

 

Amendment (1) amends paragraph (iii) of this definition to c larify that this regulation making power is to create a mechanism to distinguish between practitioners who can be both specialists or consultant physicians in relation to a particular speciality, for the purposes of Medicare.

 

Amendment (2)

The Bill currently deletes ‘registered’ form the definition of ‘nursing care’, so the definition would be ‘nursing care given by or under the supervision of a nurse’. Amendment (2) amends the definition of ‘nursing care’ so that the definition would be ‘nursing care given by or under the supervision of a nurse who is covered by paragraph (a) of the definition of nurse’. This is intended to clarify that nursing care may only be done by or under the supervision of registered nurses, being those persons who are now covered by paragraph (a) of the definition of ‘nurse’. This reflects the clinical practice of the nursing profession where enrolled nurses work under the supervision of registered nurses.

 

Amendment (3)

The Bill currently repeals the definition of ‘specialist’ in subsection 3(1) of the Act and inserts a new definition.

 

The new definition provides that a medical practitioner will be a specialist in relation to a particular specialty if:

(i) he or she is registered in that specialty under a law of a state or territory;

(ii) the specialty is prescribed in regulations made under the Act; and

(iii) he or she satisfies any other requirements prescribed by regulations in relation to the specialty.

 

Amendment (3) amends paragraph (iii) of this definition to c larify that this regulation making power is to create a mechanism to distinguish between practitioners who can be both specialists or consultant physicians in relation to a particular speciality, for the purposes of Medicare.

 

 

 

Amendments (4) to (9)

Sections 19C, 19CB and 19DA of the Act currently only apply to medical practitioners.  Although the Bill makes minor amendments to these provisions, these amendments simply modernise the language and do not affect the scope of the provisions. In recent years an increasing range of health professionals, such as psychologists, speech pathologists and chiropractors have become able to provide Medicare eligible services. However, these health professionals are not currently subject to sections 19C, 19CB and 19DA of the Act.

Amendments (4) to (9) widen the scope of sections 19C, 19CB and 19DA of the Act so they apply to all health professionals registered under a state or territory law who render Medicare eligible services.

 

·            Amendment (4)

Section 19C of the Act prohibits the payment of Medicare benefits for a service provided by a medical practitioner where that service is beyond the scope of the practitioner’s registration, that is, the service is not authorised under the practitioner’s registration or not authorised to be provided in the circumstances in which it was provided.

 

Amendment (4) repeals subsection 19C(2) and inserts two new definitions: ‘practitioner’ and ‘practitioner’s registration’. The proposed definition of practitioner has the effect of widening the scope of section 19C to apply not just to medical practitioners but also to all health professionals that are registered under a state or territory law and who provide Medicare eligible services.

 

The new definition of ‘practitioner’s registration’ is a consequential amendment as a result of the new categories of health professionals to whom section 19C applies.

 

The note removes the word ‘medical’ from the heading of the section.

 

 

·            Amendments (5) and (6)  

These amendments omit ‘medical’ from paragraphs 19C(3)(a) and 19C(4)(a) respectively. These are consequential amendments as a result of the widening of the application of the provisions to health professionals other than medical practitioners.

 

 

·            Amendments (7) and (8)

 

Section 19CB imposes a penalty on a medical practitioner who fails to comply with a direction given by the Minister to notify his or her patients that Medicare benefits will not be payable for a service which is provided beyond the scope of his or her registration. 

 

These amendments expand the application of section 19CB to health professionals other than medical practitioners. Amendment (7) inserts a new subsection (1A) to section 19CB to define ‘practitioner’ and ‘practitioner’s registration’ for the purposes of this section. These terms have the same meaning as in section 19C. Amendment (8) is a technical change consequential to the expansion of the scope of section 19CB.

 

The note removes the word ‘medical’ from the heading of the section.

 

·            Amendment (9)

 

Section 19DA prohibits a medical practitioner whose registration is suspended or cancelled from providing a service unless the practitioner first informs his or her patient that Medicare benefits will not be payable for the service.  A penalty is imposed on practitioners who fail to comply with this provision.

 

The Bill currently replaces the definition of ‘deregistered practitioner’ in subsection 19DA(1). It provides that a deregistered practitioner is a person who was registered under a law of state or territory as a medical practitioner but who is not currently so registered. Amendment (9) provides a new definition of ‘deregistered practitioner’, being a person who was registered under a law of state or territory as a practitioner but who is not currently so registered. Practitioner has the same meaning as in section 19C.