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Productivity Commission validates Private Hospitals' concerns

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Private Hospitals Association Limited

EMBARGOED UNTIL 1:00am, Tuesday 7 December, 1999

PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION VALIDATES PRIVATE HOSPITALS’ CONCERNS > Po/uxufcl A Productivity Commission Research Paper released today has validated a number of key concerns held by private hospitals, according to the Australian Private Hospitals Association.

APHA Executive Director, Mr Ian Chalmers, said the report was a valuable contribution to broader community understanding of the significant role and contribution played by Australia’s private hospitals.

“The Productivity Commission Report clearly highlights the vital role of private hospitals in providing efficient and high quality services including an increasing range of complex and advanced procedures,” Mr Chalmers said.

“More importantly, the Commission has identified the validity of industry concerns in relation to the power imbalance that exists in the contracting framework between private hospitals and health funds.

“We concur with the Commission’s suggestion that there is a case to be made for implementing a code of conduct to cover negotiations between hospitals and health funds. Indeed, development of a draft code is now well advanced.

“The Commission also suggests removal of the legislative prohibition, on independent hospitals, from sharing information in relation to health fund contracts. The report identifies cost savings and hospital performance improvements as possible outcomes of such legislative modifications.

“The private hospitals industry has been advocating these changes for several years. We are pleased that an independent agency has validated our view that modifying the framework for contracting between hospitals and health funds should result in improved outcomes for consumers.

“APHA will continue to pursue these issues with the government.”

For further information contact:

Ian Chalmers 0411 409 364 (mob)

APHA Executive Director

Michael Roff APHA Public Affairs Manager

0413 317 550 (mob)