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Joint statement by the Federal and New South Wales Ministers for Health on the HCF threat to discontinue benefits to long stay patients in hospitals



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JOINT STATEMENT BY THE FEDERAL AND NEW SOUTH WALES MINISTERS FOR

HEALTH ON THE HCF THREAT TO DISCONTINUE BENEFITS TO LONG STAY PATIENTS

IN HOSPITALS

The Federal Minister for Health, Mr Ralph Hunt and the New South

Wales Minister for Health, Mr Kevin Stewart, tonight discussed

recent deplorable developments relating to .HCF's decision to renege

on its obligation to pay benefits to long stay patients in hospitals.

Both Ministers agreed that it was essential to ensure that .

benefits be paid by HCF to such patients who are insured by that

health insurance fund. . .

Mr Hunt indicated that both he and his department were examining the

legal implications of HCF's action. '·.

Mr Hunt asked Mr Stewart to provide him with firm evidence that the

HCF had . refused to pay benefits to any long stay patientwhos e _

doctor considered he or she needed continued hospitalisation. .

On receipt of this evidence, prompt action will be taken

under the National Health Act to safeguard the patients who are

contributors to HCF. . ................. ....

Both Ministers recognised that there was a need in some areas for .

the reclassification of the status of long term patients.

This matter has been the subject of negotiations between .

officers of the Federal Department of Health and the Health Commission

of New South Wales, and was discussed at the recent Health Minister’s

Conference. . .

The matter has also been discussed by the Health Insurance Advisory

Committee of which Mr Turner of the HCF is a member. .

Both Ministers agreed that long stay patients contributing to HCF

would not be disadvantaged. . . .

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Mr Hunt and Mr Stewart expressed deep concern at HCF's recent

announcement regarding nursing home patients and its further .

statement on long stay patients in public and private hospitals.. .

Both Ministers regretted that a registered non-profit organisation

with a long history of service to its contributors should take actic

disadvantaging’ aged persons and the chronically ill.

Mr Hunt said he viewed the recent actions of HCF so seriously that

he was giving consideration to using other provisions in existing" ■ ^

legislation to compel the HCF to honour its obligations.

Canberra . '

April 30 1978 . · ' . '