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Assurance from AMA on most common fees

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. The Commonwealth Minister for Health, Dr. A.J. Forbes,

announced today that he had received from the Australian Medical .

Association a written assurance that it would make every endeavour

to advise and request doctors to observe most common medical fees. *

Dr. Forbes said he had sought this assurance from the .

A.M.A. because adherence by doctors to an agreed list of most

common fees was the vital element in the plan to reconstruct the

medical benefits scheme.

"The A.M.A. has acknowledged that patient satisfaction

can only be assured by a system in which benefit entitlements are

related to common fees which are known to the public and generally

observed by doctors", Dr. Forbes said.

"I appreciate that the A.M.A. cannot set the fees its

members charge but I am confident that the great majority of

practising doctors will support the common fee system".

D r . Forbes said negotiations with the A.M.A. on most common

fees for the some 1,200 medical services for which Commonwealth and

health fund benefits would be paid were nearing completion. The

most important aspect of the negotiations still to be finalised

was the question of differential payments for specialist doctors’

services. Computer studies were being made of information supplied

to the A.M.A. by its members on this question. When these

negotiations were completed the next step would be amendment of the

National Health Act to give effect to the new tables of medical

benefits. .

Dr. Forbes said that when the common fee system was introduced

studies would be made of accounts submitted with claims for medical

benefits to determine the level of observance of the system.

2 .

"The Government will be contributing $16 million in the

next financial year towards reducing the gap between medical

benefits and actual medical fees and the public will be paying

increased health insurance contributions. The common fee system

must be made to work for the benefit of the patient and the

Government's objective is that the extra money going into the

system will in fact reduce the gap between benefits and

fees". Dr. Forbes said.

Canberra, _L5— Be-crember , — - 1969- DEPARTMENTAL NOj 48

rt6 DEC 1%9