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Budget 2007: Improving Medicare and hearing services.
MEDIA RELEASE Minister for Health and Ageing
Tony Abbott MHR
8 May 2007 ABB 50/07
IMPROVING MEDICARE AND HEARING SERVICES
The Commonwealth Government will invest $947.1 million over four years to tackle the growing burden of chronic disease in the community, and improve the delivery of health and medical services to those people most in need.
This Budget increases access to doctors, services and technology with a particular focus on our community’s most vulnerable members such as the chronically ill.
The package of new funding measures includes:
- $291.3 million to improve the quality of care for patients with, chronic medical conditions;
- $377.6 million to help people with chronic medical conditions whose oral health is impacting, or is likely to impact upon their chronic medical condition, through changes to Medicare;
- $70.7 million for improved access to hearing services particularly among the elderly;
- $94.1 million over five years for new and revised Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) items;
- $71.8 million to improve after-hours GP care;
- $16.4 million for three new Medicare-eligible Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) units in geographic areas of need; and
- $12.2 million over four years to extend the program of assistance for survivors of torture and trauma.
ï¿» Chronic and complex conditions - supporting patient care
Patients with chronic and complex conditions will receive better care under a $291.3 million national initiative to make consultant physician services more accessible and affordable.
The Government will provide funding for new Medicare items to recognise the additional time involved in consultant physician services for treating patients with chronic and complex illnesses.
Supporting longer consultations will enable patients with multiple medical problems to receive comprehensive care in the one session, improving their health outcomes.
The Medicare items will also encourage new medical graduates to undertake training in the non-procedural specialities.
Rural patients will benefit as the new items will make private practice in rural areas more viable.
A total of $57.0 million will be spent on other continuing measures to address chronic disease including:
- $22.4 million will be invested to continue the Sharing Health Care Initiative to help patients better manage chronic medical conditions. To date, through more than 20 projects, many thousands of Australians with chronic illness have been helped; and
- A total of $34.6 million will be spent over four years to allow an additional 800 general practices to participate in the Australian Primary Care Collaboratives program to better treat and assist people with, or at risk of, chronic disease.