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Tuesday, 6 March 1984
Page: 505

(Question No. 367)

Senator Colston asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 15 September 1983:

Does the Department of Health accept a reverse charge telephone call after country nursing homes have been telephoned by STD or by way of a booked call in relation to information required by the Department and where the nursing home personnel are obliged to return the call with the information required.

Senator Grimes —The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

No policy has been laid down with respect to this matter and so the practice varies between States. However, the costs of such telephone calls are recognised by my Department as costs incurred in providing nursing home care.

In the case of nursing homes approved under the National Health Act, the cost is therefore reflected in the approved fees and the Commonwealth benefits rates are determined having regard to the levels of these fees. In the case of deficit financed nursing homes, the cost is taken into account in calculating the approved budgeted deficit which is met by the Commonwealth.