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Health Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2001
Schedule 2 Amendment of the Health Insurance Act 1973

Part 1 Recognition of specialists

1  Subsection 3(1) (definition of specialist )

Omit “3D”, substitute “3DB”.

2  Subsection 3(1) (at the end of the definition of specialist )

Add “, or a medical practitioner who is taken to be so recognised under section 3D”.

3  Section 3D

Repeal the section, substitute:

3D   Recognition as specialists of members of certain organisations on advice from the organisation

             (1)  A medical practitioner is taken to be recognised as a specialist in a particular specialty, for the purposes of this Act, if a relevant organisation in relation to the specialty gives the Managing Director of the Commission written notice stating that the medical practitioner meets the criteria for the specialty (see subsection (2)).

             (2)  A medical practitioner meets the criteria for a specialty if the medical practitioner:

                     (a)  is domiciled in Australia; and

                     (b)  is a fellow of a relevant organisation in relation to the specialty; and

                     (c)  has obtained, as a result of successfully completing an appropriate course of study, a relevant qualification in relation to the relevant organisation.

             (3)  The Managing Director of the Commission must notify the medical practitioner as soon as reasonably practicable of his or her recognition as a specialist in the specialty.

             (4)  This section does not limit section 3DB.

             (5)  In this section:

relevant organisation , in relation to a specialty, means an organisation declared by the regulations to be a professional organisation in relation to the specialty.

relevant qualification , in relation to a relevant organisation, means a qualification declared by the regulations to be a relevant qualification in relation to the relevant organisation.

3DA   Period of section 3D recognition

             (1)  The recognition of a medical practitioner as a specialist in a particular specialty under subsection 3D(1) has effect, or is taken to have had effect, on and from the day specified in the notice given to the medical practitioner under subsection 3D(3).

             (2)  The day specified may be before the day on which the notice is given, but must not be before the day specified by the relevant organisation to be the day on which the medical practitioner first met the criteria for the specialty.

             (3)  The recognition of a medical practitioner as a specialist in a specialty under subsection 3D(1) ceases if:

                     (a)  a relevant organisation in relation to the specialty gives the Managing Director of the Commission written notice stating that the medical practitioner no longer meets the criteria for the specialty, or has ceased to practise medicine in Australia; or

                     (b)  the medical practitioner requests that he or she cease to be so recognised.

3DB   Alternative method of recognition as a specialist

             (1)  A medical practitioner may apply to the Minister for a determination that the medical practitioner is a specialist in a particular specialty if:

                     (a)  the medical practitioner is domiciled in Australia; and

                     (b)  the medical practitioner is registered under a law of a State or Territory as a specialist in a particular specialty.

             (2)  A medical practitioner may also apply to the Minister for a determination that the medical practitioner is a specialist in a particular specialty if the medical practitioner meets the criteria for the specialty, within the meaning of subsection 3D(2).

             (3)  An application under subsection (1) or (2) must be:

                     (a)  in writing; and

                     (b)  accompanied by the prescribed fee.

             (4)  After receiving such an application, the Minister must:

                     (a)  determine that the medical practitioner be recognised for the purposes of this Act as a specialist in the specialty; or

                     (b)  under subsection 61(1), refer the question whether the medical practitioner should be so recognised to the appropriate Specialist Recognition Advisory Committee;

and must notify the medical practitioner concerned, in writing, accordingly.

             (5)  In this section:

appropriate Specialist Recognition Advisory Committee , in relation to a medical practitioner, means the Specialist Recognition Advisory Committee established for the State or Territory in which the medical practitioner is domiciled.

3DC   Period of effect of determination

             (1)  A determination under paragraph 3DB(4)(a) that a medical practitioner is recognised as a specialist in a particular specialty has effect, or is taken to have had effect, on and from the day specified in the determination.

             (2)  The day specified may be before the day on which the determination is made.

             (3)  The determination ceases to have effect if:

                     (a)  the medical practitioner ceases to be domiciled in Australia; or

                     (b)  the medical practitioner ceases to practise medicine in Australia.

             (4)  The Minister must revoke the determination if the medical practitioner requests that the Minister do so.

4  Section 51

Repeal the section.

5  Subsection 61(1B)

Omit “subsection 3D(1)”, substitute “section 3DB”.

6  Transitional—regulations

(1)        Regulations that were in force immediately before the commencement of this item for the purposes of subparagraph 3D(1)(a)(i) or (ii) of the old HI Act have effect, after the commencement of this item, as if they had been made for the purposes of the definition of relevant organisation or relevant qualification , as the case requires, under subsection 3D(5) of the new HI Act.

(2)        Regulations that were in force immediately before the commencement of this item and that prescribed a fee for the purposes of subsection 3D(1) of the old HI Act have effect, after the commencement of this item, as if they had been made for the purposes of paragraph 3DB(3)(b).

(3)        This item does not prevent the amendment or repeal of the Health Insurance Regulations by regulations made under the new HI Act.

(4)        In this item:

new HI Act means the Health Insurance Act 1973 as in force after the commencement of this item.

old HI Act means the Health Insurance Act 1973 as in force immediately before the commencement of this item.



 

Part 2 Pay doctor via claimant cheques

7  At the end of section 20

Add:

             (3)  If:

                     (a)  a cheque for an amount of a medicare benefit payable in respect of a professional service is given or sent under subsection (2) at the request of the person to whom the medicare benefit is payable; and

                     (b)  the professional service was rendered by or on behalf of a general practitioner; and

                     (c)  the cheque is not presented for payment during the period of 90 days beginning on the day on which the cheque was given or sent under that subsection;

the Commission may pay to the general practitioner by whom, or on whose behalf, the professional service was rendered an amount equal to the amount of the medicare benefit.

             (4)  If the Commission pays an amount under subsection (3) to a general practitioner by whom, or on whose behalf, a professional service was rendered, then:

                     (a)  the request under subsection (2), by the person to whom the medicare benefit concerned is payable, to give or send a cheque for the amount of the medicare benefit is taken to have been withdrawn; and

                     (b)  the person may not subsequently make a request under subsection (2) in respect of that medicare benefit.

             (5)  Without limiting subsection (3), an amount may be paid under that subsection by means of electronic transmission of the amount to an account kept with a bank, in such circumstances, and subject to such conditions, as are prescribed by the regulations.

8  Application

The amendment made by item 7 of this Schedule applies to cheques given or sent under subsection 20(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 after:

                     (a)  1 July 2001; or

                     (b)  if the day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent is after 1 July 2001—that day.