Issue 09 - Medical & Allied Health Services
The bright lights of Christmas are just around the corner and in its shadows 2016, 'the year of constant change'.
What will 2017 bring for the business of private practice?
One thing we can be guaranteed is that something will change. No matter how much we can try to ignore it, a new funding model or review or change to health directions will occur. Here is the menu so far:
- Health Care Homes model-pilot implementation commences
- Medicare freeze- continue to manage through this phase
- PIP consultation-results?
- MBS item review-more results?
- Digital Health Consultation-results?
- My Aged Care and Home Care services changes -ongoing
- Pathology rental rates-impact?
- My Health Record pilots finalised –results-where to now?
- NDIS-phase 2 and 3 for South Australia.
How does a busy private practice respond?
In a recent interview Dr Chris Bollen, Adelaide GP and experienced consultant in health practice improvement, spoke of practices needing to 'adapt or risk failure'. The article covered the growing evidence for the need to measure outcomes, involve patients more in the design of healthcare, and more focus on improvement. You can view the full article here.
Danny Haydon, our Manager of Practice Management Services has been presenting on the topic of "The High Performing Practices", urging health businesses to invest in future success. Improving financial planning and monitoring, measuring financial performance, managing practice brand and image, attracting a quality clinical workforce as ways to ensure future viability.
The financial future of general practice, and allied health practices, is not solely dependent on whether you have a budget and are making a profit. It is about knowing your business intimately so that you can respond to change positively. Your external environment is important to understand as well, in preparation for change, or managing it so it has little impact on your practice.
There is a great deal to think about heading into the new year, however perhaps we could think of it as time to view the private practice business differently. Maybe to be less reliant on Government, and to trust and acknowledge our high quality primary care services in Australia, to promote and build that understanding to value these services and ensure a viable future.
At a recent event we co-hosted with Medfin, we heard many concerns about up coming changes in current systems. This not only requires the patient to navigate these new systems, but also the health practitioners. We plan on bringing more workshops to you in 2017 related to managing your business positively through these changes.
In late November we co-hosted an event with Medfin about managing financially through the Medicare Freeze. GPs and Practice Managers from metro and rural practices gathered to view a presentation of strategies, financial tools and resources specifically designed for general practice.
Attendees generated much discussion and their thoughts on remaining viable through this time. Questions regarding setting co-payments, decreasing bulk billing and managing patient response were particularly highlighted.
We also asked of participants what "keeps them awake at night" and this topic list will be a reference for future events in continuing to support medical and allied health services continue to grow and manage through challenging times.
If you would like to discuss your specific needs in managing through the freeze, please contact Danny Haydon or Shali Manolev.
Brentnalls SA had the great pleasure to be invited to present a workshop at the recent Services to Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) Conference held in Port Lincoln. Danny Haydon presented on business planning and good financial management strategies as allied health professionals navigate the new NDIS, MBS item number freeze, and new aged care models.
The workshop was extremely well received by this national audience and they were able to take away a workshop booklet to guide the implementation of their strategies and ideas developed during the session. If you are a rural and remote practitioner interested in SARRAH, visit their website here.
We are pleased to launch our new webpage for our medical and allied health services division. This ever expanding space, the health industry, has also required us to expand how we support medical and allied health businesses. So have a look at our new webpage and meet our team.
The Rural General Practice Grants are now open, closing on 13th December, full details and to register your expression of interest can be found here. This new program has removed some of the barriers that restricted the take up of the original (RRTIG) grant program.
These Grants can provide an opportunity to:
1. Obtain up to $300,000 to expand / upgrade your practice *
2. Generate additional revenue from increased number of students / registrars
3. Increase the probability of attracting / retaining staff due to modern and comfortable working environment.
*Applicants are required to match the Commonwealth funding contribution.
General practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) across all of SA are invited to apply for stage one of the Health Care Homes HCH). Applications close on 15th December (NOW EXTENDED - 22 DECEMBER 2016).
Our Manager of Practice Management Services, Danny Haydon is presenting at an Australian Medical Placements (AMPHEaT) event on 8th December about the HCH Model, how the proposed funding model can be managed in general practice and more details on implementation.
We will be sharing with you more information about managing this new funding model in the coming year to support those involved in the pilot. Other information about the implementation of Health Care Home model, including a Fact Sheet on the how payments will be made, is available on the Department of Health's website.
The consultation with stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed re-design of the Practice Incentive Payments (PIP) closed on 30 November.
Four incentive payments which have already undergone reform, will remain, this includes:
- Rural loading, which recognises the difficulties in working in rural and remote areas;
- After hours incentive, introduced 1 July 2015;
- Teaching payments, provided to general practices who participate in teaching the future workforce;
- The eHealth incentive, recently reformed.
The idea behind the redesign is about introducing a new Quality Improvement Incentive. This is aimed at giving general practices increased flexibility to improve their detection and management of a range of chronic conditions, and to focus on issues specific to their practice population.
We expect a result of the consultation and future recommendations to be released early in the new year. For more information visit the Department of Health's website here.
The trend to co-locate with medical practices by large pathology companies significantly increased since the deregulation of pathology collection centres in 2010. This movement has added convenience for patients to access a pathology collection centre co-located with their medical practice, rather than going elsewhere. This 'convenience' co-location then enabled the pathology company to generate significant additional business and income.
As a pre-election promise the Government committed to provide a level of protection for pathology companies over rental rates for collection centres, with the intention to bring in legislation to enact this.
Multiple issues arise if this intervention is implemented, adding pressure to an already pressured sector. The likelihood of a decrease in pathology rental incomes will erode practice profits and increase pressure to pass the additional cost to patients. It may see some practices terminate arrangements to seek other tenants, while other practices may have to close. Re-regulating would also lead to increased red-tape and compliance costs for both sectors.
Consultation with key stakeholders by the Government currently continues. The Australian Association of Practice Management has published a position paper on this issue, which can be downloaded here.
In 2017 the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be further expanded in South Australia. As of 1 January young people aged 15-17 years old will be able to access the Scheme, then as of 1 July 2017 through to 30 June 2018 it will capture all adults (18-64 years). For all the information visit the SA page here.
Congratulations To Danny Haydon
We congratulate Danny Haydon, our Manager, Practice Management Services, on his re-appointment as National President of Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM) for a second term.
AAPM represents practice managers, business managers, service managers, CEOs and principals – the key-decision makers in a practice - www.aapm.org.au
The Role Of Practice Manager Being Change Agent
Avant and AAPM have collaborated on developing a discussion paper that explores what is required for the Practice Management profession and individual Practice Managers to maximise opportunities to drive and lead change in the practices in which they work.
The discussion paper aims to stimulate dialogue and action on the role of the practice manager in the trans-formation of healthcare practice in Australia. View the paper here.
For more information please visit www.apna.asn.au/onlinelearning
APNA Education Calendar (Events Search)