AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said today that the AMA would work closely with Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, to simplify Medicare and provide incentives for longer consultations for patients with chronic conditions.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Ms Roxon 'wants to simplify the telephone book-sized Medicare rebate system and reward quality care by doctors'.
Dr Capolingua said that any review of the system must ensure there is an adequate patient rebate to promote longer consultations, but the review must also reject any proposals for fundholding or capped annual budgets for managing patients with chronic conditions.
"Ms Roxon is on the right track with her plans to simplify Medicare," Dr Capolingua said.
"The red tape in the Medicare Schedule is onerous and cuts into the time that doctors can spend with patients.
"The system must be changed to allow doctors to spend more time with patients suffering chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease.
"Medicare must encourage and reward quality care, and the AMA will assist the Health Minister make this a reality."
Dr Capolingua said that the fundholding proposal being put forward by the Australian General Practice Network (AGPN) to support this initiative is all about building a bureaucracy and nothing about improving patient health.
"Capped health budgets work against quality health care," Dr Capolingua said.
"With capped budgets, doctors would face pressures to minimise expenditure on services because when the money runs out, the service runs out. That means that they cannot care for their patients in the way that is needed.
"The AGPN plan would take patient choice of doctor away and compromise quality health care.
"We will urge the Government to reject all fundholding proposals," Dr Capolingua said.
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