Balneus

Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Hospital Productivity Inquiry

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-06-24


The Productivity Commission has an inquiry open for public submissions until 2009-07-17 on the relative performance of public and commercialprivate hospitals.

The terms of reference include:

… relative performance of the public and private hospital systems, and related data issues. As part of its study, the Commission should consider:

  1. comparative hospital and medical costs for clinically similar procedures performed by public and private hospitals, using baseline data to be provided by states and territories under the new National Healthcare Agreement, and existing data provided to the Government by private hospitals. The analysis is to take into account the costs of capital, FBT exemptions and other relevant factors.
     
  2. the rate of hospital-acquired infections, by type, reported by public and private hospitals, using baseline data to be provided by states and territories under the new National Healthcare Agreement, and existing data provided to the Government by private hospitals.
     
  3. rates of fully informed financial consent for privately insured patients treated as private patients in both public and private hospitals, categorised by type of provider (that is, public hospital, private hospital, medical practitioner [by Speciality]), and by Statistical Local Area (SLA) or equivalent, including:
    • the average cost of out of pocket expenses for patients who do not receive enough financial information from the provider to give fully informed financial consent, the range of these costs and the maximum out of pocket cost incurred by in-hospital patients categorised by type of provider (as detailed above).
    • best practice examples where fully informed financial consent is provided for every procedure, (with a specific emphasis on any best practice examples occurring in specialties where lack of fully informed financial consent is most common).
    • other relevant performance indicators, including the ability of such indicators to inform comparisons of hospital performance and efficiency.
  4. If any of the foregoing tasks prove not fully possible because of conceptual problems and data limitations, the Commission should propose any developments that would improve the feasibility of future comparisons.

The Commission will also provide advice to the Government on the most appropriate indexation factor for the Medicare Levy Surcharge thresholds.

I’m wondering why there was no consideration of the "efficiencies" private hospitals have by having the option to transfer patients to public hospitals when the going gets tough, so they can spend less on the big-ticket capital investment items.

For example, how many private hospitals have serious spinal injury and rehabilitation units?

And why must the cover sheet be provided in a proprietary (Microsoft) format when it would be just as easy to provide one in good old HTML.  I wouldn’t be the least bit sad if the commission got those back infected with some evil macro virus that Microsoft Office products are prone to!


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