A major new report from Catholic Health Australia calls on the Commonwealth Government to unlock funding to allow more Australians to be treated at home.
The report, Out of Hospital Care in Australia – Advancing Health’s Missing Sector, finds current funding mechanisms prevent many private health patients from accessing hospital level care in their home for services such as renal dialysis, mental health, post-natal services, palliative care, and chemotherapy.
The report’s authors say there is demand for more out of hospital care and it would present a better option for many patients. But, any increase in OOH services must not come at the expense of standards of care.
“Far too many people are going into hospital every year for care that could be delivered in the comfort of their own home,” says James Kemp, CHA’s director of health policy.
“High quality care can be delivered safely and effectively at home. We just need the private health insurance industry and the government to work cooperatively on reform that will allow more people to enjoy the benefits.
“However, it’s essential that out of hospital care does not turn into the poor cousin of in-hospital care. We need patients to be able to trust that the care they receive is the same as in-hospital care, and for this we need national standards on out of hospital care and to track the care provided.”
The report says changes to the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 are needed in order to shift more patients to out of hospital care, as current laws require complex individual contacts between the insurer and the hospital. Private health insurers are also prohibited from funding out of hospital services to non-admitted patients.
Catholic hospitals push for health reform to unlock funds to enable more treatment in the home (Catholic Health Australia)