WA News Have You Heard?
Have You Heard
February 2017
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201702-Dr-Rosemary-Quinlivan Jan17Mt Claremont GP Dr Rosemary Quinlivan, above, has been preparing for her third solo crossing in the annual Rottnest Channel Swim, which splashes down at Cottesloe Beach on February 25. Her cheer squad is a band of doctors, two of whom were in her year group at the UWA medical school. Mandurah GP Dr Tony Tropiano is skipper of her support boat alongside his son, Mike, and Rosemary’s daughter, dermatology registrar Dr Louise O’Halloran, herself a veteran of the swim, will be paddling. On dry land but very much involved is Dr Pam Hendry who approached her friend Rosemary to swim on behalf of the Ladybird Foundation, of which Pam is a founder. Funds raised by Rosemary’s swim will go to the ROLLIS (Radio-guided Occult Lesion Localisation using Iodine 125 Seeds) breast cancer clinical trial after the trial’s co-lead, Prof Christobel Saunders, asked the foundation for urgent funds to hire a Clinical Trial Coordinator to see the project to its completion. Pam said that donations can be made on Rosemary’s supporter page https://rottnestswim2017.everydayhero.com/au/rosemary-o-halloran-solo-rottnest-chanel-swim-for-ladybird-f
Picture by Jay Campi
Peel stays with Ramsay

The WA Government has extended Ramsay’s operating contract for the Peel Health campus for a further five years. The announcement was made a year before the current contract had expired. Minister John Day said the extension secured the service and allowed time for forward planning. The new competitive pricing contract brings Peel in line with other Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), namely with St John of God Midland Public Hospital, which signed an initial 20-year contract with the government. Since the announcement, the government has committed an extra $1.9m to clear the backlog of public elective surgeries at Peel. Going by media reports, it will need all that in the ENT area alone.

AAPM weighs in on rentals

The Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM) released a position statement last October in response to the Federal Government’s intentions to reverse its 2010 decision and control collecting centre rental arrangements between pathology providers and co-located medical centres (see GP Trends, P17). Interference with free market negotiations, unsustainable regulation and red tape with disproportionate benefits to a few large corporations that owned medical practices were among its grievances. AAPM, with 60% of its membership from GP practices, let it be known that the sustainability of many general practices was now dependent on cash flow from rental arrangements. It said that mainly larger pathology companies had chosen to co-locate with medical practices, out-competing others and increasing their market share. The proposed rule changes sought to advantage them further. The controversial deal between the government and Pathology Australia was struck in the heat of last year’s federal election campaign – effectively buying PA’s silence over the bulk billing policies. A free market? Patient advantage is behind competition over patient fees and onsite pathology collection centres. APPM said it had not seen evidence that high rents were acting as an inducement for doctors to increase pathology referrals.

Hippy, hippy shake

When it comes to judging patient outcomes, you could do worse than line up a team with hip replacements and pit them against a team with knee replacements on a hockey pitch. Just before Christmas, the Australian Orthopaedic Association did just that at an event at the Perth Hockey Stadium to mark the AOA’s 80th anniversary. It was the brainchild of Simon Thomson, the president of Western Hockey Masters, when he realised the growing number of players wanting to play after their various joint replacement surgeries. So 27 players over the age of 50 (average age of 69) with at least one knee or hip replaced took to the field in a battle of the prosthetics. For the record, the Hip team won 3-1 and local AOA representative Dr Greg Witherow presented it with the Hip-Knee trophy.

Fees, fees and more fees

As the clock ticks down to February 27 and the new era of consumer directed care in the aged care sector begins, the pointy end of CDC – funds – are in the sights of service providers and the legal eagles. Panetta McGrath lawyers issued a statement over exit fees, which providers have the option of charging if a consumer decides to move their funds to another service provider (the essence of the reforms). Enore Panetta gives this advice to providers regarding exit fees. 1. Providers must notify DSS of the maximum fee, which will be published on the My Aged Care website; 2. The agreement signed with the consumer must set out the maximum exit fee; 3. The provider must notify the consumer within 56 days of termination of the exit fee deducted from unspent funds; 4. The fee cannot be more than the consumer’s unspent funds. The devil is always in the detail.

Compulsory rehab on the cards

In December, the WA Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell announced a consultation process over draft legislation that would make it compulsory for some people with severe alcohol or drug addiction to undergo treatment for 12 weeks and voluntary residential rehab for a further nine months. It sounds a measured response to the chaos drugs such as methamphetamine and alcohol are causing in the community. The process for the Exposure Draft Bill closed at the end of January. It’s to be hoped the proposal gets some bipartisan support given the looming state election.

201702-Moondog-Hollywood-RFY -6The Hawaiian Ride for Youth from Albany to Perth is one of the big cycling charity events on the calendar and a group of keen cyclists from Hollywood Private Hospital have put their pedals on the line for the March ride. Urologists Drs Andrew Tan and Tom Shannon, orthopaedic surgeons Drs Clem McCormick and Ryan Lisle, anaesthetist Dr Steven Myles and hospital CEO Peter Mott have been training hard for the 420km ride. Peter is riding the CEO leg alongside other WA CEOs. Funds raised from the ride help young people in need, many suffering from mental health. Since 2003 $15m has been raised. The Hollywood team is doing its own fundraising with a “Champagne Sunsets” event on February 11 at the City of Perth Surf Lifesaving Club at City Beach. Info at www.rideforyouth.com.au/events/champagne-sunsets

Pictured from left: Dr Tom Shannon, Peter Mott, Drs Clem McCormack, Ryan Lisle, Steven Myles and Andrew Tan
Hard-selling pharma

In 2013, under “insights from the frontline” FirstWord Dossier reported that China had more pharma sales reps than the United States; only 3-5% of China's physicians were being detailed by pharma; and the previous year e-detailing expenditure in China increased 40%.

IT business moves

Medical Forum attended the HITWA innovations conference in Perth late last year and was intrigued by the connections of one of its sponsors, Core Medical Solutions. CMS is a software company started by two doctors in South Australia in the public hospital system. Their flagship product BOSSnet is the “clinical information system of choice”. The business, which was “actively seeking to partner/ joint venture with similarly minded organisations”, was doing something right in November because soon after the HITWA meeting it was acquired by US electronic medical record (EMR) giant Allscripts (which had just undergone a decline in share price). Pulse+IT reported that in WA, BOSSnet is in FSH, will be in the new Perth Children's Hospital, and …has gone live at Bunbury and Busselton hospitals, part of a 14-strong roll-out for WACHS. Separately, an independent report in 2015 pointed to problems with BOSSnet’s EMR at FSH. Now, a patient portal is top of their agenda. Allscripts is rolling out the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) for the SA Department for Health. Both Sunrise PAS and dbMotion™ (a population health solution) are Allscript products that CMS’s co-founder said would be introduced into Australia.

Midland hub takes shape

There is still 19 years to run on the contract with St John of God Health Care for the Midland public hospital but we received news late last year that SJGHC has had government planning approval of its purchase of 3ha for $10.6m in the historic Midlands Workshops precinct for a private facility. It is part of the government vision to create a health hub in the east. Soon to be opening is Perth's only bone and tissue bank, while the Icon Group has announced that it would open a cancer treatment centre (it will also be building one in Rockingham) at the precinct in April. The Curtin Midland Campus is due to open in 2019 after the government announced a $22m cash and land deal.

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