Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Pursuant to standing orders, I present the following documents which were presented to the Deputy President and a temporary chair of committees after the Senate adjourned on 1 March 2012. In accordance with the terms of the standing orders, the publication of the documents was authorised:
(a) Government response to parliamentary committee report
Community Affairs References Committee––Report––Professional Services Review Scheme (received 6 March 2012)
(b) Letters of advice relating to the Senate order on contracts:
In accordance with the usual practice and with the concurrence of the Senate I ask that the government response be incorporated in Hansard.
The document read as follows—
Government response to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Review of the Professional Services Review (PSR) Scheme
The committee emphasises the importance of communicating the methodology utilised by Medicare Australia to the wider medical community. The committee recommends that Medicare Australia publish its current auditing methodology and any subsequent improvements to the methodology as they come on stream.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) currently describes its risk based audit methodology in its annual publication of the Health and Aged Care Compliance Program (the Compliance Program). The Compliance Program provides information on DHS' compliance approach including:
Risk identification and assessment methods;
Education and support;
Audit and investigation activities;
Stakeholder engagement; and
Key areas of focus and priorities for compliance activities.
DHS will ensure that any changes or improvements to its audit methodology will be published in the annual Compliance Program and relevant stakeholders across the wider medical community will be informed through stakeholder engagement activities.
The committee recommends that agencies involved in health policy and regulation review their online information policies and procedures to ensure that changes in important information, regulations and policies affecting stakeholders are regularly updated on agency web pages.
Relevant Government agencies will review the information on their web pages and update accordingly.
The committee recommends that there be a simplification of the ways in which official lists of professions, specialties and sub-specialties are constructed. It recommends that, at a minimum, all bodies that use lists with a statutory basis be required to publish only the current version of such a list.
Relevant Government agencies will work together to explore ways of reducing the complexity of the lists of professional specialties and sub-specialties.
The committee recommends that the March 2011 changes be reviewed one year after their
implementation and this should be carried out in consultation with all relevant medical professional bodies, and other key stakeholders such as the MDOs and consumer representative organisations. The findings of the review should be publicly available.
The Professional Services Review Advisory Committee (PSRAC) will review the March 2011 Guidelines after one year of their implementation.
The Committee recommends that the government liaise further with stakeholders to ascertain the desirability for a legally qualified person to be involved in the PSR process.
The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and PSR will commence liaison with external stakeholders regarding the need for a legally qualified person to be involved in the PSR processes.
The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth government review the legislation to allow the Determining Authority greater flexibility in its sanctions with regard to PBS items.
DoHA will undertake a review of the legislation following the PSRAC review of the Guidelines to examine the effectiveness of the sanctions available to the Determining Authority.
The committee recommends that the Commonwealth government review the PSR's enabling legislation, to ensure that the PSR can effectively pursue abuse of the MBS or PBS systems, regardless of the stricture of employment of the person under review.
DoHA will undertake a review of the legislation following the PSRAC review of the Guidelines to examine the capacity of the PSR to consider inappropriate practice as affected by different employment structures.