Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Questions on Notice
Health (Question No. 2090)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 21 August 2012:
(1) Can the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) explain the concept of 'benchmarking' and the role of 'benchmarking' products.
(2) Has IHPA received a presentation on 'benchmarking from: (a) Healthcost Limited; or (b) the Managing Director of Healthcost Limited; if so, what was the cost of the presentation.
(3) Is IHPA aware that the 'benchmarking' product presented to IHPA for sale was developed by Healthcost Limited and is listed on their website (www.healthcost.co.uk).
(4) Is IHPA aware that Healthcost Limited is a United Kingdom registered company and the sole supplier of Visasys Pty Ltd systems in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
(5) Is IHPA aware that a recent tender to undertake the processing of hospital data for the National Hospital Cost Data Collection, to be used by IHPA to derive the National Efficient Price of providing hospital services across Australian public hospitals, was awarded to Visasys Pty Ltd.
(6) What other contracts does Visasys Pty Ltd have with the Australian Government, and when were these contracts awarded.
(7) Since 2001, has Visasys Pty Ltd been a supplier of other products to the Australian Government; if so, can details of the contracts be provided, including the: (a) price; (b) product; (c) terms; and (d) duration.
(8) Who is the Director of IHPA's Hospital Costing Section, on what date was this person appointed and when does their term expire.
(9) Does the current Director of IHPA's Hospital Costing Section have any other directorships.
(10) Can the Minister confirm: (a) the type of relationship that exists between the Director of the IHPA's Hospital Costing Section and a company called Healthcost Limited; and (b) whether the current Director was at any time associated with Visasys Pty Ltd; if so, can details be provided.
(11) Does IHPA require that Directors declare shareholdings in stakeholder agencies (such as Visasys Pty Ltd and Healthcost Limited); if so, can details be provided of the declarations made by the Director of IHPA's Hospital Costing Section.
(12) What engagement has the Director of IHPA's Hospital Costing Section had with the Queensland Department of Health, and can details be provided in relation to all formal contact between the parties since the Director's appointment.
(13) With reference to the recent tender, awarded to Visasys Pty Ltd, to undertake the processing of hospital data for the National Hospital Cost Data Collection, can details be provided of: (a) any involvement by the Director of IHPA's Hospital Costing Section in the process of IHPA awarding the contract; and (b) who drafted the tender on behalf of Visasys Pty Ltd.
(14) Can details be provided of any involvement by the Director of IHPA's Hospital Costing Section in enabling Healthcost Limited and/or its Managing Director to give a presentation on 'benchmarking' and to offer a 'benchmarking' product developed by Healthcost Limited for sale to IHPA.
(15) How many staff does Visasys Pty Ltd directly employ, and what is the company's market share in the provision of costing systems to major Australian hospitals.
The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:
(1) Benchmarking is an activity that allows the comparison of data against a set of best practice results ("the benchmark"). Benchmarking products are generally software applications that allow users to easily compare their own data with a set of industry benchmarks.
(2) (a) No
(3) Not applicable - refer to question 2
(6) See schedule provided by the Department of Health and Ageing at Attachment 1.
(7) See schedule provided by the Department of Health and Ageing at Attachment 1.
(8) The Director of Independent Hospital Pricing Authority's Hospital Costing Section, Ms Karen Chudleigh, was appointed on 1 November 2011 and her term expires on 31 December 2012.
(10) (a)There is no relationship between Ms Chudleigh and Healthcost.
(b) Ms Chudleigh has had no association with Visasys, beyond that of managing the contract for the National Hospital Cost Data Collection.
(11) The Australian Public Service Commission Code of Conduct requires that employees "disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with APS employment". No such disclosure has been made by Ms Chudleigh in relation to Visasys.
(12) Ms Chudleigh liaises with the Queensland Department of Health in her role as Director Hospital Costing. The IHPA Technical Working Groups (TWG) are the main point of formal liaison. The following TWG's have been held since IHPAs establishment:
(13) (a) The Director of Hospital Costing was the Chair of the Evaluation Panel providing a recommendation to the delegate.
(b) IHPA is not aware of who drafted the tender for Visasys.
(14) No involvement – no such presentation has taken place.
(15) IHPA is unaware of Visasys market share in Australia, nor how many employees they currently have.