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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Committee demands amendment to Prostheses List bill to ensure consistency in delivery of care

Health Industry Hub | March 10, 2023 |

MedTech News: The Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler MP, has accepted the recommendation to amend the Private Health Insurance Legislation Amendment (Medical Device and Human Tissue Product List and Cost Recovery) Bill 2022.

The bill is a part of an initial package of three bills necessary to support the modernising and improvement of the Prostheses List. The initial package of bills allows for financially sustainable cost recovery arrangements and among other things, the bill updates the cost recovery arrangements by providing a fee-for-service cost recovery arrangement.

The government amendment to schedule 2 of this bill responds to concerns raised by the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills about the breadth of each discretion in the bill.

These concerns are in addition to several others raised by Anne Ruston, Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, earlier this week in Parliament.

The bill seeks to provide the minister with a discretionary power to delist certain medical devices or human tissue products where the organisation liable to pay a relevant cost-recovery fee or levy has failed to do so. Delisting would remove a private health insurer’s mandatory obligation to pay a set benefit in relation to the relevant medical device or human tissue product.

Similarly, the bill would provide the minister with a discretionary power to direct that certain activities not be carried out where a person has failed to pay a cost-recovery fee or a levy. For example, the bill would allow the minister to refuse to carry out services in relation to a request to list a new product if the applicant has not paid the application fee.

Following the committee’s recommendation, the Minister for Health and Aged Care has undertaken to introduce an amendment which would require the minister to first have regard to certain matters prior to making a decision.

Namely, the minister would be required to consider whether the exercise of the discretionary powers would adversely affect the interests of patients or significantly and adversely limit the professional freedom of medical practitioners. This will ensure that patient safety and consistency of care delivery is placed above delayed or missing fee payments.

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