Better health at a lower cost

technology and medical scanning

Better health at a lower cost

technology and medical scanning

An important part of our advocacy strategy is demonstrating the added value, cost efficiencies and improvement in the consumer journey when physiotherapists are able to work to their full scope of practice.

If the government and the health minister want true health reform, then allowing physiotherapists to refer to specialists and imaging is a simple way to reduce the Medicare spend, provide patients with a more efficient and straightforward journey and lower the cost of living for every Australian who needs to use the medical system.

We engaged the Nous Group to assess the effects of making Medicare Benefits Schedule rebates payable for direct referrals to orthopaedic specialists and medical imaging. 

Drawing on a nationwide survey of physiotherapists, among other sources of data, for its financial analysis, the assessment identified a potential cost reduction of $162.7 million for patients and the healthcare system arising from the proposed policy change.

The report indicated that these cost reductions can be achieved without increasing health risk. 

The results are also consistent with research findings, indicating that there would not be a significant increase in inappropriate referrals.

As the population ages and the number of people living with chronic musculoskeletal conditions grows, demand for services will also increase. 

Australia’s current shortage of GPs is expected to worsen over the coming years.

In combination with greater demand, this is likely to result in prolonged waiting times and escalating care costs. 

Making the best use of the available workforce will be essential if we are to respond effectively to patients’ needs.

This report comes at a crucial time in policy development, in the wake of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce
and the government’s scope of practice review. 

If the minister has a genuine appetite for putting the consumer at the centre of care, this could be a game changer in the health reform process. 

It doesn’t require significant additional funding or expanding our scope of practice—rather, it enables us to do what we do now but without the unnecessary added step of going through a GP.

I will continue to advocate for a safe and effective reform that just makes sense. 

In the meantime, keep an eye out for member communications about the release of the report, which will be available on our website.

You probably all know by now that we are looking for a new CEO after the resignation of Anja Nikolic. 

Anja has been a huge contributor to and supporter of our profession for nearly 10 years. 

I have worked with her at the highest level of office over the past three years and it has always been an absolute pleasure. 

The personal values that Anja instilled in her role and consistently upheld are those of professionalism, empathy, a focus on the future, boldness, strength and strategy. 

I want to thank Anja personally, not only for what she has done for the APA and the profession, but for working so well with me for the betterment of us all. 

She will be missed.

The APA Board of Directors, Executive Leadership Team and recruiters are now looking for our next CEO. 

We will take the opportunity to continue to push our strategy and to renew and advance our agenda as we seek the services of a CEO who will make a valuable contribution to the organisation and who will be bold in pushing the profession to a new level. 

It is an exciting time and I look forward to meeting and working with our new CEO over the coming weeks.

Take care.

Scott Willis APAM APA National President

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