The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is strongly supportive of the Health Minister’s plan, announced today, that will provide consumers with private health insurance rebates for their at-home rehabilitation.

APA National President Phil Calvert says that pressure on the health system will be alleviated, and outcomes for patients improved, by allowing more flexibility in the way that treatment is provided. “We know that in many cases people can greatly benefit by avoiding in-hospital rehabilitation care, so providing insurance rebates that allow rehab and recovery treatment at home is a win for both consumers and the health system.”

The APA has pushed for insurance cover reforms like this and has long supported high value, evidence based care and preventive health initiatives that allow consumers to avoid hospital entirely. Importantly, the health outcomes from at-home rehab are often the same or better than those achieved via in-hospital treatment. 

“The physio profession fully supports the government’s plan to encourage more Australians to take up private health insurance. At-home rehab for a range of conditions makes complete sense. For example, Australians having knee or hip osteoarthritis (OA) surgery could go home much earlier with a physio rehab program that was covered by their health insurance. Not only is the cost burden of additional days in hospital reduced, but consumers are able to undertake their rehab program from the comfort of their own homes.”

“Australians don’t want to pay increasingly large premiums for health care they can’t claim on. This is a real solution that supports high value, evidence based care and a great opportunity for the private health insurance system to provide increased value and improved outcomes for patients.”

“As a profession, we’d like to see this plan take a further step; that is, to allow insurance rebates for treatments that avoid hospitalisation altogether. I’m talking about pro-active physio treatment for conditions such as OA that can negate the need for surgery in the first place. There is plenty of research that shows consumers enrolling into prescribed exercise, education and lifestyle modification programs is hugely successful, particularly if they are targeted before their condition progresses too far. Some studies show up to a 70 per cent reduction in knee replacement surgeries alone, with a cost saving of up to $300 million.”


Phil Calvert is available for further comment.  


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