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Author Archives: Lesley Russell
What have we learned from the coronavirus pandemic that can inform and drive reforms to Australia’s health care system?
In normal, pre-coronavirus pandemic times, we would have expected to see the details and funding for the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement announced in the May federal budget. But the new agreement, expected to cost some $20 billion over five years, … Continue reading
As deaths from the coronavirus pandemic climb relentlessly, it is already becoming clear that the official toll is an under-estimate and that significant numbers of deaths caused directly and indirectly by the virus are not being recorded as such.
In the United States there are serious problems with the adequacy and appropriateness of the health measures to control coronavirus and its impact.
The crisis in Emergency Departments is causing harm to patients and staff, and transformative health system re-design is urgently needed.
JENNIFER DOGGETT, LESLEY RUSSELL. The Private Health Insurance dilemma: a product in search of a role (Croakey 22-10-19)
Medibank has announced that it will become Australia’s first private health insurer to make potential out-of-pocket (OOP) costs publicly available in a move to shore up public trust, after winning a ‘Shonky’ award from consumer group Choice for “junk” policies … Continue reading
The impacts of drought and climate change on health and wellbeing are threatening to increase the growing gap in health status between Australians who live in metropolitan and rural areas. Yet the Morrison Government and its National Party partners have … Continue reading
It is unfair and poor public policy that mortality and morbidity rates in rural Australia are significantly worse than those in metropolitan areas. There is an urgent need for a National Rural Health Strategy, accompanied by a sustained increase in … Continue reading
KELSEY CHALMERS and LESLEY RUSSELL. The National Strategy to Reduce OOP costs: will price transparency work?
Reducing patients’ out of pocket (OOP) costs is a major issue for the health policy agenda. But what are the chances that solutions to provide real relief for patients will emerge?
The past week has seen a series of media articles about how some people must fund raise to cover the cost of expensive brain cancer surgery and a paper released from the Actuaries Institute, How to Make Private Health Insurance … Continue reading
This year’s Government budget documents and the Opposition’s response are budgetary in name only – they should be seen as election campaign commitments. As such, they provide a telling story about the parties’ focus on health and healthcare and the … Continue reading
LESLEY RUSSELL. Can Primary Health Networks (PHNs) Drive Needed Primary Care Reforms? A strong primary care system is essential to the equity, efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system and for improvements in health outcomes. However, the structure and funding … Continue reading
LESLEY RUSSELL. The recommendations from the MBS Review for reforms in primary care: who will ensure these proposals are properly considered?
Hidden in a pack of draft reports from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce that were released by the Morrison Government without fanfare just before Christmas are a series of recommendations that, if effectively funded and implemented, could begin … Continue reading
The 2018 version of the Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation was released on December 11. This is the third such annual atlas, which examines differences in healthcare use according to where people live within Australia and is produced by the … Continue reading
The Victorian Government’s election commitment to a $395.8 million program to provide free dental care to schoolchildren will be welcome in a state where affordable and timely access to dental care is increasingly difficult. It’s time for a concerted campaign … Continue reading
None of the “wicked’ problems in health – obesity, mental illness and suicide, chronic illness, ageing – will be solved with just hospitals, doctors, nurses and prescription pads. They all require resources beyond those provided by the health care system. … Continue reading
The noisy public debate about patients’ out-of-pocket costs and their consequences reaches a crescendo when it comes to oral health and dental care.
In a piece published in the Medical Journal of Australia in December 2014, I called for an end to the artificial medical/dental divide. At the same time, writing in The Conversation, I outlined six first steps towards the better integration … Continue reading
Residents of Colorado’s most picturesque mountain towns in Summit, Pitkin and Eagle counties live longer than anyone else in the United States. Recent data collections, research and comparisons with the so-called Blue Zones – those few places where people live … Continue reading
Governments have yet to create a coherent strategy to help the almost three million Australians providing informal care.
LESLEY RUSSELL . How knee replacement surgery highlights issues of access, affordability and best practice in Australia’s two-tiered healthcare system – Part 2
Part 2 – Best practice and improved surgery outcomes As the population ages, total knee replacement surgery is becoming commonplace. It is one of the most expensive surgical procedures. Most replacements are performed as elective surgery in private hospitals. Those … Continue reading
LESLEY RUSSELL. How knee replacement surgery highlights issues of access, affordability and best practice in Australia’s two-tiered healthcare system – Part 1
PART 1 – Access and affordability As the population ages, total knee replacement surgery is becoming commonplace. It is one of the most expensive surgical procedures. Most replacements are performed as elective surgery in private hospitals. Those patients who must … Continue reading
Last week’s announcement from the Turnbull Government purported to be about making private health insurance “simpler and more affordable” but in fact delivered more for health insurance funds’ bottom lines than for Australians’ budgets and highlighted the contorted, confused and … Continue reading
Private health insurance has been allowed to undermine the universality Australian healthcare to the extent that international experts now downgrade the Australian system in comparison to those of similar countries because it is two-tiered. Growing public concerns about increasing premiums, … Continue reading
LESLEY RUSSELL. The impact of private health insurance on equity and access in specialist healthcare
Most specialists charge fairly and reasonably, but there is clearly a need to name and shame those who are over-charging and over-servicing to ensure a level playing field for the good guys – and to protect, respect and care for … Continue reading
LESLEY RUSSELL. It is disingenuous of the Coalition to claim it has no intention of privatising Medicare.
The election campaign battle over Medicare should come as no surprise. It echoes disputes during previous campaigns and have their origins in ideological divides that date back to well before Medicare was founded and have persisted through the subsequent political … Continue reading
In today’s health care debates around the centrality of primary care, moving towards patient-centred medical homes, improving care coordination for people with chronic illnesses and whether private health insurance provides value for money, there is one element that is almost … Continue reading
The six previous papers in this series highlight the poorly defined role private health insurance plays in the funding and delivery of Australian health care, and how the Abbott government might allow this role to expand. But major changes to … Continue reading