The Australian Medical Association is warning insurers to expect a “worst case scenario” for their operations and is urging them to maintain their commitment to keeping patients safe in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The AMA’s chief executive officer Dr Andrew Burn said in a statement that the “worst-case scenario” was that insurers would cease operations and close their operations across Australia and in Australia and New Zealand.
“The AAMC would be forced to review its long-standing practice of not issuing life-threatening alerts, as this is a necessary and safe action to ensure patient safety,” Dr Burn said.
“This would be an enormous loss to the Australian public and its healthcare system, and would also impact on patient care.”
We need to continue to invest in our health care system and our health professionals to ensure that the safety of Australians remains our top priority.
“Australians need to know that we have the ability to ensure their safety and wellbeing, and to continue doing so.”
However, in the worst-case-scenario scenario, insurers will not be able to continue operations or close their offices, and we will continue to monitor this situation closely.
“The AHA’s chief financial officer Dr Michael McNeill said the Australian Medical Council’s current policy of not recommending life-saving alerts for the public was working well.”
A significant number of AAMCs have decided not to issue life-risking alerts for this reason and I think the fact that it is the AAMCOs policy to do so and they have a clear policy on it is a positive thing,” Dr McNeill told ABC Radio Melbourne.”
So, I think there’s a positive signal that insurers are sticking to that.
“In response to the AMA chief executive’s warning, the Australian Association of Medical Colleges said it had received numerous calls from the public and from AAMI members expressing concerns about the state of patient safety.
The AMA’s policy of only issuing life saving alerts is one of the most common reasons insurers pull out of Australia and is also one of those factors that has made it difficult for insurers to get new patients in.
However, the AMA said the AAMI’s advice was not an indication of its confidence in Australia’s health system.”
It is clear from the AMA’s current position that the current policy, including its recent actions in response to coronavids, is not a long-term solution to the current challenges facing the health system,” the AMA statement said.AAMI member doctors have warned that the health sector’s current system of covering costs is not sustainable.”
There is a need for a robust system of health insurance, and for that to work, we need to make sure we have enough people insured in the system to cover those costs,” Dr David Rennie said.
The Australian Medical Alliance has said that while it supports the AAMA’s call for increased health insurance coverage, it is also concerned about the “costly” nature of its policy.”
If we continue to have an insurance system that is very expensive, and therefore is not cost-effective, then the health service is not going to have a future,” Dr Rennis said.ABC reporter Sarah Edwards contributed to this report.