AMA in Calvary, insurer talks

THE Australian Medical Association plans to take its concerns over the breakdown of contract negotiations between Calvary Health Care and Medibank Private to the federal government after a meeting on Friday night.

AMA members discussed a list taken to Calvary by Medibank of 165 of what it called “highly preventable adverse events” it would no longer cover, which included bedsores, falls in care and readmissions within 28 days of discharge.

AMA state president Tim Greenaway said the move was about Medibank reducing its costs, but a Medibank spokesperson has said the hospital should take responsibility and bear the cost for these unfortunate mistakes.

Medibank ended its contract with Calvary after the organisation could not come to an agreement during renegotiations.

“It’s an ongoing major issue and there is no resolution, but the AMA is calling on the federal Health Minister to intercede,” Dr Greenaway said.

“It’s very clear that this has nothing to do with quality and safety as Medibank Private are trying to claim. It’s all about reducing costs.

“What it will mean is that anyone with Medibank Private insurance needs to check the level of their cover because they will be out of pocket … it’s particularly an issue for anyone in the North of Tasmania because there is no other private hospital system than Calvary.”

A Medibank spokesperson said the measures Medibank was seeking to agree with Calvary to reduce the unfortunate mistakes that could occur in hospitals were modest and in line with Medibank’s agreements with other hospitals.

“Medibank and members’ health cover does not change, and they will still be able to be treated by their chosen doctor at Calvary hospitals,” the spokesperson said.