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Health Bulletin 14 April 2021

In this edition: Support for people living with mental illness at risk of homelessness, National Safety and Quality Health Service clinical practice consultation, Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform (Maeve’s Law) Bill 2021, Insurance & Dependants, Specialist Registration status with AHPRA.

The latest insights from our Health Law team: 

New program to support people living with mental illness at risk of homelessness

National Safety and Quality Health Service clinical practice consultation open

Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform (Maeve’s Law) Bill 2021

Insurance & Dependants

Specialist Registration status with AHPRA

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New program to support people living with mental illness at risk of homelessness

New South Wales Health have announced a new program designed to help people living with mental illness who are at risk of homelessness. The “Stepping Stones” program at Macquarie Hospital aims to provide a safe place for people with mental illness who no longer require acute mental health services, but do not have a home to return to, by providing access to temporary accommodation and intervention-based support.

The program was recently allocated $900,000 in funding as part of the New South Wales Government’s $80 million commitment to mental health support. “Stepping Stones” involves an intensive rehabilitation program, tailored to the needs of its participants. It focuses on life skills and social integration and provides access to other government programs like the NDIS and state housing, to help them transition into community living. The program has two four-bed cottages, in which participants live and are responsible for their own cooking and cleaning. Participants have access to trained mental health skills throughout the program, as well as support from physiotherapists, medical professionals and social workers.

To read more about “Stepping Stones”, click here.

 

 

National Safety and Quality Health Service clinical practice consultation open

The Australian Commission of Safety and Quality in Health Care (Commission) has called for feedback on the updated Credentialing and Defining Scope of Clinical Practice: A guide for managers and clinicians (Guide). The original Guide for managers and clinicians was first published in 2015 as a resource to support the implementation of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards.

The second edition of the NSQHS Standards refined the actions that relate to the processes that are used to define, monitor and review the scope of clinical practice for clinicians, and the Guide has been revised accordingly.

The Guide is due to be finalised and published in 2021. The draft Guide and associated checklists are:

Consultation is open until Friday 30 April 2021. To provide feedback by online survey, click here. 

Consultation is open until Friday 30 April 2021. To provide feedback by online survey, click here.

 

 

Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform (Maeve’s Law) Bill 2021

The Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform (Maeve’s Law) Bill 2021 (Maeve’s Law) was introduced into Parliament on 24 March 2021. The eponymously titled bill is inspired by Maeve Hood, a five-year old girl who suffers from mitochondrial disease which is ordinarily a terminal or debilitating condition.

In his Second Reading Speech, the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt explained that “Mitochondrial donation is an umbrella term for IVF based reproductive technology which prevents mitochondrial disease being passed from a mother to her child, with the assistance of a donor”. Maeve’s Law – which is based on UK legislation – proposes a staged pathway towards the legalisation of mitochondrial donation in clinical practice. The first stage will allow for lab based research and training to determine the safety, efficacy and feasibility of the technology preventing the disease being passed from mother to child. The bill contains an option to move to a second stage if trial finds the procedure to be safe and effective. Stage 2 will see the technology be made available in a broader range of clinical settings. Support for this two-stage was identified through a public consultation by the Department of Health that concluded in March 2021.

Maeve’s Law will be subject to a rare free vote of Parliament, which will allow Members of Parliament to vote with their conscience and free of their party’s position.

For more information on the Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform (Maeve’s Law) Bill 2021, please click here.

 

 

Insurance & Dependants

The Private Health Insurance Legislation Amendment (Age of Dependants) Bill 2021 (Cth) (Bill) has been introduced into parliament. 

It seeks to amend various provisions of the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 and Private Health Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2015 in order to permit persons of any age with a disability to remain on family private health insurance policies as a dependant person. In addition, it would lift the maximum age that a dependant person can remain on a family private health insurance policy from 24 to 31 years old. This aligns with the current Lifetime Health Cover regime which encourages younger Australians to take out private hospital insurance before they are 31.

The Age Discrimination Act would be amended so that private health insurers would be able to cover people up to 31 or with a disability on such policies (although it would not be mandatory to offer such coverage).

Parliament has agreed that the Bill will be read a second time. You can read the Bill here, and the explanatory memorandum here.

 

 

Specialist Registration status with AHPRA

Fellows registered with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) must register as a specialist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) before 16 April 2021 in order to access higher Medicare rebates for patients.

Fellows who are not registered as a specialist will not be eligible for the higher Medicare rebates for patients which were announced in the 2019 Federal Budget. 

Practitioners can check their registration status on the AHPRA website.

 

Learn more about Russell Kennedy's expertise in the Health sector here.

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