Summary of Meeting 1 of the Mental Health Sub-Group 11 May 2018

This page contains the meeting summary for the Mental Health sub-group.

Page last updated: 25 May 2018

PDF version: Summary of Meeting 1 of the Mental Health Sub-Group 11 May 2018 (PDF 132 KB)


Members Secretariat
Dr Jenny Firman, Chair Deb Hurlbut, Secretariat
Christine Gee, Australian Private Hospitals Association Susan Azmi, Secretariat
Patrick Hardwick, Private Mental Health Consumer & Carer Network Anne Dwyer, Secretariat
Joanne Levin, Healthe Care
Dr Louise Roufeil, Australian Psychological Society
Sophie Harrison, Wyndham Clinic Private Hospital
Rebecca Randall, Consumers Health Forum
Sian Pritchard, Pritchard Health
Andrea Selleck, Australian Regional Health Group
Erkam Kardiric, Australian Health Services Alliance
Dr Michelle Atchison, Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists


Dr Andrew Wilson, Medibank Private
Janne McMahon, Private Mental Health Consumer & Carer Network
Dr Choong-Siew Yong, Australian Medical Association
Julianne Quaine, Department of Health

1. Welcome and Introductions

  • The Chair opened the meeting and provided members an opportunity to introduce themselves to the Mental Health sub-group (the sub-group).

2. Opening Statement/Operation of the Working Group

  • The Chair delivered her opening statement, advising members that the purpose of the sub-group is to provide advice to the Improved Models of Care Working Group (the Working Group) on options to improve the regulation of private health insurance funded mental health services.
  • The Chair advised that a key consideration for this work is to identify regulatory changes to private health insurance that support access to clinically effective and efficient care.
  • The Chair noted that members may be required to discuss particular issues with their organisation, and asked that members be mindful of the balance between appropriate consultation and respecting confidentiality.

3. Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

  • The Chair noted that she had considered members’ declarations of their interests and did not consider there were any declared conflicts that would prevent participation in the sub-group.
  • The Chair reiterated members’ obligations to advise of new conflicts should they arise during the existence of the sub-group.

4. Improved Models of Care – Issues Paper and Presentation

  • The Secretariat delivered a presentation, also given to the Working Group, providing an overview of the issues to be considered by the Working Group and sub-groups.
  • The presentation covered current government regulation, including relevant parts of the Private Health Insurance Act and associated Rules.
  • Members were also provided with information and data on hospital-based mental health services funded by private health insurance.

5. Member perspectives

  • Members summarised their views and identified a range of issues including:
      • The need for a comprehensive understanding of the current legislative and regulatory constraints and how these impact the treatment options available.
      • The complexity of the issues necessitates collaboration across the sector.
      • The significant opportunities for consumers, with recognition that increased access to community-based services could support greater consumer choice, address difficulties created by geography, and provide the opportunity to avoid hospital admissions through early intervention. This was balanced with recognition that there will always be a need for admitted services and that it would not be acceptable for changes to shift costs onto consumers and carers.
      • The increasing number of people being diagnosed with mental illness and seeking access to appropriate interventions.
      • While services delivered within the community are generally less expensive at an individual level, improved access to community-based services is not likely to reduce the volume of admitted mental health services.
      • The need for appropriate utilisation of a multidisciplinary workforce.

6. Work plan - Mental Health sub-group

  • The sub-group noted that the scope of work identified in the workplan was substantial given the timeframe.
  • The sub-group agreed the workplan in-principle, with minor amendments.

7. Issues Paper: Mental health services and clinically appropriate settings of care

  • The Secretariat introduced an Issues Paper which considered mental health services and clinically appropriate settings of care.
  • The paper identified cost-efficiency and the affordability of private health insurance as a key consideration of this work. The risk of new non-admitted services delivered in addition to the existing admitted services would add to costs and contribute to premium growth.
  • Members noted the need to consider in detail what is currently occurring in the sector in order to identify options for change.
  • Members discussed the types of services currently delivered within the hospitals setting and the need for transparency to ensure care is evidenced based and achieving good outcomes.
  • Members noted the limited evidence for standardised packages of care to support mental health recovery based on diagnosis, and supported care packages tailored to the needs of the individual.
  • Members discussed current industry guidelines and the differing level of detail provided around admitted services compared to day programs. It was noted that day program type services are more easily standardised than admitted overnight services.
  • Member discussed current care pathways for those discharged from hospital and the way in which people have leveraged other funding mechanisms in order to support access to care in the community. It was noted that not all these funding mechanisms remain available and those that are available are often insufficient to meet the needs of those recently discharged from hospital.

8. Establishing the evidence base

  • Members agreed a presentation from the Private Psychiatric Hospitals Data Reporting and Analysis Service (PPHDRAS) would be beneficial.
  • Members agreed to provide information and evidence to the Secretariat on current issues and projects that will support the development of evidence based advice on options for reform.

9. Other business

  • The next sub-group meeting is scheduled for 15 June 2018.

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