‘Blood money’ debate resurfaces


28 Apr 2016

The debate around whether pathology services offer value for money has resurfaced this week with the publication of a cost-effectiveness report commissioned by Pathology Australia.

According to the report the private pathology sector saved the Government $2.4 billion last financial year.

The savings came from a $2 billion “efficiency dividend from productivity improvements” and $450 million worth of unpaid tests, said the report that was carried out by Ernest & Young.

Welcoming the report AMA Vice President, Dr Stephen Parnis said it confirmed, “the efficiency and quality of the pathology sector in Australia, and the value for money it provides to Australian taxpayers”.

It was also further proof that the Government should “abandon its ill-conceived cuts to the bulkbilling incentives” that would have a harmful effect on patients.

“These incentives support patient access to essential services without any out-of-pocket costs…If the cuts go ahead, pathology providers will have no choice but to pass on costs to patients,” he said.

The report Estimating the Pathology Productivity Dividend comes two months after a report from the Grattan Institute concluded taxpayers were spending more than $2.5 billion a year on pathology services through Medicare yet were not getting a good deal.

Called Blood Money, the report said many aspects of pathology were now highly automated, resulting in additional tests being performed at “very little cost”.

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