The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) has thrown its weight behind the Health Minister’s plan, announced this month, that will provide consumers with private health insurance rebates for their at-home rehabilitation.
This is a huge step forward, both for patients and the overall health system, according to APA National President, Phil Calvert.
Mr Calvert says “The reforms will alleviate pressure on the already strained health system. The rebates will also improve outcomes for patients by allowing more flexibility in the way treatment is provided”, he says.
“We know that in many cases people can greatly benefit by avoiding in-hospital rehabilitation care,” says Mr Calvert.
“So, providing insurance rebates that allow rehab and recovery treatment at home is a win for both consumers and the health system.” This type of reform is long overdue, says Mr Calvert with the APA having long-since pushed for similar changes.
“The APA supports high-value, evidence-based care and preventive health initiatives that allow consumers to avoid hospital entirely,” says Mr Calvert.
“Importantly, the health outcomes from at-home rehab are often the same or better than those achieved via in-hospital treatment.”
Mr Calvert says the physiotherapy profession fully supports the government’s plan to encourage more Australians to take up private health insurance.
“At-home rehab for a range of conditions makes complete sense,” he says.
“For example, Australians having knee or hip osteoarthritis (OA) surgery could go home much earlier with a physio rehab program that was covered by their health insurance.
“Not only is the cost burden of additional days in hospital reduced, but consumers are able to undertake their rehab program from the comfort of their own homes.”
Mr Calvert says the reforms represent a real solution for Australians, who don’t want to pay increasingly large premiums for health care they can’t claim on.
“The reforms support high-value, evidence-based care, and a great opportunity for the private health insurance system to provide increased value and improved outcomes for patients.”
But Mr Calvert says the APA would like to see the plan go one step further, allowing insurance rebates for treatments that avoid hospitalisation altogether.
“I’m talking about pro-active physio treatment for conditions such as OA that can negate the need for surgery in the first place.
“There is plenty of research that shows consumers enrolling into prescribed exercise, education and lifestyle modification programs is hugely successful, particularly if they are targeted before their condition progresses too far.”
Mr Calvert says some studies suggest up to a 70 percent reduction in knee replacement surgeries alone, with a cost saving of up to $300 million.