Commission of Audit and the Budget 2014

Another post not on health or Indigenous stuff. But it is also on health and Indigenous stuff.

The proposed cuts to Centrelink benefits for the unemployed and disabled will make life more difficult out bush, makes good food even harder to purchase and will push people to more processed, salty foods. Costs to seeing a doctor mean less will visit – and people are not too good in diagnosing the seriousness or not of their own condition.

For Indigenous Australians, often in the lowest socio-economic group and having a much higher incidence of illness this is an added burden. Particularly as one objective (as I see it) is “mainstreaming” health services meaning less Aboriginal Health Services which are proven to make a bigger difference in the health of Indigenous Australians.

The Commission of Audit (CofA) looked at cost savings (revenue changes were not included) that could be made. The committee was run by big business people. The CofA had a budget of $1 million dollars of which they spent $2.5 million. Yes they spent more than twice what was budgeted. Yet expect us to believe them.

The CofA can’t even get all of its basic readily accessible facts right. Tony Shepherd runs this Audit Commission. He reckons Australians visit the GP 11 times a year. Actually it is around 5.8 times a year. He seems to have confused actual patient visits with Medicare items claimed by GPs per patient. Yet it seems a fee for visiting the doctor will still be included in the budget.

According to a researcher in the article 5.8% of survey respondents delayed or did not visit a doctor in 2012-13 due to costs. For Indigenous Australians this was 12%.

We seem to be going the American way of things. The individual not the community. Privatising health.

To finish off here is an interesting little study: Changes in Mortality After Massachusetts Health Care Reform. In 2006 Massachusetts reformed their health care. Some say it was the model for the US Affordable Care Act to look after the poorer in their society.

The study looked at changes in mortality in those aged between 20-64 before and after these changes. There was a 2.9% reduction in deaths from all causes (that is 8.2 less deaths per 100,000 people) compared to control counties. Deaths from causes amenable to health care also dropped by a remarkable 4.5%.

The changes were larger in counties with lower household incomes and higher numbers not on health insurance (remember USA health care is privatised).

Remember these health reforms made health insurance available to the poor. For every 830 people who could take up this insurance – and thus easier access to healthcare – one death was prevented each year.

Enjoy the budget.

A Sample Social Media Policy

A medical blogger for twelve years and the current Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT at US Department of Health and Human Services, Dr Jacob Reider has a sample social media policy up on Google Docs

I would consider this a good starting point for any health organisation wanting to write a policy. A simple explanation of social media (not a dummies guide to the Internet as the Pharmacists policy is) and while supporting employees to use social media sets clearly the limits and expected behaviour.

A Sample Social Media Policy is on Google Docs and can be downloaded in a variety of formats or edited online.

If that fails here’s a PDF version of the Sample Social Media Policy

TEDxDarwin – Kishan Kariippanon – Bringing “the Egypt” to Indigenous Youth Health

Just how bad are we in promoting good health to Indigenous youth. My mate Kishan Kariippanon who puts all his energy into what he does says it needs a serious rethink.

“Social media is becoming a source of information and a tool for communication for Indigenous youth because the social network functions like a typical Indigenous community. When promoting health through education, it is not about ‘teaching’ or ‘training’ young people but about developing the potential of young people to do it themselves. Social media and mobile technology is a tool that surpasses language, cultural and communication barriers.”

IT for Healthworkers

The correct title is “IT for Emergency Physicians” but the information can be used by all healthworkers and many others besides. Well that’s if you have a decent internet connection.

IT for emergency physicians from David Thorisson on Vimeo.

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