Media releases

December 18, 2013

Australian Defence Force personnel now receiving better and more timely healthcare services

The Department of Defence's Joint Health Command and Medibank Health Solutions today released the 2013 Annual Report for Garrison Health Services, which highlights the progress of Medibank Health Solutions' first year in delivering the health contract for more than 80,000 permanent and reserve Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel.

Commander Joint Health Command Rear Admiral Robyn Walker said that the health contract with Medibank Health Solutions delivered better and more timely healthcare for ADF personnel.

"There is no doubt that our health contract with Medibank Health Solutions is providing ADF personnel with better health services," Rear Admiral Robyn Walker said.

"Joint Health Command now has a new, streamlined and efficient health process for ADF personnel, with assurances over the access to and quality of health services, improved reporting, and certainty of costs.

"ADF personnel are now provided with a much higher ratio of specialists than the Australian norm, the credentialing reassures us our personnel are also receiving the best clinical quality, and it is now rare for ADF personnel to experience delays in accessing treatment."

The Annual Report reveals total costs of more than $170 million in healthcare services were provided by Medibank Health Solutions to ADF personnel up to 30 June 2013. Approximately 60% of these costs are attributed to on-base services.

"The health contract with Medibank Health Solutions is providing Joint Health Command with an innovative and more efficient framework for healthcare delivery and has significantly aided us in addressing rising healthcare costs," Rear Admiral Robyn Walker said.

The Annual Report also shows a total of 309 complaints and clinical incidents lodged during the year, 92% (282) of which were closed prior to 30 June 2013. Medibank Health Solutions lead over 300 quality improvement activities to address the concerns raised.

"Our feedback and complaints monitoring shows our personnel are happy with the health services provided and we believe ADF personnel now have access to health services that are better than those received by the general population," said Rear Admiral Walker.

Executive General Manager, Medibank Health Solutions, Dr Matthew Cullen said that Medibank Health Solutions was proud of Garrison Health Services' achievements in its first year.

"We take pride in the standard of healthcare we are delivering to ADF personnel. In our first year, we have credentialed more than 4,000 medical and many thousand allied health professionals, so that ADF personnel can be assured they are receiving care from appropriately qualified professionals.

"Our number of contracted specialists continues to grow and our on-going reporting to Joint Health Command shows that it is rare for ADF personnel to experience delays in accessing treatment.

"As would be expected with the implementation of any new system, we have uncovered issues along the way and I'm pleased to say that we have dealt with these in an open and timely manner.
"As a part of this contract we have also successfully reduced costs for the ADF, providing Joint Health Command with more efficient health services. We found in the past that some providers were charging ADF personnel excessive fees, as high as 3 - 5 times Australian Medical Association rates, which placed a significant impost on taxpayer dollars. This has now stopped.

"I'd like to thank Joint Health Command, our medical and allied health providers and the ADF personnel for working with us through this change and enabling us all to deliver a world-first in healthcare together," Dr Cullen said

Health services delivered from 1 September 2012 (contract commencement) to 30 June 2013:

  • 827,000 on-base hours, allowing ADF Members to receive health services without having to travel away from their base
  • 8,600 Health Hotline calls received, giving ADF Members access to a nurse anywhere, anytime for anything
  • 194,000 pathology tests taken to help diagnose, prevent, treat and monitor diseases
  • 49,000 imaging and radiology procedures
  • 51,000 referrals processed via the Central Appointments Team for medical specialists and allied health providers anywhere in the country
  • 75,000 invoices consolidated by ADFIT to make a single monthly bill for JHC
  • 77,000 medical specialist services provided
  • 45,000 allied health services provided
  • 11,000 hospital services provided
  • 66,000 rehabilitation assessments, helping ADF Members recover from injury and return to work
  • 72,000 optical tests and items

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