I had a reason to go to the Department of Health and Ageing website; I couldn’t believe my eyes. It looks like an interactive pamphlet for the ALP.
It is really impossible to fathom what the more than 5000 DOHA public servants actually do, apart from servicing the ridiculous number of committees. (Note that DOHA is a policy department – yeh, right- and that Medicare is in the Department of Human Services. It is actually the largest policy department.)
Check out this example of spruiking by DOHA of the Dental Reform package, which actually hasn’t started and does not start for some time. Disgraceful.
The Government’s $4.1 billion Dental Reform package contains three initiatives:
Grow Up Smiling will commence from 1 January 2014. This $2.7 billion measure will provide a Commonwealth funded capped benefit entitlement for basic dental services for children. Around 3.4 million children aged 2-17 in families who meet a means test will be eligible for benefits each year. The means test will be the same as the existing Medicare Teen Dental Plan (MTDP), which requires receipt of Family Tax Benefit Part A or other certain government payments. Grow Up Smiling will replace the MTDP from 1 January 2014.
Services for basic essential dental treatment, such as check-ups, x-rays, fillings and extractions will be included in Grow Up Smiling. High end (crowns, bridges, root canal) and orthodontic items are excluded. The total benefit entitlement will be capped at $1,000 per child over a two year period.
National Partnership Agreement (NPA) for adult public dental services
The Government will provide $1.3 billion to states and territories from 1 July 2014 under a NPA to expand services for adults in the public dental system. The funding will assist up to 1.4 million low income adults to receive dental services.
This measure builds on the 2012-13 Dental Waiting List NPA, which is focused on treating the 400,000 adults currently on public dental waiting lists.
The NPA will provide longer-term certainty and will allow the public system to move away from a focus on emergency crisis management to prevention and oral health promotion.
The NPA’s deliverables will be customised for each state and territory depending on the demonstrated local needs and progress under the 2012-13 Dental Waiting List NPA.
Flexible grants program
Under the Flexible Grants Program a total of $225 million will be provided for dental infrastructure (both capital and workforce) in outer metropolitan, rural and regional areas to assist in reducing access barriers for people living in these areas. The grants may also be used for targeted programs to address other gaps in service delivery.Examples of projects that could be funded include: innovative models of care to help reach people in more isolated locations; building new public dental clinics in regional centres; refurbishing ageing clinics; and dental facilities in aged care accommodation.
Organisations from the public and private sector will be able to apply. Further details on eligibility will be available in late 2013 when the Department publishes the Invitation to Apply for funding under the Program.
The website also makes much of the ehealth initiatives. I remain convinced that ehealth is one of the most expensive and wasteful white elephants of this government but manages to fly under the radar. I wonder what the numbers are of individuals who have taken up the individual electronic records.
The real beneficiaries are the mendicant, overcharging IT consultants and the witless public servants who oversee this program.