Catholic health body criticises funds' failure to cover costs of hospitals
    Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has raised the alarm over the failure of health insurance to meet the real costs of hospital care.
    Commenting on the release of the Private Health Insurance Administration Council September quarter figures, CHA executive director, Francis Sullivan said: "These figures only confirm that increased membership is not relieving private hospitals or their consumers of the real cost of care."
    CHA is the peak body of Catholic health care institutions, Australia's single largest grouping of non government health care services.
    "Despite a further membership increase of 11%, private hospitals have only received an increase in benefits of 2%," Mr Sullivan continued. "This is during the same period where hospital workloads have increased by 8% for their sickest patients. Ironically, there has been a massive 31% increase in doctor payments. Yet the reimbursement for nurses wages, allied health professionals, drugs and medical supplies continues to slide."
    He said the figures demonstrate that health funds are not meeting the costs of hospital care for their sickest and most needy members.
    "This is clearly unsustainable and will lead to new patient bills unless the health funds immediately draw down on their windfall gains," he said.