18 Dec 2022

ACC eyes scan funding shake-up after $112m blowout amid lack of public health capacity

6:31 am on 18 December 2022
In Control Room Doctor and Radiologist Discuss Diagnosis while Watching Procedure and Monitors Showing Brain Scans Results, In the Background Patient Undergoes MRI or CT Scan Procedure.

More people are getting scans and they are more complex (file picture). Photo: Gorodenkoff Productions OU / 123RF

ACC is moving towards a shake-up of how it funds tens of millions of dollars of scans for patients.

The Accident Compensation Corporation is the country's largest single funder of high-tech imaging such as MRI and CT scans.

It had just received a report on a new pricing framework, the agency said.

It was waiting on a review of the rates it pays to go alongside that, and also to consult the sector, before it revealed more, it said.

"We expect this to be completed early next year," chief clinical officer and head of health partnerships, Dr John Robson, said.

ACC is grappling with a budget blowout to $112 million of scans last year as people get more done and they get ever-more complex.

An earlier ACC review showed the rates it pays private radiology providers are well above Australia or the UK.

The radiology sector is in flux as masses of investment flows into private providers while hospitals struggle to cope with lack of workers and technology weaknesses.

Factions among private providers are fighting among each other, too, with a case going to the High Court earlier this month.

The aim of that is to force ACC to reconsider funding for private radiology practices owned by surgeons, as opposed to owned by radiologists or private equity firms.

Robson said they expected a ruling on that next year.

"It is important to recognise, though, that the judicial review by one group of radiologists stands alone and is not part of a wider policy review" of high-tech imaging, he said.

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