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HCF patients to lose cover at major Sydney hospitals

Scamps was highly critical of the public-private partnership model, saying that the public outpatient services are not comparable to those in a conventional public hospital, due to the co-location of private practice.

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NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, who stressed that the majority of patients in Northern Beaches receive public treatment, said Scamps’ comments were “disappointing”, arguing “practitioners and nurses who used to work in those two small old public hospitals, are now very proud of the work they are doing in the new hospital”.

“We have a world-class public hospital, which has treated hundreds of thousands of public patients in four years,” he said.

The Minister of Health was optimistic that an agreement would be reached between HCF and Healthscope.

“Negotiations between health insurance funds and hospitals are not new and I expect they will resolve their issues, hopefully sooner rather than later,” he said.

Healthscope terminated its agreement with HCF earlier this month, ending a 20-year relationship. HCF processed approximately 76,000 claims annually for Healthscope services across Australia.

In August, the non-profit insurer signed a five-year deal with Ramsay Health Care, which operates most of Sydney’s other major private hospitals, including The San.

“We enter into negotiations with our service and offer partners the mindset of members first, looking for opportunities to collaborate in activities that create value, such as ensuring members have choice, as evidenced by the recent announcement of our Ramsay partnership said an HCF spokesman.

“Unfortunately, Healthscope has put profit and recovery of lost margin due to COVID before patients and willingly acknowledges that they will focus on maintaining public health waiting lists and confidently over private health insurers.”

A Healthscope spokesperson disagreed with this assessment of her priorities.

“While Healthscope does valuable work in support of the public health sector, our priority is to provide quality care and treatment for privately insured patients, who represent the vast majority of our patient volumes,” they said, adding “the cost of providing this care should be properly and fairly funded by insurers”.

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The spokesman said it would continue to negotiate with HCF “in the hope of reaching an acceptable agreement”.

It is not the first time that a major healthcare provider and insurer have ended their relationship this year.

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Jacky

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