Victoria is owed millions: minister says

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy

The Victorian government has announced revised figures show the federal government owes them almost $2.3 million for services performed at Albury-Wodonga Health – up from the $940,000 the state government claimed previously. 

A spokeswoman said the overall figure “owed to Victorians”, $104 million, had not changed the department had just looked into each hospital’s funding type which changed the figures breakdown.

Previously

The Victorian government claims its federal counterparts are putting lives at risk by delaying a $940,000 payment for covering additional patients at Albury-Wodonga Health, and $100 million statewide.

However a spokesman for the federal Health Minister claims final payments will be made in the coming months after the completion of a review into irregular funding activity. 

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy claimed Malcolm Turnbull had conceded late last year the state was owed money but had failed to reimburse the Victorian government for treating tens of thousands of extra patients, putting the future funding of hospitals at risk. 

She said the shortfall created uncertainty for hospitals trying to plan for future patient demand, so the state government had to top up funding while waiting for the reimbursement.

“Victorians deserve to know why Malcolm Turnbull is once again short-changing them – this time at the expense of their health,” Ms Hennessy said.

“It’s not good enough.”

The claims come as Victoria’s Labor government enters the year of state elections.

It also followed Victoria’s criticism and abandonment of the federal Liberal Coalition government’s black spot program.

A spokesman for the federal health minister did not confirm the monetary amounts but said a review was under way into 2015-16 funding with final payments to be made in coming months.

“The Independent Hospital Pricing Authority and the National Health Funding Body are undertaking an assessment of irregular and unexpected activity in 2015-16, and this review is expected to be completed shortly,” he said. 

“This is an independent process to which both the Commonwealth and the states have long committed.”

Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said the $940,265 owed for additional treatments at Albury-Wodonga was the equivalent of six more nurses for the hospital.

She said the $104 million owed to the state was equivalent too 100,222 chemotherapy treatments, or more than 650 extra nurses statewide. 

“I’m very concerned about these budget cuts to prop up the federal Liberal-National Party’s budget bottom line at the expense of country patients’ health,” she said.

The National Health Funding Pool Administrator was unavailable for comment.