In this edition:

Proposed changes to DGR status for non-charities

The Commonwealth Treasury has released a discussion paper on the proposed reforms to the deductible gift recipient (DGR) status system. The proposed reforms aim to strengthen governance arrangements, reduce administrative complexity and ensure an organisation’s DGR status is up-to-date.

The proposed reforms include:

  • requiring all DGRs to be charities registered with the ACNC;
  • simplifying the application process by transferring the four DGR registers to the ATO; and
  • introducing annual certification ensuring that an organisation meets DGR eligibility criteria.

Interested parties have been invited to comment on the proposals. The discussion paper can be accessed here.

Second Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation 2017

The second Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation (Atlas) was launched by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care on 7 June 2017 and was developed in conjunction with the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, specialist medical colleges, clinicians and public representatives.

The Atlas details variations in health treatments provided throughout Australia, with the aim of assisting health specialists and clinicians to ensure patients receive the best treatment.

The Atlas identifies hysterectomies, endometrial ablation, chronic conditions and knee replacements as priorities for investigation and action. The Atlas also emphasises the need to look into hospitalisation rates for chronic and cardiovascular conditions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, patients in remote areas and those with socioeconomic disadvantage. The Atlas also includes a section on women’s health.

The Atlas analysed preventable hospitalisations and revealed that 47% of preventable hospitalisations in 2014-15 were linked to only five specific areas. This was met with recommendations for further involvement by all areas of the health care sector to improve treatment in these areas.

The Atlas and more information can be found here.

Medical Board of Australia v Griffiths [2017] VCAT 822

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal) has found that Dr Griffiths, a sole medical practitioner in rural Victoria, engaged in professional misconduct and/or unprofessional conduct in relation to the treatment of nine patients over approximately 15 years.

The Tribunal found that Dr Griffiths:

  • inappropriately prescribed medication;
  • inappropriately treated a person with whom he shared a close personal relationship;
  • kept inadequate notes and records;
  • prescribed a drug of dependence in circumstances where he knew or ought to have known that the patient was a drug-dependent person; and
  • breached his permit obligations by prescribing Schedule 8 poisons without permits, after the expiry of the permits and in excess of maximum specified doses.

The Tribunal noted that Dr Griffiths’ case highlighted the hazards of high workloads for sole general practitioners in rural practices and the pressures practitioners can be placed under, when treating patients with whom they share a close personal connection.

Dr Griffiths was reprimanded and had his registration suspended for three months. He was ordered to submit to audits of his practice, undertake education in relation to drugs and poisons legislation and the Code of Conduct for doctors in Australia and to undertake a period of mentoring.

To read more click here.