A systematic approach that:
- Delivers appropriate levels of funding to support the best individual care, when and where it is needed.
- Addresses the health gaps in Australia, providing a fair go for those who need it the most.
- Empowers consumers within a responsive and strong health system that puts individuals at the centre of care.
Chronic disease is the leading cause of poor health and costs the health system billions of dollars each year:
- About half of all Australians have a chronic disease.
- Approximately one in five Australians are affected by multiple chronic diseases.
- Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease are associated with around 1.8 million hospitalisations, which is 20% of all hospitalisations in Australia.
Accredited exercise physiology (AEP) is being misrepresented within many Private Health Insurance member services as a naturopathic, complementary or an alternative therapy:
Exercise physiology has a strong evidence base to support its effectiveness in the treatment and prevention of chronic or complex diseases, unlike many complementary therapies. Classifying exercise physiology as a natural, alternative or complementary therapy is therefore potentially misleading both for consumers and referring health professionals. It also creates potential barriers for consumers to access beneficial AEP services.
AEPs are regarded as part of the allied health workforce within the Australian Government’s Department of Health workforce policy planning.
Health insurers must consider including a health rebate for AEP services as a core component within their health insurance packages. This should cover individual and group services:
Regular exercise is a strongly evidence-based treatment for multiple chronic diseases, including but not limited to:
- diabetes and other metabolic conditions
- cardiovascular disease
- musculoskeletal conditions
- some cancers
- osteoporosis and falls prevention
- arthritic conditions
Cost of inaction
- Poor management of chronic disease costs more than AUD$320 million a year.
- Approximately 4.5 million years were lost to premature death or living with an illness in Australia during 2011.
- Nine in ten deaths have chronic disease as an underlying cause.
- Improved access to AEP services is a preventative strategy which will improve the health of health fund members and reduce costs.
- AEP services must be represented as an allied health service, consistent with the recognition and inclusion of exercise physiology services under the Medicare Chronic Disease Management allied health services items.
- Access to AEPs should be a basic health right, not restricted only to those who can afford top tier health insurance policies.
- AEPs are qualified exercise professionals who provide effective exercise physiology services for the prevention of chronic disease.