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Monday, August 15, 2022

UnitingCare Queensland becomes first non-Catholic organisation to join CHA

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Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has today announced that UnitingCare Queensland has become its 40th member — and the first non-Catholic provider to join. 

CHA is Australia’s largest non-government grouping of health and aged care services, accounting for around 10 per cent of hospital-based healthcare in Australia.

Its members also provide around 25 percent of private hospital care, five percent of public hospital care, 12 percent of aged care facilities, and 20 percent of home care and support for the elderly.

At a meeting on June 22, CHA members resolved to amend its constitution to permit the inclusion of any “organisation that conducts and controls a health, aged care and/or community care service, and which service or facility is conducted, to the satisfaction of the Board, as a not-for-profit and in the spirit of Christ’s ministry of healing”.

Workforce supply challenges, the ongoing pandemic, health and construction inflation and ongoing prostheses reform impact on all of our mission. Together, we can bring about much needed change.

CHA CEO, Pat Garcia

This amendment will enable other not-for-profit Christian health, aged care and/or community care providers to take part in CHA’s growing influential advocacy, community and ministry.

CHA CEO Pat Garcia said he was delighted to welcome UnitingCare to the peak body, describing it as ‘a historic moment for Catholic Health Australia and for our ministry’.

“I am grateful to our members and to our church leaders for embracing this wonderful ecumenical opportunity,” he said.

“We’re delighted to represent UnitingCare’s four hospitals: The Wesley and St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospitals in Brisbane, St Stephen’s Hospital in Hervey Bay and Buderim Private Hospital on the Sunshine Coast.

Garcia said it is important that there is a focus on the fundamental challenges impacting the members’ shared ministry and present a united front on the reforms needed to better help those who need their care.

“Workforce supply challenges, the ongoing pandemic, health and construction inflation and ongoing prostheses reform impact on all of our mission,” he said.

“Together, we can bring about much needed change.

“I know all of us at CHA are proud to represent a quality values-based provider like UnitingCare.”

UnitingCare’s group executive [for] hospitals, Michael Krieg, said he was very pleased to join CHA, and participate with other like-minded providers to consolidate the voices of Christian health care providers.

“This union enables UnitingCare to take advantage of CHA’s growing influential advocacy in health, and provide our communities with greater certainty about the services they have come to expect from UnitingCare,” he said.

Meanwhile, CHA said it welcomes the passage of crucial legislation – the first from the Albanese Government – that paves the way for a new and more transparent funding regime for aged care providers.

It said the passage of the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Bill 2022 through the Parliament today signals a positive start for the Albanese Government in its pledge to reform the aged care sector.

Catholic not-for-profit aged care providers welcome the creation of a new independent pricing authority, greater protections for aged care residents and new powers for the regulator.

CHA director of aged care Jason Kara said the passage of the bill is a positive start and sets the sector on a path of much-needed reform.

“It is encouraging that the first bill to pass in this new parliament is a response to the royal commission which handed down its final report almost 18 months ago,” he said.

“The real work of implementation begins today.

“Our members stand by ready to work with the Government on the detail of the new funding model that will deliver more funds and delivers higher quality care to residents.

“We welcome the publication of provider financial information and the creation of the expanded Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority.

“We will continue to lobby to ensure that the Authority’s annual advice on prices will be publicly available to support continued improvements in client outcomes.”

Kara said CHA is confident that this legislation and continued reform will usher in a new era of cooperation between government, regulators and providers to ensure standards of care rise.

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