Medicare Locals funding formula undecided

WITH just two months before the first Medical Locals (MLs) begin operations, Health Minister Nicola Roxon has insisted preparations for their rollout are on schedule, despite the fact her department is yet to decide how it will allocate funds to the new bodies.

With the first 15 MLs set to open for business on 1 July, the Department of Health confirmed to MO last week it was still developing the formula for how it will distribute funding from the $416 million earmarked to set up the bodies.

It is understood the national formula, which incorporates socioeconomic, population and geographic factors, is being devised by Access Economics. It will then be sent to the department, which will consult the AGPN – a process also yet to occur.

A spokesperson for Ms Roxon said the development of the formula was continuing with the announcement of the first 15 MLs – chosen from a pool of 58 tenders – expected within weeks.