Co-payment will inflate state health bills by millions: research suggests

If one in 10 patients head to a hospital instead of a GP, the WA state government could face an annual hit of up to $158 million, while the Commonwealth would see an MBS windfall of around $90 million.

Two WA researchers prepared a model of cash flow changes between individuals, the state of WA, and the Commonwealth which examined the cost of GP patients diverting from GP surgeries to local hospitals. 

Author Dr Alasdair Millar, from Albany Regional Hospital, told MO the $158 million figure was a worst case scenario but nobody could say for sure how many patients would present to EDs as a result of the government's plan.

On a “conservative” marginal utilisation cost of $50 per ED attendance with a 5% patient diversion rate from GPs, the state would face a $35 million hit. A diversion rate of 10% would raise the cost closer to $90 million. 

Dr Millar said the $50 figure was from literature over a decade old and the