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CEO's report.

"Collectively the Board and management have worked on a range of measures to ensure that we drive suppliers for best value, while our team continues to look for new revenue streams and remove unnecessary costs from our operations."

Welcome to the Spring Edition of JATMS for 2013 and wow, what a turbulent period for our industry.

Since the last Journal we have had the TGA propose changes to the advertising requirements for practitioner-only products, potentially affecting the ongoing livelihoods of all those of our members practising ingestive therapies. Medibank has taken several steps regarding remedial massage practitioners and Australian Unity has announced changes to their entry level acceptance for remedial massage therapists.

I will use this column to try' and address the multitude of questions that all this has raised, and before I start I just want to thank my team at Meadowbank who have had to rise to the additional workload of enquiries that these impacts on our industry have caused. Where possible we have tried to answer each and every phone call or email; in some cases a bulk response has been offered and for those who follow us on FaceBook we have responded regularly through this social media channel.

Board matters

As mentioned in our last edition, an election was to take place at the May Board meeting. It is my pleasure to announce that long standing Director and Life Member Maggie Sands was appointed as your new President. To support Maggie, David Stelfox has been appointed Senior Vice-President and Stephen Eddey has stepped up to be our other Vice-President. Simone Sleep was appointed as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Audit and Compliance Committee, however due to her resignation from the Board, Antoinette Balnave has stepped up to be your Treasurer.

Some have asked what we are going to do to fill the vacancies on the Board. The present Constitution of ATMS does not permit the filling of casual vacancies, such as those we are presently faced with. In conjunction with your Board we are currently working through a new Constitution which we hope to present to members in the early

Financials

I am delighted to announce that we have made a surplus of $203K during the 2012/13 financial year. This result is significant on a number of counts. It is the first significant surplus posted in several years, coming off a loss of $155K the previous year and also based on projections when I took over the role of CEO that we were again headed for a significant six figure loss.

Collectively the Board and management have worked on a range of measures to ensure that we drive suppliers for best value, while our team continues to look for new revenue streams and remove unnecessary costs from our operations.

Introduced panel of experts to replace heads of departments

The Board has agreed to discontinue the role of Heads of Department. The HODs have been replaced with a Panel of Experts across each of the modalities, and not just one but several have been asked to assist to ensure that we can respond more quickly to media requests, member enquiries and the like.

New structure for state representatives

The Board has decided to alter the way that State Representatives operate and has chosen a new name, simply 'Representative', to identify them. I would like to thank all previous State Representatives for their contributions and notify you that we will be in contact with you all shortly to outline the plan for the future: in short, a reduced geographic area to cover, more regular contact via the office at Meadowbank to ensure key initiatives are well explained, and assistance with member forums.

Office Administration/Staff

To assist with the number of activities presently before us I am excited to welcome Cass Zogbee to the team at Meadowbank as Executive Assistant for 25 hours per week. Cass's primary role is to support the Board and management team. Cass has a strong administrative background, including policy development and executive support, and was previously PA to the CEO and COO of Greyhounds NSW.

Health funds--Medibank and Australian Unity

As members would be well aware, health funds are reviewing their entry conditions and qualification requirements, which has affected some of our members. Presently ATMS is working with Medibank and Australian Unity to ensure that the impacts on members are not adverse. In the case of Australian Unity, it may require that some members consider upgrading their qualifications should they wish to continue to be recognised by that body.

Some practitioners simply have not been doing the right thing, and as many of you have pointed out to me, unfortunately the very few make it so tough for the rest. In total, Medibank has removed 55 practitioners across 250 locations nationwide. In most cases Medibank has suggested these people contact their Association to ensure that their recording of clinical records meets our requirements. This was the primary reason for our recent series of seminars on this subject.

I am confident that the remaining issues, such as new members being accepted onto Medibank's system and flexibility as to where your clinic may operate from, will be clarified before this edition of the Journal hits the streets.

Members should be reminded that your provider number is for your exclusive use and is not to be shared. It should be kept safely so that others cannot access it. Additionally this number cannot be used at more than one location simultaneously. If you require further information on these points contact our offices immediately.

Response to the TGA

The TGA has been overwhelmed by responses to the consultation on regulating the advertising of therapeutic goods to the general public. They have received over 21,000 representations opposing the option to exclude naturopaths, herbalists and homoeopathic practitioners as health care professionals in relation to advertising. The TGA is now looking at a new option that includes a method of identifying appropriately trained non-AHPR A healthcare providers. Stay tuned for all the latest info.

Private health funds review

The next meeting of the Natural Therapies Review Advisory Committee (NTRAC) will be held in Canberra on 8 August and further presentations are being made to the panel. A final decision is expected in January 2014; however we have heard that an interim report may be circulated as soon as September. We will continue to keep members informed of this key development by regular newsletters as information comes to hand.

AGM

Our AGM will be held on Sunday 22 September at the Twin Towns Resort, Tweed Heads, NSW. Commencing at 9:20 a.m. ATMS will look at the past and the future of Natural Medicine, as well as unveiling a new marketing campaign for ATMS and members. The day will conclude with the business matters of our AGM and finish with drinks and nibbles. The day is free to all members, but only accredited and life members may vote. To indicate your attendance, to assist with catering, please visit www.atmsagm.com.au or call 1800 456 855

Co-regulatory model

One thing is for certain: the TGA's advertised proposed reforms have stirred the need to speed up and pull those modalities affected together. Which model do we follow? Well, ATMS has for some time now advocated for a Co-Regulatory model, mainly due to indications from the regulators that heading down a statutory pathway as suggested by many other groups will simply just not happen, certainly not in the immediate future.

ATMS is presently continuing to work with the NMR and other groups to establish the best way forward and I encourage you to visit our website to bring yourself up to speed on what this means for you as a practitioner.

As always for further information please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Regards,

Trevor Le Breton | Chief Executive Officer
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Title Annotation:Australian Traditional Medicine Society
Author:Breton, Trevor Le
Publication:Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Sep 1, 2013
Words:1312
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