PSR Newsletter, June 2023
Message from the Acting Director
Welcome to the June 2023 edition of the PSR Panel Newsletter.
Thank you to those who were able to attend the recent Panel training, both online and in person. And huge thanks Travis and his elves for speedy resolution of the online gremlins. It was fantastic to see both new and old faces again and talk with so many of you in person.
Many of you bring decades of experience in sitting on complex and challenging Committees, and new members bring great experience in their chosen fields for our important work. There is an extraordinary amount of ‘other work’ involved in PSR, much of it done by the team I work with every day, and for which I’m so grateful. But when it comes to the Committee stage of our process, the toughest part – the decision making – is what I’m so grateful to you all for. Collating large amounts of information, applying wisdom, experience and knowledge, and then reaching decisions, is what we do every day in clinical practice – often many times a day. It is what Committees do too, but in an often different and unfamiliar environment. You do this with fairness and integrity, in accord with the Act under which we are authorised, and I want to thank you all for your efforts and the work that you do to make these sometimes incredibly hard decisions.
That “incredible work” I mentioned earlier? Well, this role has really opened my eyes to the excellence of this place, and its people – they are driven by ethics and values, and deliver their support to the scheme with integrity. The support that the Director and Committees require in the carrying out of their functions is delivered by these amazing people.
As discussed at training in the past weekends, when asked about “What is the PSR”, it’s relatively complex but clearly articulated by its purpose. But as for “Who is the PSR”, to a very great extent it is those wonderful people in the office, and every one of you - thank you for being part of this team, and please continue bringing the best of yourselves to this important work.
We continue to face outwards to link and communicate with the professions through engagement with colleges, representative bodies, the Department, the MDOs, the educational institutions, and with Doctors health and well-being services. Our new practitioner handbook has just been published and available on our site, and is an 80 page volume completely rewritten, with a view to giving PURs as much information as possible about the process.
Thanks all for being part of our team, and best wishes from us all.
In the period from 1 March 2023 to 31 May 2023 the Agency received 18 new requests, including 4 practitioners who had previously been referred. The Agency finalised 26 requests. This comprised:
- 16 ratified section 92 agreements
- 2 effective final determinations
- 8 section 91 ‘no further action’ outcomes
A total of $6,323,275 in repayment directions were made from the finalised matters.
Of the finalised matters, 16 involved a partial disqualification from the MBS.
In this period 5 new peer review Committees were established and 1 practitioner was referred to AHPRA either due non-compliance with professional standards.
A summary of all cases, can be found in the case outcomes on the PSR Website.
May Panel Training
Thank you to everyone who turned up at both the Melbourne and Sydney Panel training. It was fantastic to see so many people attending both and actively participating.
Many interesting discussions were had and some great questions were asked at both – although Melbourne definitely holds the top spot for our suggestion box requests.
A number of important reminders and requests for everyone at the events that are also listed below for everyone.
Your online Privacy training is due by 30 June and once complete, please send your certificates to HrEnquiries@psr.gov.au
Also, please re-look at your Conflict of Interest form and if there is anything that might need updating. More information on Conflict of Interest and what this could look like is below.
Conflict of Interest
A recent audit has highlighted the importance of appropriately documenting any Conflict of Interest (COI) issues that may arise. Do you need to re-disclose?
When looking at what a COI is, there are several definitions, however the below one is probably one of the best:
when your personal interests, affiliations or relationship impact, have the potential to impact, or could be perceived to impact, on your impartiality or result in an incompatibility with your official duties
A COI is different to bias – which can result in a court case potentially being overturned – however it still needs to be managed. A few examples of each are below:
Conflict of Interest
As such, we are asking everyone to review what they have reported on their previous form and consider if this needs updating.
Matters to disclose may include:
- financial interests such as small business ownership, company directorships or partnerships, shareholdings, trusts or nominee companies, gifts and benefits
- employment relationships such as previous or present employment (including paid, unpaid or voluntary outside employment), participation on boards or committees, memberships or affiliations with associations, community groups and other organisations (either past or present)
- personal and family relationships or associations (either past or present)
The overriding principle to consider for a declaration should be: if in doubt, declare the interest. As always though, if you have any questions, please call Margaret or Andrew to discuss.
If you need a new form, please contact us to get one. All COI information is kept in the strictest confidentiality.
Accessing material from overseas – Privacy provisions
This is not something that should be happening.
Accessing files through GovTEAMS overseas is NOT secure and should NOT be done. If you are going to be overseas for a period of time that overlaps with PSR work, please contact us to discuss.
Warning – Fake emails!
There has been a spate of fake emails recently – everyone is advised to check email address details to ensure the sender is who has actually sent the email. Some PSR emails have recently been copied and sent out from fake email addresses…
If in doubt – call us to confirm the email was really sent from us and do not open any files or links.
New Guide to the PSR Review Process
We have published a new, updated Guide to the Professional Services Review process.
Our new guide provides a more comprehensive overview of the process in one place for anyone who needs to understand the review process and is available on our website now.
Social Media – PSR is now on LinkedIn
We now have a LinkedIn account for PSR! Our LinkedIn site has gone live and we are posting weekly information – have a look today and follow us at:
Federal Court Outcomes
Some recent Federal Court decisions are summarised on PSR’s website:
Barnes v Director of Professional Services Review  FCA 129 concerning the Director’s decision to establish a Committee of peers. The summary for this matter can be found in the February Case Outcomes.
Hamor v Determining Authority & the Commonwealth  FCA 267 concerning the terms of the Determining Authority’s final determination. The summary for this matter can be found in the March Case Outcomes.
Soryal v Director of Professional Services Review  FCA 326 concerning the Director’s decision to establish a Committee of peers. The summary for this matter can be found in the April Case Outcomes.
What was in the PSR suggestion box?
Those of you attending Panel member training will recall you had the ability to put suggestions into the PSR suggestion box. Thank you to everyone who participated and let us know what we can do to make your lives easier. Please also know that the suggestion box was not your only opportunity to provide feedback and you can reach out with feedback at any time via Feedback@psr.gov.au
The suggestions received largely fell into 3 categories. The first related to provision of training. Thank you in particular Melbourne and remote participants who endured some tech issues and rest assured we have learnt from the experience. There were requests that training slides be provided, which we are facilitating, and for training to be more accessible at the point-in-time that you need it. PSR will work on developing some virtual training modules in specific areas such as completion of timesheets and processes for Committee payments. If there are any areas you consider short training videos would assist, please let us know. You also asked to be able to evaluate the training session with a post-training questionnaire, which will be coming out from PSR soon.
The second category related largely to the role of education and to improving the clarity of the MBS item descriptors. PSR understands the importance of these issues and has a strong relationship with the Department of Health and Aged Care who has policy responsibility both for practitioner education and for MBS item descriptors. PSR meets with the department regularly to provide feedback on these issues.
The third category was actually a series of very specific questions, such as whether the 80/20 rule and 30/20 rule applies to specialists (in some instances – more information below), whether people can re-do their conflict of interest forms (you can) and what rights practitioners have to challenge Committee appointments (they can challenge on the basis of bias). This is not an exhaustive list, but again if you ever wake up at night with a pressing PSR question, or you are just a little uncertain about something, contact one of our team and we will get back to you with an answer.
Further information on the 80/20 and 30/20 rules are in the below links:
Continuing Education (CME/CPD)
Any Panel members or consultants who have completed work for PSR and require evidence for continuing education points, please contact Megan Kilby at PanelandDA@psr.gov.au