A 50/50 shared funding agreement has been reached between the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments to ensure a rapid health response to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak.
Announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison the Commonwealth is to pay 50 per cent of additional costs incurred by State and Territory health services as a result of the diagnosis and treatment of patients with COVID-19, those suspected of having the virus or activities to prevent the spread of it.
“This support will be uncapped and demand driven and our funding will rise in response to the changing health needs of Australians,” Mr Morrison said.
“We estimate a likely partnership of $1 billion to meet state health costs including $500 million of Commonwealth funding.”
He said that under the proposed agreement, an immediate $100 million advance payment would be delivered, on a population basis, to support States and Territories.
“This support will cover health services provided by State or Territory governments in public hospitals, primary care, aged care and community health expenditure, such as health-related activities in childcare centres,” the Prime Minister said.
He said the National Partnership Agreement would be backdated to 21 January – the date that ‘human coronavirus with pandemic potential’ was identified as a Listed Human Disease under the Biosecurity Act 2015.
“Our support will be aimed at protecting patients, particularly people with chronic conditions, and aged care residents – the groups most at risk of serious illness from the virus,” Mr Morrison said.
He said the Commonwealth would also meet 100 per cent of the costs of additional Medicare services such as Medicare Telehealth or home visits, increased Medicare pathology services, and the national medical stockpile.