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CEO’s year in review

James Downie CEO2018–19 proved to be another busy year for IHPA.

Reflecting on the agency’s achievements over the past year, IHPA made significant progress with its work program. Its contribution to provide safe and high-quality health care can be seen through the many successful policy proposals presented throughout the year.

These policy priorities guided the strategic direction for our work as we continued to design the pricing systems to deliver high‑quality, efficient and safe public hospital services for all Australians.

Key highlights

As well as setting the National Efficient Price and National Efficient Cost, we continued to develop and refine classification, counting and costing systems, which underpin the national activity based funding system.

A significant part of IHPA’s work program for 2018–19 continued to be shaped by the safety and quality measures agreed by all Australian governments in 2016.

Last year, we presented the final stage of this work by developing new pricing approaches for avoidable hospital readmissions. These approaches are being trialled for a two‑year shadow period from 1 July 2019.

2018–19 was a remarkable year in new classification development. IHPA finalised the first version of the new Australian Emergency Care Classification. We updated the admitted acute classification — Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups Version 10.0, which was the first time IHPA had undertaken this work in‑house.

IHPA hosted another successful annual conference on activity based funding, which attracted around 440 healthcare professionals (see Activity Based Funding Conference 2019).

Last but by no means least, we launched the WRITEitRIGHT®mobile application in January 2019. Developed as part of a suite of educational tools, this app aims to support the broad safety and quality reforms. It can help to reference the right diagnostic terms faster and more accurately. The app has been downloaded over 1,200 times, and IHPA continues to receive positive feedback from clinicians and health information managers alike.

Investing in partnerships

The achievements throughout 2018–19 would not be possible without the dedicated input and collaboration from our many stakeholders.

Responding to stakeholder needs and expectations continues to drive improvements in every area of our work. Following stakeholder feedback, in 2018 IHPA commenced a fundamental review of the National Pricing Model to inform future Determinations, which may better deliver on the objectives in the National Health Reform Agreement.


I take this opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of the Pricing Authority, particularly to our outgoing Deputy Chair Mr Jim Birch. Jim was an initial Authority member in 2012, and has had a significant influence on the course the Authority has taken over the past seven years. I also wish to thank the Clinical Advisory Committee for their expert guidance to deliver a clinically-relevant annual program of work.

I extend my thanks to the IHPA staff for their support and commitment once again. I am delighted to be leading an agency that strives for excellence in delivering its purpose.

IHPA continues to place great value in work‑life balance to help create a more productive and inclusive workplace. We have built a diverse, gender‑balanced senior-level leadership team. We also focus on creating a culture that fosters innovation, and one where leaders are committed to supporting and enabling our staff to achieve their best for themselves, the organisation and the Australian public.

Year ahead

In the year ahead, IHPA will continue its strategic direction as outlined in its Corporate Plan 2019–20 to ensure that we continue to deliver our core purpose.

James Downie SignatureJames Downie
Chief Executive Officer, IHPA
12 September 2019