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The Austrian government is promoting the creation of health purchasing agencies on state and federal level in order to optimise resource utilization, enhance integration of service delivery and pool financial resources to improve purchasing. The main task of these agencies is to purchase services according to predefined quality standards and prices. If implemented, the creation of these agencies would constitute the most important health sector reform since the Social Security Act 1955.
To enhance planning, control and financing competence the Austrian government is promoting the creation of health purchasing agencies. The main task of these agencies is to purchase services on the "health market" according to predefined quality standards and prices. If implemented, the creation of Health Purchasing Agencies would constitute the most important health sector reform since the Social Security Act was enacted in 1955.
In 2000 the idea of a Family Hospice Sabbatical was generated to further unburden the public health care sector facilitating family care for dying relatives or severely ill children at home. Austrian employees would have three options: uncompensated reduction of work time, change of work time or uncompensated sabbatical. The care giver can take care of spouses, partners, parents, grant parents, children, step children, foster kids, siblings and step parents.
As a part of social policy, the Austrian government adopted a plan for long-term care. The plan seeks to provide equal access to health care regardless of peoples? income. It enables people to purchase health care services according to their needs and secures staying at home as long as possible. Currently, more than 80 percent of people older than 60 years are receiving health care at home.
The two main reasons for a future cost increase in the pharmaceutical sector in Austria are the demographic development and medical progress.In order to contain cost increases the policy purses two objectives: Introduction of a new price formation procedure and increased generic consumption to 20% of all prescribed drugs by 2006.
Authorisation of health insurance funds to collect socially adjusted user fees with simultaneous abolishment of charges for health insurance voucher and outpatient care.
As a part of the new Austrian government's programme for the next legislative period, contribution rates will be equalized at 7.3% of income for blue and white collar workers. The growing deficit of health insurance funds calls for additional revenue; other measures foresee an additional contribution rate for non-work-accidents and an annual 0.25 point increase of the pensioners? contribution from currently 3.75% to 4.75%.
Based on a verdict by the Constitutional Court, the Federation of Social Security Institutions (FSSI) needs to be reorganized. The FSSI is a self-governing umbrella body of 25 Austrian social insurance funds. The Court stated that the current structure of the Federation was unconstitutional because it lacked democratic legitimization and its tasks were not clearly defined.
In the Austrian state of Vorarlberg an idea of creating a state led purchase fund was launched. Through optimizing resources allocation and proper planning and financing at the state level, the idea seeks to narrow the gap between inpatient and outpatient care. It enhances sharing of reponsibilities in between state government and sickness funds. It is believed that this re-organization is the result of successful lobbying of People Party state politicians in favour of federalism.