AHIA National Conference 2007

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The Annual Conference of the Australian Health Insurance Association will explore ways in which Private Health Care will be provided a decade from now, in an “Over the Horizon” scan of the challenges ahead.

Key issues include the future health needs and demands of the Australian community, the burgeoning capabilities and price of Technology, the opportunity for improved care with a focus on Quality and Safety, and the future forms the Industry itself may take over the next decade.

These challenges will be discussed by international experts and key Australian thinkers, providing a stimulating and thought provoking Conference.

The potential for better health care and improved outcomes for Fund members is great, and the Conference will give a snap shot of the issues the Industry will need to address to be fully prepared for health care in 2017.

Click on each of the speaker’s name below to view their bio and download their presentations in PDF version. Presentation downloads are available for all invited speakers that have approved their work for web publication.

Invited Speakers, Biographies & Presentations

Hon. Tony Abbott MHR, Minister for Health and Ageing


Professor Louise A Baur, Professor, Discipline of Paediatrics & Child Health, University of Sydney; Co-Director, NSW Centre for Overweight & Obesity; Editor, International Journal of Pediatric Obesity; Consultant Paediatrician and Specialist in Clinical Nutrition
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Professor Louise A BaurLouise Baur is Professor in the Discipline of Paediatrics & Child Health at the University of Sydney, Chair of the Board of Directors of the NSW Centre for Overweight & Obesity and a Co-Director of the Australian Child & Adolescent Obesity Research Network. She is a consultant paediatrician and specialist in clinical nutrition at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, where she is Director of Weight Management Services. She is also Co-Chair of the International Obesity TaskForce’s (IOTF’s) Working Group on Childhood Obesity and co-edited the IOTF’s Report to the WHO on Childhood Obesity.



William E. Boden, M.D., F.A.C.C., Professor of Medicine and Public Health, Professor of Medicine, University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences US
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Dr. William Boden is Professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine at the State University of New York at Buffalo Schools of Medicine and Public Health. He is Director of Cardiovascular Services at Kaleida Health System in Western New York and Chief of Cardiology at Buffalo General and Millard Fillmore Hospitals in Buffalo. He received his M.D. degree from State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, N.Y. in 1974. Dr. Boden performed his Internal Medicine training at Boston University Medical Center (1974-1977) and went on to complete his fellowship training in Cardiology at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. He is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and in the subspecialty of Cardiovascular Diseases. Since 1979, Dr. Boden has held university appointments at Brown University, Wayne State University, Tufts New England Medical Center, Boston University, the University of Connecticut, and currently at the State University of New York in Buffalo.

Dr. Boden’s principal research interests include studies in post-myocardial infarction secondary prevention, acute coronary syndromes and unstable angina, congestive heart failure, and dyslipidemia in post-myocardial infarction (MI) and coronary artery disease (CAD). He has worked extensively in the clinical trials arena of non-Q-wave MI and in assessing the role of calcium antagonists in patients with ischemic heart disease, notably in non-Q-wave MI secondary prevention. Dr. Boden has been involved in clinical research investigator activities as the project director, study chairman and co-chairman for multicenter clinical trials, and served as a principal investigator, steering committee member, and consultant for numerous clinical research grant activities funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the NIH, and industry. He was the study chairman and study co-chairman for the VANQWISH and INTERCEPT trials, respectively. Currently he is the study co-chairman and lead investigator in the COURAGE trial (the largest randomized trial comparison of percutaneous coronary intervention [PCI] versus optimal medical therapy in stable CAD patients), and is the study co-chairman of the NIH-funded AIM-HIGH trial evaluating the long-term role of combination dyslipidemic therapy (niacin and statin vs statin) in CAD patients with low HDL-cholesterol.

Dr. Boden has lectured widely and written over 300 peer-reviewed publications, original articles, books, chapters, and abstracts. He is a member of several professional Cardiology organizations and editorial boards of American Journal of Cardiology, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Clinical Cardiology, Cardiovascular Reviews and Reports, American Journal of Geriatric Cardiology and Heart Disease: A Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine. Dr. Boden also serves as an editorial reviewer for New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, Circulation, Journal of the American Medical Association, Archives of Internal Medicine, American Heart Journal, Chest, American Journal of Electrocardiology, and Journal of Critical Illness.


Ms Karen Carey-Hazell

Ms Karen Carey-HazellKaren Carey Hazell was a grass roots consumer when, in June 1996, she underwent open heart surgery to repair her mitral valve. Subsequent to the implant of a mechanical valve Karen suffered thromboembolism causing serious injuries including a stroke.

As a result of her experience Karen has become a dedicated advocate for safety and quality in healthcare. A former Chair of Health Consumers Council, Karen now holds a number of positions as a consumer representative at both national and state levels, and is a strong advocate for patient empowerment and consumer partnership.


Dr Alan Cass, Director Renal Division,The George Institute for International Health
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Dr Alan Cass
Dr Alan Cass is the director of The George Institute’s Renal Division. He has trained and worked as a kidney diseases specialist physician, epidemiologist, and health services researcher. From 1998 to 2002, he undertook research into Aboriginal health and worked as a clinician in the Northern Territory.

In 2003, he was awarded an Australian Harkness Fellow in Health Policy at Harvard University where he examined access to, and quality of, renal care in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. Alan received the 2002 MJA/Wyeth Award for the best research paper published in Medical Journal of Australia, titled “Sharing the true stories: improving communication between Aboriginal patients and health carers”.

Dr Cass is a member of the International Steering Committee for the SHARP study and has extensive experience in running large-scale multi-centre trials.

He has recently undertaken a series of consultancies for state and federal governments and Kidney Health Australia regarding strategies to improve the provision of chronic kidney disease services.


Dr Chris Caton, Chief Economist of BT Financial Group
Speaker sponsored by Westpac

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Dr Chris Caton
Chris Caton is the Chief Economist for BT Financial Group. He was Chief Economist at Bankers Trust from 1991 until July 1999. From 1994 to 1997, he was also Chairman of the Indicative Planning Council, which advised the Government on matters relating to the housing industry.

Previously he worked in the Treasury, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and for an economic consulting firm in the United States.

Chris was educated at the University of Adelaide and the University of Pennsylvania.


Professor Peter Collignon, Director Infectious Diseases Unit and Microbiology Department, The Canberra Hospital
Professor, School of Clinical Medicine, Australian National University.

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Professor Peter Collignon

Areas of Interest

* Antibiotic resistance and the development of resistance through the use of antibiotics both in food animals and people;

* Infection control in hospitals;

* Teaching; and Research



Dr Chris Farmer, Medical Director of St Andrews Private Hospital and Director of Medical Administration at the Repatriation General Hospital Adelaide
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Dr Chris Farmer



Ms Jane Halton PSM, Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing
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Jane Halton
Jane Halton is Secretary of the Australian Department of Health and Ageing. She is responsible for all aspects of the operation of the Department including the provision of advice on and administration of Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Aged and Community Care, Population Health, regulation of Therapeutic Goods, plus hospital financing and Private Health Insurance. She also has responsibility for leadership on health security issues, including matters related to bioterrorism.

Jane currently chairs the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council, is a member of the board of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a board member of the National E-Health Transition Authority and a Commissioner of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality.

Jane is the chair of the OECD’s Health Committee. She was an Executive Board Member on the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2004-2007 and President of the World Health Assembly (2007), and was Vice-Chair of the Executive Board 2005-2006 and Chair of the WHO Program, Budget and Administration Committee 2005-2007.

Jane was a Commissioner of the Health Insurance Commission from 2002 to 2005 and was Chair of the Australian Obesity Taskforce (2003-2006).

Prior to her appointment in January 2002 as Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing, Jane Halton was Executive Co-ordinator, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) and was responsible for advising on all aspects of Australian Government Social Policy including the Status of Women.

Prior to joining PM&C, Jane Halton was national program manager of the Australian Government’s Aged and Community Care Program with responsibilities for long term care. Jane holds an honours degree in Psychology from the Australian National University, is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and an honorary fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Executives. She was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2002, and the Centenary Medal in 2003. Jane is married with two sons.


Mr Todd Harper, Chief Executive Officer, VicHealth
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Mr Todd HarperTodd began as Chief Executive Officer VicHealth, in April 2007, following many years in tobacco control. Prior to taking on his current role, Todd was Quit Victoria’s Executive Director from 1999 to 2007. Under his leadership, Quit and the VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control have developed national and international recognition for their work on tobacco control.

Following various positions for Tasmania’s Department of Health and Human Services, including in the area of community housing, Todd worked as Executive Director of the Tasmanian Council on AIDS and Related Diseases. He has a degree in economics, a postgraduate diploma in health promotion and in 2006 he completed requirements for a postgraduate diploma in health economics.


Professor Ian Meredith, Director of MonashHeart, Southern Health, Melbourne and Professor of Cardiology at Monash University

Ian Meredith is a Professor of Cardiology, Monash University and Director of MonashHeart, Southern Health in Melbourne. He is also Head of the Cardiovascular Research Centre, Monash Medical Centre. Ian trained in Melbourne and did his Ph.D at Baker Institute before spending 3 years at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston where he trained in Interventional Cardiology.

Professor Meredith is an author or co-author of more than 150 published papers and has been chief investigator or principal investigator of than 20 major international multicentre, randomised trials including world first in man trials of new drug-eluting stents. Ian is a member of the Board of the National Heart Foundation (Vic Division), Chairman of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (Vic Region), Chairman of ANZET Organizing Committee. He also serves on a number of professional & federal government committees and advisory boards.


Mikey Robins, Entertainer Speaker

Mikey RobinsMikey Robins is one of Australia’s best loved, intelligent, hilarious and most in demand entertainers, his career in both radio and TV has led to him becoming one of the most recognisable faces and voices in Australian entertainment history.

Recently Mikey successfully stepped back into the Breakfast Radio market in Sydney with Tony Squires, Angela Catterns and Rebecca Wilson on Vega FM. He’s now a permanent part of the team and looking forward to helping the young station grow!

Mikey will give us his personal views on tackling the Chronic Disease of Obesity.


The Hon Nicola Roxon MP, Minister for Health and Ageing

The Hon Nicola Roxon MP The Hon Nicola Roxon is the Minister for Health and Ageing in the new Labor Government.

She has been a member of Federal Parliament since 1998 representing the western suburbs seat of Gellibrand in Melbourne.

Nicola has been in Parliament for 10 years and was elected to the House of Representatives in October 1998 as the Federal Labor Member for Gellibrand
She previously held the positions of Shadow Minister for Health, Shadow Attorney-General, Shadow Minister Children and Youth, Shadow Minister for Immigration and assisted the Leader on the Status of Women.

Prior to entering Parliament, Nicola worked as a Senior Associate at Labor law firm Maurice Blackburn, a Judge’s Associate with High Court Justice Mary Gaudron, and as an Industrial Officer with the National Union of Workers.

Nicola has a First Class Honours Law degree and Arts degree from Melbourne University. She won the Supreme Court Prize for top law graduate in 1990 .

She is in charge of the Government’s $2.5 billion Health and Hospital Reform Plan.


Mr George Savvides, Managing Director, Medibank Private

Mr George SavvidesGeorge Savvides took over the helm as Managing Director of Medibank Private, Australia’s largest health insurer, in 2002. In just 3 years he turned the company around from a loss of $175 million to a profitable and sustainable business which today enjoys both record profits and record high membership with sales in excess of $3 billion per annum.

Mr Savvides has twenty years experience in the Australian health care industry. He was Managing Director of Sigma, a major Australian pharmaceutical company which he listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1999. Prior to that he was Managing Director of Smith+Nephew Australasia.

He originally trained as an industrial engineer, has an MBA, is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is also a Non-Executive Director of World Vision International and World Vision Australia. Mr Savvides represents Australia as a councillor for the International Federation of Health Plans.

To keep fit he plays Veteran’s Hockey with the Melbourne University Hockey Club.


Dr Norman Swan, Producer and presenter of the Health Report, Dr Norman Swan, is a multi-award winning producer and broadcaster.

Dr Norman SwanDr Swan’s career has been highlighted by his desire to keep the Australian public informed of health developments as they happen. This allows him to combine medical expertise with investigative reporting, clear analysis and the knowledge to report the latest research in health and medicine.

One of the first medically qualified journalists in Australia, Dr Swan is highly regarded by the medical and health professions.



Craig P. Tanio, M.D., Principal
Office of McKinsey & Company, Inc

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Craig Tanio is a Principal in the Washington Office of McKinsey & Company, Inc. He focuses on helping healthcare clients – payors, providers, academic medical centers and biopharmaceutical companies develop strategies that help them achieve significant improvements in their overall performance. One of his major areas of expertise is developing strategies to improve medical value – the reduction of healthcare cost trend and improvement of quality, an area where he has served payors, governments and employers. Some major projects include:

  • Assessing the “fitness for purpose” of the primary care trusts within the U.K. National Health Service
  • Developing a set of strategic initiatives including corporate strategy, IT strategy and a network / contracting strategy for a major U.S. commercial health insurer
  • Evaluating the viability of a U.S. state Medicaid program, developing strategic options for reform and designing the implementation approach
  • Developing a benefits strategy for a Fortune 10 employer to significantly improve return on investment
  • Assessing the impact of genomics and enabling technologies on the biopharmaceutical industry for an investment bank
  • Developing a product/market and referral strategy for a major academic medical institution
  • Improving the operational performance of end-to-end and surgical processes for a major academic medical institution

Craig leads McKinsey’s North America Payor and Provider practice’s payor knowledge agenda and has published several articles on payor and medical management strategy. He holds faculty appointments as Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and as Senior Scholar in the Department of Health Policy of Jefferson Medical College.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Craig worked as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Baltimore Medical System, a group of federally qualified community health centers dedicated to delivering primary care to the uninsured in urban Baltimore.

He received a M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco and a M.B.A. from the Wharton School. He is board certified in internal medicine and continues to practice internal medicine on a volunteer basis. He also was chief medical resident and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Dr Tanio’s Topic is “A World View of Strategies to improve medical value”


Mr Dan Tess, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia
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Mr Dan TessDan joined the PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia actuarial practice in 2000. Prior to that he was for 10 years with the Allianz Insurance Group in the United States, Germany and Australia.  Dan is a graduate of Duke University (North Carolina) and is a qualified actuary in both the US and Australia.

At PricewaterhouseCoopers, Dan’s focus has been on strategic and policy research and consulting in accident compensation, general insurance and health.  Recent major projects include:

For the Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing:

– Development of funds pooling mechanisms for the Coordinated Care Trials

– Analysis of the costs and benefits of an expanded model for Medical Specialist Training

– Review and development of policy framework for Aged Care accommodation bonds

– Policy development for new residential Aged Care programs and pricing

– Modelling of medical workforce supply and demand

In Accident Compensation:

– Scheme Actuary to the Transport Accident Commission (Vic) and the Victorian WorkCover Authority

– APRA Approved Actuary for Royal Automobile Club of Queensland Insurance

– For the NSW WorkCover Authority: facilitation of corporate strategic plan; development of insurer remuneration arrangements; production of annual premiums order, review and re-design of premium calculation system, development of an Injury Management pilot


Ian Watts, National Manager GP Advocacy and Support, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners; Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Discipline of General Practice, University of Sydney
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Ian Watts was appointed as the RACGP’s National Manager – GP Advocacy and Support; and National Policy Manager in 2001. He works with three national committees at the RACGP. One Committee coordinates policy work on structural matters such as funding models and workforce (at both the practice and national level). Another leads the development of quality standards for general practice settings. The third is the RACGP’s National Standing Committee – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. Ian also leads the RACGP’s initiatives to improve the safety of patients in general practice.

Ian has an MBA (Exec) from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He started his professional life as a social worker, working in both hospitals and community settings. He has worked in health financing policy at both the State and Commonwealth governmental levels.

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