PSA Attends KordaMentha Parliamentary Committee meeting

15 February 2019

The Public Service Association (PSA) recently attended a Parliament Budget and Finance Committee meeting to discuss corporate advisory firm KordaMentha’s involvement in reducing the operating deficit of CALHN.

The Committee heard that in the opinion of firm partner Mark Mentha CALHN was “the most broken organisation I have ever witnessed, both financially [and] clinically. This is a failing organisation.”

These statements are demoralising for staff who are striving every day already to deliver the best care to patients.

Under questioning from the Committee CALHN CEO Lesley Dwyer could give no guarantee that Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre would remain open or that CALHN FTE numbers would not change in the future as a result of the review. Agency staff (predominantly nursing) numbers have been reduced from seven percent to just over one percent as a cost cutting measure.

CALHN is seeking to make $41million dollars of savings by 30 June 2019 with the aim of making $270million in savings by 2021.

Clinical Coding practice within CALHN was criticised by CALHN CEO Lesley Dwyer who remarked “you could actually be forgiven for thinking that you’re talking about Mount Gambier, so when you do not code efficiently, your income is not going to reflect the work that you do.” The PSA believes that this could be perceived as derogatory towards CALHN Clinical Coder workers and potentially creates a perception that somehow this group of workers has contributed to an operating deficit that has actually been created through management decisions.

The current 12 month contract with CALHN ensures that KordaMentha is paid $13.9million (exclusive of GST) for 13.5 FTE staff who are employed directly on the CALHN project. The total cost to CALHN for KordaMentha’s services is $18.9million with the potential of having the contract extended to three years, bringing that figure to around $43million.

The Committee was told that none of KordaMentha’s staff that are working on the CALHN project are residents of South Australia (electing to fly in and fly out of the State) and that lawyers used by the firm (primarily for Industrial advice, the Committee was told) are also based interstate. Despite this fact the Commission was told by KordaMentha that they prefer “locally based solutions” when dealing with CALHN issues.

The PSA will continue to advocate on behalf of members and update members about any changes proposed as a result of the KordaMentha review. Please send any comments or questions to your PSA Organiser.