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STAA STATEMent of position & Intent

On 13 October the Federal Government announced intended changes to the private health funds rebate system that remove rebates for 17 natural therapies, including shiatsu. These changes are proposed to come into effect 1st April 2019.

This decision is based on recommendations which emanate from a highly flawed 2015 government health review*, and the report from KP Health** that informed that review.  

STAA is exploring all options before responding on behalf of members.

We stand together confident in the knowledge that shiatsu is an effective and safe health practice. STAA is proud to represent shiatsu therapists as we are a highly skilled and dedicated professional group. We meet our legal, educational, and ethical requirements. We are caring and holistic and we are accepted and respected by thousands of clients. We have a place in the Australian healthcare system ... and we are not budging!

That flawed review and report:

    • incorrectly stated that shiatsu is distinct from TCM
    • incorrectly concluded that acupressure is not a core component of shiatsu
    • excluded all published data on the safety, risks and cost effectiveness of shiatsu
    • ignored academic best practice recommending the inclusion of other research alongside randomised controlled trials to evaluate complex interventions such as shiatsu therapy.

STAA believes that the review has focused on a particular financial/political outcome rather than a fair, educative and comprehensive assessment of natural therapies.

The decision to cut natural therapy rebates:

    • disrespects the 55% of Australians who use complementary therapies
    • disegards the number of small business people it will affect
    • overestimates the value of less than 1% savings for health funds
    • ignores the long-term effect of demoting preventative treatments
    • puts more pressure put on an over-burdened hospital system

STAA is talking with health funds and other professional associations to determine facts and action.

We are drafting petitions, media releases, communications to MPs, lobbyists and health funds, and producing information action sheets for you to give to your clients.

Action plans to follow.

Dorothy Douglas
on behalf of STAA National Council

*The Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance for Natural Therapies

**An overview of the effectiveness of shiatsu for any clinical condition in humans by KP Health

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