4390.0 - Private Hospitals, Australia, 2002-03  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/09/2004   
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1 This publication contains statistical information for 2002-03 and previous years, obtained from annual censuses of all licensed private hospitals in Australia. It contains details about the facilities, activities, staffing and finances of all private acute and psychiatric hospitals and free-standing day hospital facilities.

2 Corresponding statistics for public hospitals are compiled by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in their annual publication, Australian Hospital Statistics 2002-03.


3 Included are all private acute and psychiatric hospitals licensed by state and territory health authorities and all free-standing day hospital facilities approved by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing for the purpose of health insurance benefits.


4 Data collection forms are sent each year to all private hospitals in Australia for completion and return to the ABS. A large component of the required data on admitted patients is sent to the ABS by state and territory health authorities on behalf of hospitals, thus relieving hospitals of the task of collating this information for the ABS.


5 All private hospitals in Australia which operated for all or only part of the reference year are included in the collection.

6 Updated lists of private hospitals are received from state, territory and Commonwealth health authorities and every effort is made to include all hospitals in scope.


7 The data items and definitions are based on the National Health Data Dictionary published by the AIHW, with the addition of data items requested by private hospital associations and health authorities. Refer to the Glossary for definitions of the data items used in this publication.


8 Establishments which provided incomplete data were contacted to obtain the missing details. Hospital staff were asked to provide estimates in cases where records for the data item were not kept. If reasonable estimates could not be provided by the establishment then the data item was either left blank or imputed by ABS staff. Imputation was based on data received in previous years and on the results of the data provided by all responding hospitals.

9 The statistics from this collection may be subject to various sources of error. These may be errors in reporting (e.g. because estimates may have been used in the case of actual data not being available, misunderstanding of questions or unwillingness of respondents to reveal all details) or errors arising during processing (e.g. coding, data recording). Every effort is made to reduce errors in the collection to a minimum by careful design of questionnaires and by processing procedures designed to detect errors and enable them to be corrected. These procedures include external coverage checks, clerical and computer editing of input data, error resolution including referral back to the source, and clerical scrutiny of preliminary aggregates.

10 Hospital morbidity data, providing admitted patient's details such as age, principal diagnosis and procedure, are routinely provided by hospitals to state and territory health authorities. Arrangements were made, with consent of the hospitals, for state health authorities to provide the ABS with the relevant morbidity data. Any significant inconsistencies between the data collated by health authorities and by hospitals were followed up and resolved. As a result of this reconciliation of the 2002-03 data, the final total for patient separations was 0.47% lower than that reported by consenting hospitals and 1.51% higher than that compiled from data supplied by state health authorities.

11 Differences in accounting policy and practices lead to some inconsistencies in the financial data provided by hospitals. Measurement of expenditure is affected by management policy on such things as depreciation rates, bad debt and goodwill write-off. Further inconsistency occurs in cases where all property and fixed assets accounts are administered by a parent body or religious order headquarters and details are not available for the individual hospitals.


12 Free-standing day hospital facilities are classified by the main income earning activity of the centre. Plastic/cosmetic facilities were collected as a separate category for the first time in 2000-01.


13 Casemix is an information tool which recognises that there are similarities between groups of hospital patients. A special feature of a Casemix classification is that for each class, patients will have clinical similarities and will be homogeneous with respect to another variable such as the cost of care.

14 In Australia, a system of Diagnosis Related Groups (AN-DRG) is used as a means of classifying patients for Casemix purposes. Each AN-DRG represents a class of patients with similar clinical conditions requiring similar total hospital resources for their treatment.

15 This classification is used by most states and territories as a management tool for public hospitals and, to varying degrees, for their funding. The classification is becoming more widely used by private hospitals as a reporting tool. Some contracting between health funds and private hospitals is gradually incorporating charging for patients based on their Casemix classification.


16 Chain volume measures have been used in the Summary of Findings in this publication to enable analysis of the changes to recurrent expenditure for private hospitals in 'real' terms. It is considered that these measures provide better indicators of movement in real output and expenditures than do constant price estimates. Unlike constant price estimates, they take account of changes to price relativities that occur from one year to the next. Chain volume measures are derived by revaluing the original current price series of recurrent expenditure for private hospitals by a specifically compiled measure of price change. The reference period for the chain volume measure is 2001-2002. In this publication the Laspeyres input cost index for hospitals was used. This was specifically designed to measure price change in hospital recurrent expenditures. The data are consistent with the March quarter 2004 Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0). Detailed information on chain volume measures and their introduction into the Australian National Accounts are contained in:

      Information Paper: Australian National Accounts, Introduction of Chain Volume and Price Indexes, 1997 (cat. no. 5248.0); and
      Information Paper: Upgraded Australian National Accounts, 1998 (cat. no. 5253.0)


17 Principal diagnosis and procedure for admitted patients are reported using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision - Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM).

18 The locations of all private health establishments are coded according to the Australian Standard Geographical Classification, 2002 Edition (cat. no. 1216.0).

19 The proportion of population in Capital City Statistical Divisions is calculated using the mean population for 2002-03, Australian Demographic Statistics, December 2003 (cat. no. 3101.0).


20 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


21 Other ABS publications which may be of interest include:

      Hospitals Australia, 1991-92 (cat. no. 4391.0) - Produced jointly with AIHW, released 1995 ($22.00)
      Information Paper: Australian National Accounts, Introduction of Chain Volume and Price Indexes, 1997 (cat. no. 5248.0) - Released 19 March 1998 ($10.00)
      Information Paper: Upgraded Australian National Accounts, 1998 (cat. no. 5253.0) - Released 4 November 1998 ($10.00)
      National Health Survey: Private Health Insurance, Australia, 1995 (cat. no. 4334.0) - Released 28 May 1998 ($15.00)
      National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2001 (cat. no. 4364.0) - Released 25 October 2002 ($33.00)

22 The following related publications are issued by other organisations.
  • Available from the AIHW Distribution Centre, GPO Box 84, Canberra ACT 2601 or from its web site <www.aihw.gov.au>:
      Australian Hospital Statistics, 1993-95: An Overview
      Australian Hospital Statistics, 2002-03
      Australia's Health, 2004
      Health Expenditure Australia, 2000-01
      Health and Community Services Labour Force, 2001 - Produced jointly with ABS
      Medical Labour Force, 2001
      Medical Workforce Supply and Demand in Australia: a discussion
      paper, 1998
      National Health Data Dictionary, Version 12, 2003
      Nursing Labour Force, 2002
  • Available from the New South Wales Health Department, Sydney - telephone 02 9391 9000 or from its web site <www.health.nsw.gov.au>:
      Fourth National Report on Health Sector Performance Indicators - by the National Health Ministers' Benchmarking working group, July 2000
  • Available from the National Mental Health Report Service (Mental Health Branch, Department of Health and Ageing - telephone 1800 066 247) or from its web site <www.mentalhealth.gov.au>:
      National Mental Health Report, 2002
  • Available from the Private Health Insurance Administration Council, Canberra ACT 2600 - telephone 02 6215 7900 or from its website <www.phiac.gov.au>:
      Membership and Coverage, - Released quarterly
      PHIAC A Report, - Released quarterly
      Statistical Trends in Membership and Benefits, - Released quarterly

23 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.


24 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available. Inquiries should be directed to Andrew Cumpsty by telephone on Brisbane 07 3222 6374, or email at <andrew.cumpsty@abs.gov.au>.


25 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and sums of the component items.