New chair for Private Healthcare Australia

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Private Healthcare Australia has a new chair with the appointment of Julie-Anne Schafer.

Ms Schafer succeeds former HBF managing director, Rob Bransby, who retires from the position after almost four years in the role.

PHA chief executive Dr Rachel David paid tribute to Mr Bransby and said industry was fortunate to secure the services of Ms Schafer, who she said was extremely qualified to help guide the private health insurance sector through the implementation phase of the Government’s recently announced PHI reforms.

“Ms Schafer is an experienced Chair and Non-Executive Director of diverse and highly regulated sectors such as financial services, infrastructure, member service, health and transport, including RACQ; National Competition Council; National Injury Insurance Agency QLD; QLD Law Society; and the Advisory Council to Energy and Water Ombudsman QLD,” said Dr David.

“She has a passion for the healthcare sector and understands the importance of the role of private health insurance in Australia’s health system. She has served on the Boards of large private hospitals, overseeing the operation of hospitals, aged care and nursing homes in States and Territories across Australia.

“Ms Schafer will replace Mr Rob Bransby who will retire from the position later this year. Mr Bransby has been instrumental in delivering the best possible outcome for Australia’s 13.5 million health fund members during the PHI reform negotiation.

“His expertise in the industry is unparalleled. His involvement and contribution to the PHI reform process has been invaluable. Mr Bransby served as President and Vice President of PHA prior to taking on the role of Chair, and as CEO/Managing Director of HBF Western Australia. He leaves the private health insurance sector in a strong position to continue to advocate for affordable and sustainable healthcare.”

Dr David described the period ahead for industry as "exciting and challenging" with a focus on improving the affordability of private health insurance as well as increasing participation.

“The appointment of Ms Schafer will ensure the professional commitment to reform, demonstrated by the experienced PHA Board under the guidance of Rob Bransby, will be ongoing. The PHA Board has great expertise and skills and represents a cross section of the industry of both profit and not for profit health funds from across the country," added Dr David.

The PHA Board comprises Deputy Chair Rhod McKensey (nib); Andrew Wilson (Medibank); Dwayne Crombie (Bupa); Mark Valena (GMHBA); Gerard Fogarty (Defence Health); Byron Gregory (Health Partners); and Rob Seljak (TUH).