PHI policy returns to old division

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The awkward policy marriage between private health insurance and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme inside the Department of Health is coming to an end.

Last year's combination of the two policy areas, as the 'Technology, Assessment and Access' Division, will be scrapped with the return of policy responsibility for private health insurance policy to the Medical Benefits Division.

It is understood the 'Technology, Assessment and Access' Division will retain responsibility for the Office of Health Technology Assessment that includes the Prostheses List Advisory Committee (PLAC).

The change comes as Department of Health secretary Glenys Beauchamp confirmed, as reported by HealthDispatch last week, the departure of deputy secretary Mark Cormack to a senior position in the Department of Veterans' Affairs. 

The current first assistant secretary of the 'Technology, Assessment and Access' Division, Penny Shakespeare, will be acting deputy secretary.

A very familiar name will return to the Department to act in Ms Shakespeare's role.

Adriana Platona PSM, currently the head of the TGA's medical devices and product quality division, will return to the Department to act as first assistant secretary of the 'Technology, Assessment and Access' Division. 

Ms Platona previously served as assistant secretary of the Department's pharmaceutical evaluation area. She was highly respected across the sector and was recognised with a Public Service Medal for her role in negotiating the reimbursement of the new generation direct-acting antivirals for hepatitis C.