COVID-19 Economic Package, Telehealth Funding, Member's To Engage

Finance Minister announced a comprehensive economic package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

You will be aware of yesterday's announcement by Finance Minister Grant Robertson outlining a $12.1 billion package to support New Zealanders, their jobs and businesses from the impact of COVID-19.

This package includes:

  • Initial $500 million boost for health (see link to the Minister of Health's media release)
  • $5.1 billion in wage subsidies for affected businesses in all sectors and regions, available from today
  • $126 million in COVID-19 leave and self-isolation support
  • $2.8 billion income support package for our most vulnerable, including a permanent $25 per week benefit increase and a doubling of the Winter Energy Payment for 2020
  • $100 million redeployment package
  • $2.8 billion in business tax changes to free up cashflow, including a provisional tax threshold lift, the reinstatement of building depreciation and writing off interest on the late payment of tax
  • $600 million initial aviation support package
The NZ Treasury has a comprehensive list of media releases and fact sheets relating to each of these areas of support - click here to access these (scroll to bottom of their page)
Work and Income also has fact sheets and information on the wage subsidies and leave payments along with links to other government agency information - click here to access these.
As always, please keep referring to the Ministry of Health's website for ongoing and updated information and advice relating to COVID-19.

Health package information and fact sheet

The $500 million specifically apportioned from the $1.2 billion package is an initial fund to strengthen health services to fight and contain COVID-19. This is just an initial investment, the Government will ensure the health sector has the support and resources it needs to fight and contain COVID-19.
This includes approximately $235 million of immediate funding to the sector.
A fact sheet is available for download here and the Minister of Health's media release is accessible here.

$20 million specifically for telehealth

A further $20 million will be invested in improving the capacity of general practice and community health providers to use technology such as video conferencing and telehealth to conduct consultations.
This obviously raises the interest of NZHIT members especially those who have products, solutions and services in this area. There is more information to be provided by NZHIT as further details become clearer.
The NZHIT Virtual Health Industry Group (VHIG) is a special interest group that provides the opportunity for engagement, discussion and advice specifically related to virtual healthcare and telehealth.
If you are not already a member of the VHIG and are interested in joining then make contact with Scott Arrol, NZHIT CEO for more information and to be added to the group - scott@nzhit.nz or +64 21 414631
Scott and John Ashley (VHIG Chair) are also members of the National Telehealth Leadership Group (TLG) and are joining this group's quarterly meeting tomorrow. This telehealth package will be discussed in more depth during that meeting. We will also be putting forward how NZHIT members can assist.
In addition, a meeting (virtual) is being organised for next week to provide the Ministry of Health with an opportunity to update interested members.

NZHIT's support to members

At NZHIT we are working hard to stay connected and engage with members, stakeholders and the wider health sector to provide support, advice and advocacy. The following are some key specific areas of support to be aware of -
Member "pulse" survey - shortly you will receive a brief survey from us that is an opportunity for you to provide feedback and highlight particular areas where we can specifically assist members. We're also working in with the Ministry of Health to provide an opportunity for them to include questions that can assist with information gathering for their planning processes.
Direct contact - you will be aware that Mark Cox recently the NZHIT team and he will be making direct contact with many members to discuss how we can provide further support and benefits. As always, Scott Arrol (CEO) is available at any time so don't hesitate to call on +64 21 414631.
Information and engagement opportunities - as mentioned above, we are organising a meeting of the VHIG where the Ministry can provide an update and gain feedback from members. Where appropriate we will add more of these types of meeting opportunities via a virtual mechanism.
On-line events - we're currently working on webinar type presentations to replace the cancelled NZHIT Summit as well as other topics that will assist members at this time. More information will be provided as these are developed and available.
Highlight the great work you're doing - all members can utilise the NZHIT website to provide news stories, case studies and updates to demonstrate what you're currently doing, able to do and want to do. Simply send these to Anna at info@nzhit.nz and she'll take it from there. Let Anna know if you want a hand to ghost write these for you as we can offer this service as well.

NZHIT members must engage

We are working closely with the Ministry of Health to make sure information and advice from our members and the sector flows in both directions. We advocate on behalf of our members and are focused on making sure any "mission critical" related risks and information is available as early as possible.
This is essential so we can all be proactive in identifying important areas of risk and working proactively and collaboratively to mitigate these as much as possible.
If you're concerned about any level of business continuity risks that (for example) may relate to any of the following -
1) revenue, debt or cashflow constraints,
2) supply chain factors or
3) service degradation (might be a result of staffing level reductions, for instance)
Then please feel free to contact Scott Arrol in the first instance - +64 21 414631 - CONFIDENTIALITY IS ASSURED
The majority of NZHIT's members provide products, solutions and services that are important to the delivery of healthcare services.

Therefore, it is absolutely essential that any risks posed to being able to continue providing this support throughout the pandemic period must be highlighted as soon as possible before it becomes too late to put supports into place.

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Posted by

Anna Arrol

Administration Assistant

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