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Health Funds Association Appoints New Director

16 January 2006

Health Funds Association Appoints New Executive Director

The Health Funds Association of New Zealand, the industry body representing the majority of New Zealand's Health Insurers, has appointed Claire Austin as its new Executive Director.

Claire Austin has long-standing experience as a Chief Executive in the New Zealand health sector. A former Chief Executive of the Families Commission, The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, and Age Concern New Zealand, Ms Austin has also held a range of national and international strategic advisory roles in health, change management and ageing policy.

"With 33 per cent of the population having health insurance, the important role of the private health sector cannot be underestimated "Ms Austin said. " There is a growing international trend of governments turning to the private sector to cooperate for health gain. The Health Funds Association can play an important role in facilitating new private sector roles that strengthen the performance of the health system and ensure better health outcomes for New Zealanders," she said.

Ms Austin is a Registered Nurse, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Policy and is a recent alumni of the Cambridge University International Health Leadership Programme. This examined international health systems and finance; workforce, quality, standards and regulation, globalisation and health, managing change and the role of private/public health partnerships.

As Executive Director of the Association, Ms Austin's responsibilities will include the development of a Centre of Excellence which works closely with members and stakeholders to develop industry standards and codes of practice, examines national and international trends across the health sector, and provides quality industry data and policy advice.


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