Health Care Homes, payment reform welcome for chronic disease care

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has welcomed the Turnbull Government’s Healthier Medicare package based on the recommendations from the Primary Healthcare Advisory Group’s report calling for reform to support the millions of people with chronic and complex health conditions.

“The AHHA supports the reform of health services to support the 35% of Australians with a chronic or complex condition,” AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

“With 20% of Australians suffering from two or more chronic conditions, this reform is a welcome step in the right direction to resolving the fragmented and poorly integrated primary and acute care services for people with chronic conditions.”

“The establishment of Health Care Homes across Australia, which the Primary Healthcare Advisory Group’s report finds will provide continuity of care, coordinated services and a team-based approach according to the needs and wishes of the patients, builds on the efforts of PHNs that are already developing such services in their areas.”

The AHHA strongly agrees with the recommendation that the reforms outlined in the advisory group’s report be integrated with other ongoing reform processes underway across the health sector, including the Reform of Federation and the Medicare Benefits Schedule review.

“The key role being attributed to general practice in leading the Health Care Home model requires their active support and engagement to ensure greater use of the My Health Record,” Ms Verhoeven said.

The AHHA supports the identified payment approaches which will enhance regional flexibility, equitable access, evidence-based and patient-centric care, and efficient use of resources. Similar recommendations were discussed in Dr Paresh Dawda’s paper Bundled Payments: Their role in Australian primary health care, published by AHHA.

“Payment reform is a positive way to achieve a sustainable health system. However, the funding for these reforms is linked inextricably with broader health funding arrangements, and these continue to be highly contested.”

AHHA has welcomed the creation of a national minimum data set of consistent, de-identified data to assist in improving patient outcomes and informing ongoing improvements as well as the establishment of an implementation advisory group to oversee the design, implementation and evaluation of trials.

“The evaluation strategy should also focus on greater system efficiency, including the analysis of impact on avoidable hospitalisations. This will be particularly important given the leaked draft agreement for tomorrow’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments shows $70 million will be withheld from state hospital funding to pay for the chronic disease package,” Ms Verhoeven said.

Media enquiries:
Alison Verhoeven
Chief Executive, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
0403 282 501