Health Care Homes: plans drawn, but short on funds

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) acknowledges the start being made towards better coordinated healthcare for high-need patients through the Turnbull Government’s Healthier Medicare Health Care Home package.

“The establishment of Health Care Homes is a step in the right direction to resolving fragmented primary and acute care services for people with chronic conditions. However, the stated objectives cannot be achieved with inadequate funding and less than $150 invested per patient in 2016-17 for this trial is clearly not going to go far. Evidence from a number of sources suggests that funding of between $1300 and $2500 per person per annum would be required to truly deliver reform via a Health Care Home,” says Alison Verhoeven, AHHA Chief Executive.

The AHHA also calls on the Commonwealth to provide clarity on how Health Care Homes will be established, and the selection process for the 7 Primary Health Network regions, 200 general practices and 65,000 patients that will be part of the trial. Voluntary enrolment of patients in particular may skew the trial by not providing a representative sample of the complexity of patients in a region.

The evaluation strategy for this trial should focus on greater system efficiency including the analysis of impact on avoidable hospitalisations. Also critical for the review is an understanding of the impact on health outcomes including those reported by patients.

“Health system reforms must be integrated with other ongoing reform processes underway across the health sector, including the private health insurance review and the Medicare Benefits Schedule review. The current apparent disconnect must be addressed for these reforms to achieve true value and better patient care,” says Alison Verhoeven.

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