The Australian Government is currently undertaking a broad suite of reforms in primary health care. As part of this reform process, the introduction of Stage One of a Health Care Home (HCH) model to improve care for patients with chronic and complex conditions was announced on 31 March 2016. Under the model, eligible patients will voluntarily enrol with a participating primary health care provider known as their HCH. This provider will supply a patient with a ‘home base’ for the ongoing coordination, management and support of their chronic conditions. General Practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services can serve as HCHs.
The Vision for HCH is for:
- better coordinated, more comprehensive and personalised care
- empowered, engaged, satisfied and more health literate patients, families and carers
- improved timely access to health care and services, including through appropriate use of non-face-to-face telephone and internet-based digital health options
- improved health outcomes, especially for patients who have chronic conditions
- increased continuity and safety of care, including more consistent adherence to clinical guidelines
- increased productivity of healthcare service providers
- increased provider satisfaction, working to full scope of their license, and
- enhanced sharing of up to date health summary information.
Payment for services provided under the HCH model is based on a yearly sum that is paid to the primary care provider in monthly instalments. This provides a flexibility in funding to encourage a care team approach to chronic condition management. It allows clinicians and patients to work with other providers including specialists, allied health and out-of-hospital services through use of a tailored care plan to manage the condition.
Other key elements of the reform and HCH model include:
- eligibility and Risk Stratification tool (currently under development)
- use of My Health record for each enrolled patient
- participation in training to be rolled out by primary health networks
- ability to provide de-identified data for evaluation purposes
- shared electronic health plan for each patient.
What does this mean in the Northern Territory?
Northern Territory PHN was selected as a PHN to host practices participating in HCH Stage One. Many Northern Territory General Practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services placed expressions of interest in the initiative - indeed Stage One was oversubscribed.
The following 25 health clinics are participating in Stage One:
- Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation
- Amoonguna Clinic
- Areyonga (Utju) Clinic
- Mutijulu Clinic
- Santa Teresa Clinic
- Katherine West Health Board
- Kalkaringi Health Centre
- Lajamanu Health Centre
- Timber Creek Health Centre
- Yarralin Health Centre
- Miwatj Health
- Gunyangara Health Centre
- Malmaldhara Health Centre
- Ngalkanbuy Health Centre
- Nhulunbuy Health Centre
- Yirrkala Health Centre
- Palmerston GP Super Clinic
- Tristar Medical Group Parap
- Urapuntja Health Service
- Wurli-Wurlingjang Health Service
- Danila Dilba Health Service
- Malak Clinic
- Arafura Medical Clinics
- Humpty Doo
- Howard Springs
- Berry Springs
- Top End Medical Centre
- Stuart Park
Rollout of the program in the Northern Territory will commence on 1 December 2017.
More information, including fact sheets and information booklets, are available from:
- Department of Health website
- Australian Association of Practice Managers website, and
- by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org