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Health Care Homes

Recently, the Department of Health announced that Health Care Home services will now have a deferred and phased start, with up to 20 Health Care Homes that are ready to start delivering services commencing on 1 October 2017 and the remainder commencing on 1 December 2017.

The announcement also included the outcome of the selection process for the 200 general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) that will operate as Health Care Homes.

In our region, 17 practices have been selected - a fantastic representation, considering ours is the smallest PHN region in Australia.

In relation to Health Care Homes, the Federal Budget has included a $30M investment in community pharmacy in Health Care Home practices as well as $5M to the RACGP to support a research pilot over an 18 month period.

So what will be the benefits of Health Care Homes?

People with chronic and complex conditions will be able to enrol as Health Care Homes patients. A patient who is eligible can choose to enrol, and also choose a GP - usually the GP they have already been seeing - who knows them, their health conditions and priorities. This doctor will lead a care team which will look after that patient.

Together, a patient and their care team will then develop and follow a shared care plan which will:

  • set health goals
  • include strategies to help each patient better manage their conditions and improve their quality of life
  • identify the best local providers who can meet each patient’s needs.

In line with this plan, Health Care Homes will also coordinate that patient’s care. For example, if a patient sees their specialist or goes to hospital, their Health Care Home will follow up. That way, they know about all the care that person receives, both inside and outside the Health Care Home.

Rather than receiving a payment each time a patient has an appointment, Health Care Homes will be paid a monthly payment to care for a patient’s chronic and complex conditions. This flexible funding allows Health Care Homes to be innovative in the way they care for their patients.

More information about this is available from the Department of Health website

We anticipate that in the next month or so, our organisation will be provided with further information and resources to help us support those practices in our region that have been selected for the Health Care Homes trial. 

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Lizz Reay's avatar
Lizz Reay is the CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network. Previously Deputy CEO of Nepean Blue Mountains Medicare Local & Nepean Division of General Practice, she has an extensive background in public health.
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