Health Care Home Trial must be properly funded

28 Jul 2016

The AMA is calling on the Federal Government to allocate appropriate funding for the trial of the Health Care Home model of care for patients with chronic disease. Under the model, also known as the Medical Home, patients have a continuing relationship with a particular GP to coordinate the care delivered by all members of the patient’s care team.

In March, the Government committed $21 million to allow about 65,000 Australians to participate in initial two-year trials in up to 200 medical practices from 1 July 2017. However, the funding is not directed at services for patients.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said that research shows GPs are managing more chronic disease. He added, however, that they are under substantial financial pressure due to the Medicare freeze and a range of other funding cuts, and they cannot afford to deliver enhanced care to patients with no extra support.

“If the funding model is not right, GPs will not engage with the trial, and the model will struggle to succeed,” Dr Gannon said.

“GPs are incredibly cost-effective. The cost of General Practice is just six per cent of total health expenditure, and a properly funded Medical Home has the potential to both improve patient care and save on more expensive downstream health costs. Labor promised $100 million to trial an alternative model, and the Government must consider a similar level of investment,” he said.

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