AMA submission to the Primary Health Care Review

The AMA submission to Primary Health Care Review highlights the strength of the Australian health system, particularly, general practice, and the need to ensure that reforms build on the proven track record of general practice. The submission highlights:

  • the urgent need for extra investment in general practice, which will save the health system money in the long run and improve its sustainability
  • reforms must be relevant to the Australian context
  • reforms should better support patients with chronic disease in accessing well coordindated GP led care
  • fee-for-service should be retained as the primary source of funding for general practice, with any other funding mechanisms complementing this
  • the concept of the medical home, how it already exists in Australia and what principles should underpin the introduction of more formalised arrangements

The AMA submission recommends a number of practical reforms including:

  • Provided there is no overall reduction on funding, reform of existing Medicare chronic disease items to strengthen the role of the patient's usual GP, cut red tape, streamline access to GP referred allied health care services and to reward longitudinal health care
  • The adoption of pro-active models of care-coordination for patients with higher levels of chronic disease and who are at risk of unplanned hospitalisation - similar to the Coordinated Veterans' Care program that has been established by the Department of Veterans' Affairs
  • The introduction of an incentive payment through the Practice Incentives Program to support quality improvement, informed by better data collection
  • The introduction of non-dispensing pharmacists in general practices to help improve medication management, particularly for patients with chronic disease
  • An enhanced role for private health insurers to fund targeted programs that support general practice in caring for patients with chronic disease
  • The utilisation of Primary Health Networks to support GPs in providing care for patients, particularly in improving the connection between primary and hospital care
  • Better use of technology, including the use of point of care testing


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