tip off
8

Where are the new Medicare Locals and what have they promised to do?

The first of the new primary health care organisations known as Medicare Locals have just been announced. Pity the Victorian applicants who have a further wait for their news (more details on this in Minister Nicola Roxon’s interview this morning on Radio National)

Meanwhile, according to the Federal Department of Health and Ageing, below are details on the first cabs off the rank, together with a brief description of what they have promised to do…(I will add reaction to the bottom of the post as it lands).

A Croakey reader has drawn attention to:

• The lack of detail about their governance. Isn’t this surely one of the more fundamental issues?

• Why are there none from the NT?

The following information is lifted directly from the Department of Health and Ageing website.

1. Western Sydney Medicare Local

WentWest Limited, in partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Service of Western Sydney, has been selected as the Western Sydney Medicare Local.

WentWest Limited has undertaken the following activities which include:

  • being a Regional Training Provider with both the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and General Practice Education and Training Ltd ,and delivers the Australian General Practice Training program to GP Registrars within the Greater Western Sydney region;
  • provide comprehensive support to general practices under the Divisions of General Practice Program to deliver efficient primary care; and
  • work with the Western Sydney Local Health Network to facilitate service planning, collaboration, and care delivery.

Western Sydney Medicare Local priorities

Key initial priority activities for the Western Sydney Medicare Local include:

  • build on the networks and partnerships already established in Western Sydney;
  • develop an Aboriginal Health Strategy with the Western Sydney Local Health Network (WSLHN) and Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney (AMSWS), targeting chronic patients and links with other services,
  • involve a broader range of clinicians in all levels of operations;
  • develop a responsive flexible structure that meets local community needs and priorities;
  • collate data and empirical evidence to inform decision making;
  • prioritise communities and primary health care practitioners in areas of the highest community need; and
  • integrate education, training and research throughout its Medicare Local functions.

***

2. Hunter Urban Medicare Local

The Hunter Urban Division of General Practice has been selected as the Hunter Urban Medicare Local.

The Hunter Urban Division of General Practice is a high performing Division delivering services and outcomes to the Hunter community, and delivering on Australian Government programs.

The Hunter Urban Division of General Practice is undertaking the following activities:

  • provide comprehensive GP Access After Hours Service, that ensures access to after hours care for the Hunter community, and is strongly supported in the region;
  • be a lead site for the Australian Government’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) initiative;
  • operate one of the leading mental health services within the national Divisions of General Practice Network;
  • engage the aged care sector in the PCEHR lead implementation site initiative established via the Aged Care GP Panels initiative and the Aged Care Access Initiative; and
  • provide consistently high performance in supporting the uptake of Australian Government programs within the region, including the Practice Incentives Program, and Medicare Benefits Schedule initiatives.

Hunter Urban Medicare Local priorities

Key initial priority activities for the Hunter Urban Medicare Local include:

  • proactively respond to identified needs and gaps for planning of primary health care at the regional level;
  • establish the Population Health, Planning and Performance Program (PHPP) to work in partnership with the Local Hospital Network (LHN) to improve planning and to review current working relationships, including Connected Care, Diabetes Strategy and eHealth;
  • broaden governance arrangements to be more reflective of the primary health care sector and the community;
  • build on existing strong partnerships, including with the LHN, and developing new partnerships to effectively plan and coordinate primary health care service delivery;
  • expand the focus of programs to encompass all of primary health care; and
  • enhance engagement with the LHN to improve its communication with the primary mental health care sector, and developing partnerships with providers of non-clinical care, including non-government and community managed organisations for primary mental health care.

***

3. New England Medicare Local

The New England Division of General Practice, in partnership with North West Slopes Division and Barwon Division of General Practice, has been selected as the New England Medicare Local.

About the New England Division of General Practice, North West Slopes Division and Barwon Division of General Practice

These Divisions have a sound track record in delivering primary health care and support services to rural communities, and to the primary health care workforce.

The Divisions of General Practice:

  • integrate Chronic Disease programs for diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and cardiovascular disease, rehabilitation programs, education, promotion of services and support groups;
  • provide a comprehensive range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services within their existing catchment areas through ‘Closing the Gap’, ‘Healthy for Life’ and primary health care involving GPs, Aboriginal Medical Services, allied health professional and community health services; and
  • the three Divisions work together to address issues and undertake service provision planning in the area of Mental Health for the region.

New England Medicare Local priorities

Key initial priority activities for the New England Medicare Local include:

  • coordinate health promotion activities to inform stakeholders and patients of services within the catchment area;
  • update Service Directories to reflect current service availability and contact details;
  • facilitate access to services that were previously unavailable;
  • expand integrated chronic disease services;
  • build on early intervention strategies in mental health and allied health;
  • build on the success of the Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program;
  • facilitate and encourage the integration of multidisciplinary health records;
  • assist providers to adopt fully electronic databases;
  • roll out secure messaging and e-health shared records to practices and specialists with funding from the Hunter New England Local Health Network; and
  • work with the Local Hospital Network to further assess population health needs.

***

4. Murrumbidgee Medicare Local

The Riverina Division of General Practice and Primary Health Ltd, in partnership with Murrumbidgee General Practice Network Ltd, have been selected as the Murrumbidgee Medicare Local.

The Divisions of General Practice:

  • deliver the Connected Care Chronic Disease Management Program, which has seen fewer hospital admissions due to improved health service provider management of chronic disease, and enhanced patient awareness of how to manage their chronic disease;
  • enhance connectivity between the acute setting and follow up primary care between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Outreach Workers, through the Murrumbidgee Local Health Network (MHLN) Aboriginal 48 Hour Follow-up Program;
  • improve access to specialist care for rural patients, without requiring travel to metropolitan centres, through the Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program (MSOAP);
  • improve clinical management, treatment and service coordination for people with mental illness and/or drug and alcohol disorders, and providing access to physical health management through the general practice setting for mental health and drug and alcohol patients under the Mental Health Shared Care Program; and
  • increase access to appropriate care to meet the needs of aged care residents in low-care facilities, through engagement with Dentists, Oral Hygienists, Physiotherapists, Speech Pathologists and Podiatrists.

Murrumbidgee Medicare Local priorities

Key initial priority activities for the Murrumbidgee Medicare Local include:

  • promote and expand current activities to engage other primary health care providers at the local level where possible, especially the refugee assessment clinic, and after hours services;
  • improve the integration of secure communication of electronic medical record data between relevant providers;
  • facilitate a reduction in inappropriate or inefficient service utilisation and avoidable hospitalisations, including: extending the Connecting Care Program through linkages with Home Care Services to provide support on discharge with appropriate care in place; engaging GPs in the pre-workup for elective surgery patients, particularly those who are diabetic or obese; working in collaboration to establish models of GP after-hours services in rural communities; and expanding the shared antenatal care program; and
  • explore whole of life approaches to prevention and early intervention with youth, in relation to: the building bridges program; sexual health; quit smoking; headspace; healthy eating programs; substance abuse; and reducing the incidence of obesity.

***

5. Metro North Medicare Local

GPpartners Limited has been selected as the Metro North Medicare Local.

GPpartners has an excellent track record in delivering primary health care and support services at a local and national level. The Division has undertaken a broad range of activities which include:

  • demonstrate leadership and innovation to establish and expand a number of projects and programs which have led to improved patient outcomes, including: Team Care Health I and II Trials; Team Care Coordination; Health Record eXchange; Maternity Shared Care; and Secure Messaging;
  • develop excellent working relationships with a broad range of health organisations, including primary health care service providers, community organisations, state and Commonwealth governments, other Divisions of General Practice and local public hospitals;
  • deliver a comprehensive range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health services within its existing catchment through the ‘Closing the Gap’ measure, ‘Healthy for Life’ initiative, and primary health care involving GPs, Aboriginal Medical Services, allied health professionals, and community health services; and
  • coordinate and support the establishment of comprehensive practice support programs, including: education and support for accreditation; education and support activities about medicine and prescribing; targeted support to general practitioners to refer eligible patients to diabetes prevention program; maintain service and general practitioner directories; and develop key resource and health promotion literature.

Metro North Medicare Local priorities

As a Medicare Local, GPpartners will undertake the following additional activities:

  • implement the Government’s key health priorities, including Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records;
  • develop a comprehensive range of resources for community engagement and education.
  • establish a Medicare Local Consultative Committee to inform the needs of the local community from the perspective of health and community service provider organisations, clinicians, and consumers;
  • establish a strong working relationship with the Local Hospital Network, Partnership Planning Council and Lead Clinician Groups; and
  • implement a planned joint governance structure with the Local Hospital Network to ensure the community is involved with the establishment and ongoing management of the Medicare Local.

***

6. Gold Coast Medicare Local

General Practice Gold Coast has been selected as the Gold Coast Medicare Local.

General Practice Gold Coast has undertaken a range of activities, including:

  • deliver priority projects of The Australian Better Health Initiative, Diabetes Educator in General Practice project and the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Initiative;
  • undertake the Service Access Project which sought to improve access and support for an integrated and coordinated primary care system that promotes information sharing and referrals;
  • develop a Strategic Plan for 2008-12, which includes enhancing general practice capacity to coordinate services for prevention, improving health care access for youth, the aged and marginalised populations, improving communication between GPs and other health providers, and supporting the development of information systems;
  • be a founding member of Heads-Up/Can Do training and network initiative which aimed to improve health outcomes for young people 0-25 years; and
  • implement a range of Quality Improvement in General Practice activities relating to diabetes, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, mental health, immunisation, screening, and prevention.

Gold Coast Medicare Local priorities

As a Medicare Local, General Practice Gold Coast will deliver the following additional activities:

  • increase the range of multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral integration activities to allow services to learn how to work together in a systematic way;
  • further develop electronic infrastructure to support an integrated service system and increase patient and provider awareness of service availability;
  • establish strong links between the Medicare Local, the Local Hospital Network, and the proposed Lead Clinician Groups, with an emphasis on the transfer of patient care and developing additional pathways;
  • conduct quality improvement activities that focus on cross sector partnering; and
  • develop new service models that promote cooperation between services and support the integration of care.

***

7. Metro South Medicare Local

SouthEast Primary HealthCare Network Ltd. and South East Alliance of General Practice Ltd., comprising the Greater Brisbane South Unincorporated Joint Venture, have been selected as the Metro South Qld Medicare Local.

About SouthEast Primary HealthCare Network Ltd. and South East Alliance of General Practice Ltd: These Divisions have an excellent track record in delivering primary health care and support services at a local and national level. The Divisions have undertaken a range of activities which include:

  • Undertake a comprehensive range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services within their existing catchments through ‘Closing the Gap’ measures, ‘Healthy for Life’ and primary health care involving GPs, Aboriginal Medical Services, allied health providers and community health services;
  • coordinate and support the establishment of comprehensive programs including: after hours GP services in the local area; ante natal shared care; and supporting multidisciplinary primary health care clinicians throughout the local area;
  • develop collaborative models to focus on the better management of chronic disease, and increase the focus on prevention;
  • maintain strong working relationships with the community, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, workforce, general practice and primary health care organisations to deliver best practice, integrated care, and monitoring the health of local communities; and
  • deliver integrated referral pathways.

Metro South Medicare Local priorities

As a Medicare Local, the two Divisions will work together to undertake the following additional activities:

  • establish a regionalised model of service delivery to meet the needs of local populations;
  • enhance the capacity and accessibility of existing health information directories;
  • better coordinate and enhance cultural awareness and safety programs to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and support their access to mainstream primary health care services, with the support of key stakeholders;
  • develop partnerships between primary health care services and the Local Hospital Network to undertake shared planning and delivery of services, and maximise the exchange of information;
  • develop an education and training plan to promote best practice and meet identified needs across the primary health care sector; and
  • work in partnership with a range of key stakeholders to map existing population health data and analyse its relevance to local communities.

***

8. Townsville-Mackay Medicare Local

The Townsville Division of General Practice has been selected as the Townsville-Mackay Medicare Local.

The Townsville Division of General Practice (DGP) has undertaken a broad range of activities which include:

  • Develop and run a co-operative After Hours Service adjacent to the Townsville Hospital Emergency Department;
  • Award winning work around reducing specialists waiting lists and improving information flows and clinical pathways in conjunction with Queensland Health;
  • maintain strong working relationships with numerous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations, and supporting programs such as the Closing the Gap Collaborative Program;
  • improve pathways to care for patients with mental health issues, including headspace Townsville, Mental Health First Aid Workshops, and employing mental health nurses and a mental health liaison officer; and
  • develop an electronic referral management system that includes ‘smart’ speciality specific templates that are securely delivered through to the TGPN Health Provider Directory.

Townsville-Mackay Medicare Local priorities

As a Medicare Local, the Townsville DGP will deliver the following additional activities:

  • play the lead role in the National Broadband Network Telemedicine Pilot Project for Townsville;
  • engage with the North West Queensland Primary Health Care to ensure a continuity of health services;
  • enhance processes to engage effectively with patients, clinicians, Local Hospital Networks, future Lead Clinician Groups and other stakeholders, to identify and address service gaps and breakdowns in service integration and coordination;
  • establish cross-sectoral primary health care service provider forums to share knowledge about the health service delivery needs of specific client groups; and
  • maintain a health population database to support community health and wellbeing measures.

***

9. West Moreton-Oxley Medicare Local

Brisbane South Division of General Practice, in partnership with Ipswich and West Moreton Division of General Practice, has been selected as the West Moreton-Oxley Medicare Local.

These Divisions of General Practice:

  • implement the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Self-Management Support Systems Program, in partnership with the Australian Lung Foundation, Brisbane South Respiratory Service and the Ethnic Communities Council Queensland. The Program promotes referral pathways and links with secondary care services, and identifies issues facing culturally and linguistically diverse populations in managing chronic disease. The Program has resulted in increased referrals to Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Smoking cessation programs;
  • deliver a National Suicide Prevention Program in partnership with Queensland Health, operating from the Princess Alexandra Hospital;
  • develop a psychology clinic in Ipswich in partnership with the local university to utilise and support psychology graduates;
  • maintain strong working relationships with numerous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations, and supporting programs such as the Closing the Gap Collaborative Program;
  • deliver three evidence-based mental health programs including Mental Health First Aid, Triple P and FRIENDS for Life; and
  • deliver the ‘Connected’ program through the Australian Better Health Initiative to improve the ability to link clinicians, the Princess Alexandra Hospital Endocrinology Department, and Brisbane South Complex Diabetes Service, to ensure smooth transition for diabetes patients through integrated and coordinated clinical pathways.

West Moreton-Oxley Medicare Local priorities

Key initial priority activities for the West Moreton-Oxley Medicare Local include:

  • work with patients and Primary Health Care clinicians to develop, monitor and maintain high patient care standards and integrated and coordinated clinical pathways to improve access to services, including after-hours services and telehealth services;
  • expand the Chronic Disease Management program to improve the long term care of patients with chronic disease, through linking patients to a model of improved information flow between general practice, secondary and tertiary care;
  • provide practice support to improve the uptake of best practice in primary health care for all primary health care practices; and
  • expand the ‘Connected’ Program to: integrate and disseminate chronic disease pathways and protocols; recruit GP and other primary health care practices; enhance communication skills within GP and other primary health care teams to improve patient engagement; and link patient engagement strategies to patient self-management protocols.

***

10. Central Adelaide and Hills Medicare Local

GP Partners Adelaide, with Adelaide Western General Practice Network Inc and Adelaide Hills Division of General Practice, has been selected as the Central Adelaide and Hills Medicare Local.

About GP Partners Adelaide, Adelaide Western General Practice Network Inc and Adelaide Hills Division of General Practice

GP Partners Adelaide has a strong partnership with Nunkuwarrin Yunti to provide psychological support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Adelaide Western General Practice Network (AWGPN) created the Practice Health Atlas and Computer Systems Clinical Audit Tool for developing business models for more effective health care services, and to predict future health care needs and trends. The Practice Health Atlas continues to be used by Divisions of General Practice around the country.

AWGPN developed and managed the state-wide framework for the Obstetrics Shared Care Program to increase options for care of pregnant women and provide continuity of care.

AWGPN partners with the Aboriginal Health Council of SA and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community groups to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care. AWGPN has employed Aboriginal people to the Closing the Gap positions and these staff are actively involved throughout the community.

The Adelaide Hills Division of General Practice created the GPcare After Hours Service, which operates 365 days a year, and provides more than 90% of the region’s after hours primary care.

Central Adelaide and Hills Medicare Local priorities

As a Medicare Local, the Divisions will deliver the following additional activities:

  • identify key links with the South Australian Health Strategic Plan, with an emphasis on areas such as chronic disease, aged care, mental health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health;
  • establish a totally integrated after hours GP service for the whole of the Medicare Local catchment;
  • adopt an enhanced ehealth agenda which will include telehealth, personally controlled electronic health records, and secure management and communication of health information;
  • achieve precision in population health mapping and planning for needs based resource and workforce allocation; and
  • increase the provision of GP services to aged care facilities, using innovations as telehealth and remote monitoring.

***

11. Country North Medicare Local

Mid North Division of Rural Medicine Inc, with Flinders and Far North Division of General Practice (DGP), Barossa GP Network, Yorke Peninsula DGP and Eyre Peninsula DGP, have been selected as the Country North Medicare Local.

These Divisions have undertaken the following activities:

  • display strong support, education and training for International Medical Graduates;
  • provide a coordinated interface between the acute and primary care sectors, with all rural and remote GPs providing acute care delivery within their local hospitals;
  • identify local service gaps through discussions with local GPs and Country Health SA to determine service use, reduce duplication, and identify opportunities to provide additional primary health services;
  • work closely with the Aboriginal Health Service, psychiatrists, GPs, and the Social and Emotional Well Being team to provide seamless integrated mental health services to patients; and
  • engage regularly with the Country Health Network to plan and review the provision of primary care and acute services across the region.

Country North Medicare Local priorities

As a Medicare Local the Divisions will deliver the following additional activities:

  • develop, support and facilitate ehealth strategies, including a potential single patient ehealth record;
  • create a service delineation model which will guarantee the effective placement of services, identify service growth needs, ensure the cost efficiency and effectiveness of resources, and avoid duplication of efforts;
  • increase the number of visiting specialist services, and utilising their expertise to design and deploy continuing professional development programs for GPs and allied health professionals;
  • create an integrated local network of GP and allied heath providers that are accessible for every patient to receive the services they require; and
  • develop closer links with Hospital Liaison Officers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Patient Pathways Officers in Regional Hospitals, which will be prefaced by a high level agreement with the Local Hospitals Network.

***

12. North West Metro Medicare Local

The Osborne General Practice Network Limited has been selected as the North West Metro Medicare Local

The Osborne General Practice Network (OGPN) has an excellent track record in delivering primary health care and support services to the general primary health care sector, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care services.

The Division has undertaken a broad range of activities which include:

  • develop and expand on a diverse range of service delivery consumer programs, including: Multidisciplinary Diabetes Program; Osteoarthritis of the Knee Self Management Program; Healthy Families for Happy Futures; and Fresh Start Smoking Cessation Program;
  • establish strong working relationships with a wide range of primary health care service providers, acute care providers, community health groups, and local, State and Commonwealth Governments;
  • establish innovative practice support programs such as the GP Information and Advocacy Program to increase the promotion of and participation in OGPN programs; and
  • develop a wide range of publications to promote health care programs and healthy living choices.

North West Metro Medicare Local priorities

The Medicare Local has the following additional priorities:

  • raise the profile of the Medicare Local in the community and wider health care sector, and informing stakeholders and patients of services available in their local catchment area;
  • establish a Consumer Reference Group to increase the diversity of membership and representation of consumers;
  • build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders through formalising teams in Partnership & Integration, Primary Care Services, Public Relations and Marketing, and Workforce Development;
  • expand and promote programs that support improved patient care, including developing a new eHealth program in line with the Government’s eHealth agenda; and
  • facilitate access to services that were previously unavailable (e.g. developing an After Hours Program).

***

13. Country South West Medicare Local

The South West Health Alliance Limited comprising Great Southern General Practice Network, Greater Bunbury Division of General Practice and General Practice Down South has been selected as the Country South West Medicare Local.

The Divisions currently provide services which include:

  • deliver a comprehensive range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services within their existing catchment areas, through ‘Closing the Gap’, ‘Healthy for Life’ and primary health care initiatives involving GPs, Aboriginal Medical Services, allied health services, and community health services;
  • deliver a broad range of programs including: asthma education services; services to socially disadvantaged; free counselling services; and nutrition and wellbeing programs;
  • develop new programs supporting practice nurses, and general practice, resulting in best practice in primary health care;
  • coordinate outreach specialist services for identified needs in the local area;
  • work with the University of Western Australia to develop a secure network (MMEx) connecting primary health care providers, hospitals, and aged care facilities to share patient information; and
  • undertake comprehensive strategic planning and program development processes.

Country South West Medicare Local priorities

As a Medicare Local, the three Divisions will work together to undertake the following additional activities:

  • identify the top five health care priorities for the region;
  • establish Clinical Leaders groups to address each of the top five health priorities for the region;
  • implement a Clinical Governance Strategy for the Medicare Local catchment;
  • work with more remote communities and services within the catchment to identify and develop sustainable primary health care models;
  • increase and coordinate the number health promotion activities to inform stakeholders and patients of services in their local catchment area through the development of a comprehensive website; and
  • facilitate access to services that were previously unavailable.

***

14. Tasmania Medicare Local

A consortium between the General Practice Tasmania Ltd, General Practice South, General Practice North and General Practice North West has been selected as the Tasmania Medicare Local.

The Divisions have delivered a range of programs in Tasmania, including:

  • implement, support and manage a robust electronic repository of core provider data to facilitate both service delivery and the exchange of patient clinical data between health care providers;
  • initiate the Northern Chronic Disease Demonstration Service which provided structured and comprehensive referred allied health care for diabetes patients on a hub and spoke regional model across Northern Tasmania;
  • work with GPs, state-funded community health nurses and practice nurses to improve integration of services;
  • implement two pilot projects for Diabetes initiatives; and
  • through the Aged Care Access Initiative, work with aged care facilities and their residents to identify service gaps, facilitate stakeholder collaboration and implement initiatives to improve systems and access to services.

Tasmania Medicare Local priorities:

Key priorities for the Tasmania Medicare Local include the following additional activities:

  • support the implementation of data quality initiatives and extend support to facilitate the implementation of other key ehealth and information management initiatives such as Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records;
  • work with the National Health Call Centre and Clinical Communications to support a sustainable model for rural GP after-hours support across the State;
  • develop a primary health care planning framework in collaboration with the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services;
  • work with GPs, allied health providers and Local Hospital Networks to further develop pathways that are focused on integration between primary and acute care; and
  • develop strategies to provide appropriate and timely mental health support with an emphasis on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, young people, older Australians, and people from rural and remote communities.

***

15. ACT Medicare Local

The ACT Division of General Practice has been selected as the ACT Medicare Local.

The ACT Division of General Practice ranks highly nationally against the Divisions Program Key Performance Indicators.

The ACT Division of General Practice:

  • has programs for HIV, Heart Foundation, Lifestyle modification, has a strong partnership with Headspace ACT, and has established multidisciplinary clinical teams to provide advice on Division projects;
  • has strong working relationships with Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Services and ACT Health and Canberra Hospital;
  • works closely with the Canberra Afterhours Locum Medical Service to ensure the availability of after hours services in the ACT;
  • works with a range of primary and secondary care clinicians in areas such as diabetes, aged care and mental health, and has multidisciplinary teams addressing these areas;
  • identified communication deficiencies between GPs and hospitals, and developed strategies to address them; and
  • auspiced the formation of the ACT Primary Health Care Coalition, a strategic level group which enables members to provide advice on collaboration, planning and priority setting.

ACT Medicare Local priorities

Key initial priority activities for the ACT Medicare Local include:

  • continue as a key partner in developing the ACT Primary Health Care Strategic Plan 2011-14 in the context of COAG health reforms;
  • develop a dedicated GP portal enabling GPs to access relevant patient clinical information;
  • expand on its eHealth capacity including eDischarge summaries and eReferrals and participate as a member of a consortium which has been selected for the second wave of e-Health records, and is working on furthering other e-Health projects;
  • promote good governance throughout the primary care sector;
  • work towards developing a highly sophisticated population health capacity sourced through national data sets;
  • identify groups of people missing out on GP and primary health care or services that a local area needs and respond to those gaps by better targeting services; and
  • work with Local Hospital Networks to assist with the transition of patients out of hospital and if required, into aged care.

****

Reaction…

Statement from the Australian General Practice Network
(which receives funding from DOHA)

Reforming Australia’s primary health care system is set to go except in Victoria, following the Federal Government’s announcement today that 19 Medicare Locals will be implemented as of 1 July, Australian General Practice Network [AGPN] Chair, Dr Emil Djakic said today.

“The 19 proposals cover more than a third of all General Practice Networks [GPNs] – a ringing endorsement of the great work already done by GPNs in building a strong, integrated general practice and primary health care system,” Dr Djakic said.

“Unfortunately for Victoria, its Medicare Local model of care has been set back and will remain in the shadow of health reform for the time being while the Baillieu Government continues to be a thorn in the side of the nation’s primary health care reform agenda.

“Fortunately Victoria’s position is not holding the rest of the nation to ransom but the state is in danger of being left in the wake of the progressive and coherent primary health care services that will be delivered incrementally through Medicare Locals across every other state and territory as of July,” he said.

Dr Djakic called on the Baillieu Government to “get on board with essential primary health care reforms for the sake of the better health and wellbeing of the people of Victoria”.

“As the reform process now moves to the next rounds, it is essential that the remaining Medicare Locals be built upon the expertise and corporate knowledge already available within general practice and the remaining Network members,” he said.

“Given the tight timeframe of 19 July for applications for the second tranche, ambiguity around the size and number of Medicare Locals is not an option.

“While the Network has been able to deliver on the demanding schedule put before it during the first tranche, it needs certainty about the future as soon as possible in this next stage.

“The implementation of Medicare Locals brings about a reorganisation and restructuring of the nation’s primary health care system which will increasingly change the way in which consumers and health professionals negotiate their way through local health services.

“Medicare Locals are designed to reduce bureaucratic processes and provide greater access to a more streamlined system. It’s about getting the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

“General practice, nursing, allied health and other primary health care services are set to expand and become more flexible to best meet the needs of patients and their carers.

“After hours services will increase over time and opportunities with eHealth particularly through the personally controlled electronic health record system which is geared for patients and health professionals, will revolutionise the primary health care sector.

AGPN acknowledges the financial support of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing2

“The work already done by GPNs in ensuring the provision of a range of mental health and suicide prevention services will be strengthened, and there will be an increasing focus on health promotion, illness prevention, and chronic disease management.

“Central to the system will be the strong general practice base of the current networks, working in partnership with other primary health care providers,” Dr Djakic said.

3

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  • 1
    Jack
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Sydney = 1/4 of Australian population, 1/20 of Medicare locals. Curious.

  • 2
    ihaywood
    Posted June 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    In fairness the plan was they would always be stepwise, presumably NT and Vic will come along in due course.
    They replace Divisions with the same funding-stream, so permission of the Vic State Government isn’t required. NT can of course be around to comply anyway as it is not sovereign.
    What’s unclear is how they will differ from Divisions apart from how boards are elected, and even that’s not clear either (will pharmacists be able to vote? how about private specialist?).
    GPs will be less involved which I suspect for many will be a relief.

  • 3
    Jack
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Private specialists do not appear to be one of the groups that are currently involved in Medicare Locals, in either the governance, service delivery or service coordination components. MLs will be coordinating ‘primary care services’ which by the current Australian Dept of Health definition appears to be GPs and allied health only.

    There does seem to be some confusion over what constitutes primary care services – my reading of Australian Dept of Health documents suggest they actually mean community based services. They don’t appear to be using the nomenclature that state and territory Depts of Health use, where primary care is an unreferred service and secondary care is a referred or specialist service. So, the Australian government definition of primary care does include allied health even though much (most?) of the work they do is specialised and or referred, ie secondary care.

    If we do take ‘primary care’ to mean community care (which is what the Australian government seems to be doing) then we really ought to be involving private specialist in the Medicare Locals – for many of them, particularly the physicians, much of their work is actually community based care, and they work closely with the GPs and allied health providers as part of the community team that keeps patients out of hospital, and out of aged care facilities.

    Medicare Locals would work better if private medical specialists that are part of the community team were specifically included. Currently they are not.

5 Trackbacks

  1. ...] one of the major points of contention surrounding the new primary healthcare organisations known as Medicare Locals has been the question of who will run them, with the Australian Medical Association agitating [...

  2. ...] recent snippets related to primary health care that may be of interest, particularly given the recent announcement of the first Medicare [...

  3. ...] be located (although I haven’t yet tracked down any details on what they have promised to do), as was outlined for the first 15 earlier this [...

  4. ...] be located (although I haven’t yet tracked down any details on what they have promised to do, as was outlined for the first 15 earlier this [...

  5. ...] Federal Government has announced a final bounds for an Australia-wide network of 62 Medicare Locals. The reform prophesy behind this was for: less micromanagement by Canberra and a States, larger [...

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