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 Homes 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 Health Care Home (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.
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.