Nineteen months have been added to the trial, with the period for patient enrolment also extended
The Federal Government has announced a 19-month extension of the Health Care Homes program, which will now run until 30 June 2021.
Stage one of the Health Care Homes trial commenced on 1 October 2017 and was originally scheduled to conclude on 30 November 2019.
“This extension will allow the general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services already participating in the program further time to implement new flexible models or care tailored to the needs of their patients,” states the government.
The patient enrolment period has also been extended from 31 December 2018 to 30 June 2019, or until enrolment reaches the program’s new patient cap of 12,000.
The Health Department admits that it has revised its patient enrolment target from its original 65,000 down to 12,000.
“Based on current patient enrolment rates, the revised target of 12,000 is achievable by 30 June 2019 and will enable a robust evaluation of the funding model and patient care,” it says.
“Learnings to date, which are also consistent with international experience, has reinforced that implementation of major health reform takes time.”
These extensions only apply to Health Care Homes currently participating in the trial with no applications being taken for new practices to participate, the government confirms.
Meanwhile the extension is also applicable to the Community Pharmacy in Health Care Homes Trial Program, which is currently underway.
“The Community Pharmacy in Health Care Homes Trial Program will continue to run as part of the Health Care Homes trial and enrolled patients will continue to benefit from referral to their chosen pharmacy for review of their medications and development of a collaborative medication management plan until 30 June 2021,” the government confirms.
The Pharmacy Guild says updates to the program rules and supporting resources will soon be applied accordingly.
Funded under the 6CPA, the $30 million Community Pharmacy in Health Care Homes Trial Program is an initiative to support medication management planning and programs to be incorporating within Health Care Homes.
Pharmacies involved in the trial will work in conjunction with Health Care Home teams by conducting initial medication reconciliations of patients’ medications and developing collaborative medication management plans.
In October last year the Health Minister and Pharmacy Guild took the first practical step towards the delivery of the trial program by rolling out a series of workshops and training modules, and opening up applications for pharmacies to participate in the program.