Health Care Homes should be for all, says report

Top health organisations say the HCH model should encompass all Australians, not just those with chronic health conditions

A newly released report has outlined the new concept of ‘Patient-Centred Health Care Homes’ (PCHCH), building on the initial submission in December 2015 that recommended HCH as a model of care to treat those with chronic disease.

The report describes PCHCH as a model for “all applicable patients, not just those with chronic conditions”, and is the result of a roundtable discussion between the Consumers Health Forum of Australia, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, and The George Institute for Global Health held in July.

“Implementing for one sector of a patient population and not others increases the risk to practice and patient take-up, and potentially disadvantages those patients who are not in the eligible target group for the HCH approach,” the roundtable concluded in its report.

The groups also call for a strong role of PHNs in the implementation of a patient-centred model, as well as an established electronic infrastructure to allow virtual consultations online, and via video, phone, email consults and telehealth.

PSA has welcomed the report, particularly its focus on collaborative care and an expanded staffing model in which nurses, pharmacists and others assume greater care management roles.

“Pharmacists have a key role in optimising medication regimens, increasing medicines safety and facilitating appropriate transitional care,” said PSA National President Joe Demarte.

“Including a pharmacist in the HCH team has the potential to reduce polypharmacy, potentially preventable medication-related hospital admissions and readmissions, leading to a reduction of overall primary expenditure and significant savings to the broader health sector,” he said.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley described the HCH initiative as a “signature policy” in her opening speech at the PSA16 conference on Friday 29 July.

“A Health Care Home will be a one-stop shop and ‘home base’ … care will be coordinated by the ‘home base’ and will include other care providers such as specialists, pharmacists and allied health providers.

“We see pharmacists playing a critical role in this new model,” she said.

The report’s authors and Demarte have called on the minister to take these new recommendations into account.

“PSA urges the Federal Government to consider the recommendations outlined in the [new] report, to ensure that the upcoming pilot of Health Care Homes in Australia enable patients to access the right care at the right time, regardless of the system,” said Demarte.

The HCH trials are set to begin in July 2017 and will involve up to 65,000 patients in up to 200 practices across 7 PHN regions.

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1 Comment

  1. Karalyn Huxhagen

    There is a lot of detail missing from this trial. I am curently working in an area that has a GP practice set up for the new model. The GP has put in a lot of dollars to develop the model but we are all waiting to hear how allied health will be incorporated.

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