Use pharmacists to collaborate in Health Care Homes: PSA

Ten regions around the country will participate in stage one of the Turnbull Government’s Health Care Homes model, which the Government says will be a better way of delivering Medicare for Australians with chronic illness.

The PSA has welcomed today’s announcement and highlighted the role pharmacists can play in the initiative.

Health Care Homes will give Australians a local health care team, led by their GP, “that they can trust to coordinate their health care needs throughout the year to ensure patients remain happy, healthy and out-of-hospital,” the Government says.

“Health Care Homes is a better way to remunerate general practice that recognises the commitment and diligence they show every day in managing time-consuming chronic conditions.

“It will allow doctors and their teams to focus on delivering quality improvements to patient care when they need it, no matter how often it’s needed, without the rigid constraints of Medicare’s current fee-for-service model.”

The PSA says it is committed to working with the Health Care Homes Implementation Advisory Group and the Government to co-design a HCH model for the Australian context, which is based on best practice, evidence-based models of care to ensure consumers receive maximum benefit, it says.

PSA says there is evidence supporting the benefits of the HCH and the models in which significant benefits have been demonstrated to employ multidisciplinary care teams led by GPs, but also to use an expanded model where pharmacists may assume greater collaborative care roles.

“Pharmacists are well placed to contribute to the HCH trials and optimise medication schedules and increasing medicines safety to improve the health outcomes for patients with chronic and complex conditions, particularly during critical periods of care transition,” PSA National President Joe Demarte says.

PSA has previously said 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 care expenditure and significant savings to the broader health sector.

“PSA urges the Federal Government to ensure the implementation of the HCH is guided by evidence and supported by an implementation strategy and adequate investment in all the enablers to ensure successful establishment and operation,” says Demarte.

The Government is investing nearly $120 million to roll out the first stage of Health Care Homes, including over $90 million in payments to support patient care and $21 million for infrastructure, training and evaluation.

The first stage will initially benefit up to 65,000 patients across 200 GP clinics and Aboriginal Medical Services Australia-wide and will be evaluated to enable refinements to the model prior to a national roll-out.

This will include the Primary Health Network regions of: Western Sydney (NSW), Perth North (WA), Tasmania (TAS), Hunter New England and Central Coast (NSW), Brisbane North (QLD), South Eastern Melbourne (VIC), Adelaide (SA), Northern Territory (NT), Nepean-Blue Mountains (NSW) and Country South Australia (SA).

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