Chronic care funding pledge welcomed

Matt Woodley

16/05/2019 2:49:06 PM

The RACGP has praised a bipartisan commitment from the major parties to reduce the burden of chronic disease.

Dr Harry Nespolon
Dr Nespolon has praised the new chronic care funding model that will allow patients over the age of 70 to voluntarily enrol with a general practice.

The promise of a new chronic care funding model, aimed at improving the health outcomes of patients aged over 70 and those with a chronic condition, has been described as positive news for both GPs and patients.
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon reiterated the college’s support ahead of Saturday’s election, particularly given 87% of Australians over the age of 65 have at least one chronic health condition, while half of the population has at least one of eight common chronic conditions.
‘While we are disappointed that we have not seen a comprehensive primary healthcare policy, a bipartisan commitment to the future of general practice is a strong sign our political leaders are starting to recognise the vital role GPs play in our healthcare system and in reducing the growing burden of chronic disease across Australia,’ Dr Nespolon said.
‘These conditions need to be closely monitored and managed within primary healthcare, ensuring that we keep Australians out of hospital whenever possible.’
Modernising medicine and supporting complex care are two of the main goals listed in the RACGP’s 2019 Federal Election statement.
Dr Nespolon said that under the new model, patients over the age of 70 will be able to voluntarily enrol with their usual general practice, which will in turn be responsible for the management of their healthcare.
‘For every enrolled patient, the practice will receive a payment to support flexible care models essential for quality care,’ Dr Nespolon said.
‘This includes following up with a specialist, telephone and email consultations with the patient, checking-in with a family member or carer, or other related items not currently supported by the MBS [Medicare Benefits Schedule].
‘The new chronic care funding model is a great example of how bipartisan support can improve the health system, benefitting all Australians.’
The Coalition and Labor revealed their visions for the future of Australian healthcare at a National Press Club debate earlier this month, much of which focused on preventive care and mental health.
The Greens have also released a $3.5 billion healthcare platform that prioritises preventive medicine and treating patients with chronic disease.
Dr Nespolon added that the college looks forward to working with all political parties following the election to ensure continued investment in general practice.

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Dr C   17/05/2019 9:48:01 AM

It costs the government a lot once the population passes retirement age (pensions, healthcare cards, etc), the longer we live - possibly, there lies the government's problem with funding primary care ... Why spend $$$ on creating longer term, increased healthcare costs for themselves into the future ??!! (I know - very cynical) ...

Dr Christopher Briggs   17/05/2019 9:17:11 PM

Nice idea, but another cynical view...
I thought GPMP/TCA's were designed to compensate GP's to spend time with complex patients and co-ordinate their care with other providers (ideally in person or phone if you read the MBS), but is this really happening? Not in my experience. It's often patient driven paperwork for a few physio visits.
And will GP's really think of this proposed extra payment as an opportunity to do things like, "following up with a specialist, telephone and email consultations with the patient, checking-in with a family member or carer, or other related items"?
Or will they call the patient in anyway and bill medicare? Or do neither, but still claim the payment?
Not saying this is the majority of GP's, but like the GPMP/TCA, I think there is potential to exploit this payment and claim it with very little in return to the patient. I think there are better ways to use taxpayer dollars and remunerate us more fairly and that could have better outcomes.