Role of primary healthcare
'While Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHSs) play a vital role in Aboriginal health, it is estimated that 60% of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders access health care elsewhere. Mainstream general practice therefore has an important role in ensuring better service provision, including improved HA (health assessment) uptake' (Kehoe, H., Lovett, R. W. (2008). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health assessments - barriers to improving uptake. Australian Family Physician, 37(12), p. 1033).
Closing the Gap - Improving Indigenous Access to Mainstream Primary Care Program
In December 2007, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a partnership between all levels of government to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
The Closing the Gap - Improving Indigenous Access to Mainstream Primary Care Program is one component of this work. Intended outcomes include:
• an increase in the overall health of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population;
• improved access to culturally sensitive primary care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and,
• improved management of chronic conditions experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Care Coordination and Supplementary Services
The Care Coordination and Supplementary Services (CCSS) program is one of the measures under the Closing the Gap scheme aimed at improving chronic disease management in Aboriginal patients.
The program has two main components:
1. Care coordination provided by qualified healthcare workers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with a chronic disease. Patients must be referred by their GP
2. Supplementary Services. There is a flexible pool of funds that can be used to assist patients receiving care coordination under the CCSS Program. The funds can be used to access medical specialist and allied health services that are in accordance with the patient's care plan. The funds may also be used to assist with the cost of local transport to healthcare appointments.
PBS Co-payment measure
The PBS Co-Payment measure enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have, or are at risk of, a chronic disease to access medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) at reduced or no cost.To access these medicines at low or no cost, patients need to register with a medical practice that is registered for the Practice Incentive Payment (PIP) Indigenous Health Incentive. Scripts need to be annotated by the medical practitioner as CTG.
For more information call the PBS Co Payment Hotline: 02 6289 2409.
Practice Incentive Payment (PIP) Indigenous Health Incentive
The Government is providing payments through the PIP Indigenous Health Incentive (IHI) to support general practices and Indigenous health services to provide better health care for Indigenous Australians.
This includes best practice management of chronic disease. The GP Resource Kit & Practice Detail Cards provide information on components of the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package that the GP and primary health care team can use to support patients through preventative health activities and better chronic disease management.
There are incentive payments for practices that register for the PIP IHI. To be eligible for the PIP IHI, general practices must be accredited, or registered for accreditation, and participating in the Practice Incentive Program.
Cultural awareness training: Two practice staff, one of whom must be a GP, need to undertake approved cultural awareness training within one year of registering for the PIP IHI.