The Australian Government wishes to work hand-in-hand with health professionals and patients to deliver a healthier Medicare to ensure Australians continue receiving the high-quality and appropriate care they need as efficiently as possible.
To that end, the Australian Government has developed the ‘Healthier Medicare’ initiative to review three priority areas:
1. Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce
Led by Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of the Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, the Taskforce will consider how services can be aligned with contemporary clinical evidence and improve health outcomes for patients.
2. Reform of the Primary Health Care SystemOn 31 March 2016 the Government announced its plan to introduce a Health Care Home model to improve care for patients with chronic and complex conditions. Under this model, eligible patients will voluntarily enrol with a participating medical practice known as their Health Care Home. This practice will provide a patient with a ‘home base’ for the ongoing coordination, management and support of their conditions.
The establishment of Health Care Homes was a core recommendation of the Primary Health Care Advisory Group which was established in by Minister Ley in 2015 to develop options to improve care and health outcomes for people with complex and chronic conditions. The Advisory Group provided its final report to Government in December 2015 and the Group’s role has concluded.
3. Medicare compliance rules and benchmarks
The Government will also work with clinical leaders, medical organisations and patient representatives to develop clearer Medicare compliance rules and benchmarks. The use of new techniques such as analytics and behavioural economics will provide more information to clinicians to enable them to better manage appropriate practices. As well, more information will be available to patients about fees charged by health professionals so they can make informed choices about their health care.
For further information, please refer to these media releases:
Abbott Government to deliver a healthier Medicare - 22 April 2015
Establishment of expert groups to shape a healthier Medicare - 4 June 2015
Unnecessary, out-dated or unsafe medical services? Tell us about it! - 29 September 2015
Four Corners a sobering insight into why Medicare Review necessary - 29 September 2015