Nine PHNs to pioneer MyMedicare frequent flyers

3 minute read

Patients who attend hospital more than 10 times a year will be hooked up and registered with a regular GP.

Nine PHNs will be part of the first phase of the frequent hospital users element of the MyMedicare voluntary patient enrolment scheme, aimed at connecting frequent hospital users to a GP to receive multidisciplinary care in the community.

Simon Cotterell, first assistant secretary in the primary care division at the Department of Health, said the new incentive was being co-designed with GP peak bodies, the PHNs and the state hospital services.

The scheme will identify patients with chronic conditions who attend hospital more than 10 times a year and then connect them to a GP if they don’t have one. The general practice and lead GP will be eligible for new blended funding arrangements that may include outcomes-based payments.

Nine PHNs will be chosen to roll out the new scheme from 2024-5, with nine more to follow the next year and the last 13 in the third year.

“About that frequent hospital users incentive, we’ll be considering very closely the split between funding to individual GPs and other providers and to the practice, cognisant of this payroll tax issue,” Mr Cotterell told a webinar audience this week.

“We don’t want to worsen the issue. We don’t think MyMedicare plays into it, so registering for Medicare doesn’t play into that issue at all, but we’re conscious of the funding flows and wanting to make sure providers and individual GPs are rewarded for the work that they do, and practices are rewarded for supporting that work.”

Patients will be able to register themselves for MyMedicare through the Medicare section of myGov, and practices will be able to invite patients to register. There will also be paper forms allowing patients to consent to being registered.

Mr Cotterell said other priority cohorts would include patients who would benefit from the longer telehealth consultations that MyMedicare will unlock, including patients with mental health issues.

“However consent frameworks are being managed now, even the MBS billing in aged care, they should be managed in the same way for MyMedicare,” he said.

“We are working with the software industry on trying to integrate the form for registration with practice and clinical software, but I think that will take us some time.

“But the options are to start with the patient registering themselves online through the Medicare website or myGov, or practices assisting the patient with a form. And I think that’s probably most applicable for aged care patients.

“Solo practitioners or people who don’t have a bricks and mortar practice can continue to look after aged care patients in the fantastic way they currently do and with some additional reward for that.”

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