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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin December 2011
12 DECEMBER 20 11 The Australian government is investing $416.8 million to establish a nation-wide network of primary health care organisations known as Medicare Locals with the goal of improving primary health care services at a local level and in particular services provided after normal hours. WHAT ARE MEDICARE LOCALS Medicare Locals will be independent organisations that will have strong links to Local Hospital Networks, local communities and local health professionals. They will be responsible for providing integrated care and making it easier for patients to navigate the local health care system. Medicare Locals may be formed by a single organisation or a group of organisations, a partnership, joint venture or consortium. They are expected to operate under an organisational membership model -- with members such as local health services and community groups -- rather than the individual membership basis used for current Divisions of General Practice. MEDICARE LOCALS FOCUS Medicare Locals' initial role in direct service delivery will be based on the existing responsibilities and arrangements of Divisions of General Practice. However, over time, Medicare Locals will be expected to take a broader focus on the health needs and the primary care services of their local community including: • coordinating primary health care services beyond general practice, encompassing a range of primary health care practitioners in the community; • undertaking local health planning, identifying gaps in services at the local level, and examining opportunities for better targeting of services; • supporting the implementation of initiatives that improve the prevention and management of disease in general practice and primary health care; • driving more efficient use of health resources, including the potential for administering flexible funding pools to target gaps in primary health care service provision; • improving patients' access to services by improving the co-ordination and integration of care both within the primary health care sector and across other sectors of health care. The first 19 Medicare Locals have now commenced operation. WHERE DOES DENTISTRY FIT The focus of Medicare Locals appears to be is primarily on medically based services. However, the need for more comprehensive primary care service provision by Medicare Locals is being called for by stakeholders. Despite this medical focus, the Australian Medical Association remain concerned about how Medicare Locals are progressing and believe there is a lack of knowledge and understanding of what is supposed to be going on within general practitioners. So where does dentistry fit in this new model of primary care health service delivery? You can find out more about Medicare Locals at: www.yourhealth.gov.au/internet/yourhealth/publishing As the role of dentistry and ancillary oral health care services is not explicit in any of the available documentation, the ADA has established a time-limited Special Purpose Committee (SPC) to look at the Medicare Locals' initiative in more detail. The SPC will then be able to provide members with advice about how to engage with these new organisations either as a clinician providing services or as a participant in consortia arrangement. Members of the SPC Medicare Locals include: Andrew Barnes (Chairman); Shane Fryer (Federal President); and Stuart Gairns (Chief Executive Officer, ADAWA Branch). The first meeting of the SPC was held by teleconference on Monday, 7 November 2011. Further updates from the SPC (see page 9) will be provided in future issues of the News Bulletin. Eithne Irving Manager, Policy and Regulation If you have been approached to participate in a Medicare Local or would like the SPC to consider a particular issue regarding this new model of service delivery, please contact Eithne Irving email: firstname.lastname@example.org. au or phone: 02 9906 4412. MEDICARE LOCALS no false advice Please contact Garry Pammer, Alison Lacey or Heath Stewart on: Telephone (02) 9264 1111 Fax (02) 9264 1344 email email@example.com website clarkjacobs.com.au Dental specialists for over 20 years
ADA News Bulletin November 2011
ADA News Bulletin February 2012