Factsheets - Healthier Medicare: Reform of the Primary Health Care System

This factsheets for the Primary Health Care System: Health Care Homes

Page last updated: 03 April 2017

PDF version: Fact Sheet: Health Care Homes (August 2016) (PDF 197 KB)
Word version: Fact Sheet: Health Care Homes (August 2016) (Word 197 KB)

What is a Health Care Home?

Health Care Homes are a ‘home base’ that will coordinate the comprehensive care that patients with chronic and complex conditions need on an ongoing basis.

General practices and Aboriginal Medical Services can serve as Health Care Homes.

Patients who have been assessed as eligible and likely to benefit from this model will be offered the opportunity to voluntarily ‘enrol’ with a participating Health Care Home.

A tailored care plan will be developed with the patient and implemented by a team of health care providers. This will involve identifying the best local providers to meet each patient’s needs, coordinating care with these providers, and putting in place strategies to better manage their health conditions and improve their quality of life.

Care will be integrated across primary and acute care as required.

Health Care Homes will support enrolled patients and their carers to be active partners in their care. This will involve giving patients the knowledge, skills and support they need to make decisions about their health and keep healthy.

To enable this new model of care, payments for patients enrolled in Health Care Homes will change.

Health Care Homes will be paid regular periodic payments by the Government to provide care related to a patient’s chronic and complex condition. This will enable Health Care Homes to be flexible and innovative in how they deliver care to enrolled patients.

Health Care Homes available services: private health insurers, allied health providers, community Agencies, Hospital/ local health district, primary health networks

Who will benefit?

Health Care Home services will be available to patients assessed as those that would benefit most from the new model, with services specifically aimed at the one in five Australians with multiple chronic and complex conditions.

The Health Care Home model will initially be rolled out in selected geographical regions, based on Primary Health Network boundaries, across the country. Around 200 medical practices or Aboriginal Medical Service's in these regions will become Health Care Homes and together they will enrol up to 65,000 patients with chronic and complex health conditions who have been assessed as eligible.

What funding has the Government committed?

The Health Care Home implementation will improve the targeting and alignment of existing health care resources. The Government has announced that $21.3 million will be allocated to develop the infrastructure needed to implement and evaluate the Health Care Home model. Additionally, $93 million in MBS funding is being redirected for clinical service delivery. A core element of this investment is to help businesses, health providers and consumers transition to the new model of care.

Governance structure

To support the introduction of the Health Care Home model during Stage 1, a two tiered governance structure consisting of an overarching Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) and four specialised working groups, has been established.

The role of the IAG is to work collaboratively with the Department to provide advice on issues relevant to the design, implementation and evaluation of the Health Care Home model. The IAG will be supported by time limited working groups, tasked with guiding the development of core elements underpinning the rollout of Stage 1 Health Care Homes, including payment mechanism, patient identification, guidelines and training, and evaluation.

Terms of Reference - Health Care Homes Implementation Advisory Group
Membership of the IAG and working groups

What regions have been selected?

Health Care Homes will initially be implemented in ten geographical regions based on Primary Health Network boundaries. These regions include:

  • Perth North PHN
  • Adelaide PHN
  • Country South Australia PHN
  • Brisbane North PHN
  • Western Sydney PHN
  • Hunter New England and Central Coast PHN
  • South Eastern Melbourne PHN
  • Nepean Blue Mountains PHN
  • Northern Territory PHN
  • Tasmania PHN

The process by which practices in these regions can apply to become a Health Care Home is currently being finalised.
Map: Health Care Homes Stage 1 Roll out - PHN Regions (PDF 687 KB)
Alternative text for Health Care Homes map (TXT 1 KB)

Which health care providers can offer Health Care Home services?

General practices and Aboriginal Medical Services are eligible to become Health Care Homes.

An Expression of Interest process will occur in late 2016, asking practices in the stage 1 regions to apply to become a Health Care Home. Further detail on eligibility, timeframes and training will be provided ahead of that time.

When will it happen?

Health Care Home services will be delivered in implementation sites from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2019.

Evaluation of Health Care Homes in these regions will inform refinement of the new model of care and its suitability for broader rollout.

Timeline for Health Care Home rollout

Year Objective
2015-16 and 2016-17
  • Selection of regions for rollout
  • Active engagement of the health sector, consumers and care providers in implementation design
  • Provide training and support to providers and consumers on the new model of care
2017-18 and 2018-19
  • Patient enrolment begins – up to 65,000 patients
  • Delivery of services begin (1 July 2017)
  • Ongoing evaluation and refinement of Health Care Homes