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Australia’s Health Care Homes: laying the right foundations

The Health Care Home is a central component of our national health reforms, and refining the model for broader implementation is essential

It seems a long time since April 2016, when the then federal Health Minister accepted all 15 Primary Health Care Advisory Group recommendations to improve care for Australians with complex, chronic health conditions. Recommendations included a mix of initiatives in system integration, care targeting, outcome measurement, change management and payment redesign.1 Central to this reform was the Health Care Home (HCH) — a change in traditional arrangements between patients and their general practices or Aboriginal community controlled health services.1

The major professional and consumer groups greeted the Minister’s announcement enthusiastically,24 and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to support from all jurisdictions. The Commonwealth agreed to provide enabling infrastructure to support a national pilot of the HCH model. The states agreed to work with HCHs and Primary Health Networks (PHNs) at local provider level regarding regional planning, collaborative commissioning of services, shared patient information and pooled funding arrangements.5

Under the proposed…