Recently the WQPHN hosted a visit to the region by the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Pinnacle Midlands Health Network New Zealand; visiting Australia to advise the Commonwealth Government on the lessons they have learned during the implementation of Health Care Homes (HCH) in New Zealand.

The establishment of HCH across Australia was recommended by the Primary Healthcare Advisory Group to deliver continuity of care through coordinated services and a team-based approach according to the needs and wishes of the patients.

Building on the efforts of PHN's that are already implementing relevant services in their areas click below to find out more about the HCH program and it's staged implementation.

The establishment of HCH is widely seen as a natural step in the right direction to resolving fragmented primary and acute care services for people with chronic conditions, but it will be important to get the funding balance right and embed HCH into existing chronic disease management and practice support activities being rolled out through the PHN's.

The program will get underway in a staged process. In stage one approximately 65,000 patients are expected to be enrolled across 10 PHN regions with up to 200 practices participating. A new bundled payment approach will be introduced through the HCH model, a movement away from the fee-for service MBS approach and patients with chronic conditions will be formally enrolled in a HCH pathway after being categorised against the three tiers relative to the stage of their chronic condition.

Whilst the WQPHN is not one of the HCH trial sites (only North Brisbane PHN has been selected) we are keen to stay in touch with these new developments and ensure our General Practice Networks are provided information about the progress of the first HCH trials. Several key elements of the HCH have been modelled on a similar framework that has been developed in General Practice organisations in New Zealand, particularly the process of patient stratification, enrolment practices and workforce redesign.

During September the WQPHN sponsored a work information tour from Midland Health Network Executives John Macaskill-Smith and Helen Parker. Midlands Health Network is a leading Primary Health Organisation and John and Helen have been at the forefront of implementing the HCH model of care across more than 100 practices within their Network. Whilst the green isles of New Zealand are in stark contrast to our landscapes and demographics, the critical practice capabilities and placed based enablers necessary to go to the next level of Practice systematisation are highly relevant and of direct interest to our care providers in the back country of Queensland.

The tour took in a number of practice visits and consultations with primary care providers through the North and Central West, including a formal Education event sponsored through the Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health (MICCRH) and broadcast through its satellite centres.

The WQPHN will be keeping its focus on the HCH developments and where these align with our current configuration of providers and practice support activities, particularly around greater integration within multi-disciplinary team based services supporting patients in general practice populations. During 2017 the WQPHN will be planning to undertake a number of proof of concept sites in which the selected HCH enablers will be trialled to allow a greater analysis of how this Commonwealth program innovation may inform the planned chronic disease management and system redesign.

Updated and new fact sheets: The Health Care Homes patient eligibility fact sheet has been updated; and there is a new Health Care Homes stage one modelling fact sheet. Both are available at health.gov.au/healthcarehomes

Webinar now live: The first Health Care Homes webinar was held on 17 November. It is now available online. If you missed the live broadcast you can now view the full webinar at: livestream.ssc.gov.au/health/17november2016/

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