The practice incentives program (PIP) for Indigenous health is a key aspect of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) commitment to Closing the Gap. It provides additional funding to general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS or Aboriginal Medical Services, AMS’s) for practice sign-on, patient registration, and completion of outcomes. Patient registration is dependent on the identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, and the offer or completion of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health check (MBS item 715). Outcomes include completion and follow-up of a General Practitioner Management Plan (GPMP, MBS item 721) or Team Care Arrangement (TCA, MBS item 723).
Despite the complex health needs of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and the additional funding offered through the PIP, completion of the requirements for this incentive remains low across Australia. Approximately half of all clinical records in general practice do not include an identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and in 2013-14, only 21.3% of eligible people completed a 715. This affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and funding for essential health services. Even though morbidity rates in Aboriginal populations are more than double non-Aboriginal populations, per person MBS expenditure remains higher for non-Aboriginal people, across the country.
The following module outlines the basic components of the PIP Indigenous Health Incentive, common barriers to comprehensive assessments including the 715, 721 and 723, and possible interventions to increase the rates of program completion in practice. This module is appropriate for practice nurses, practice managers, general practitioners, allied health professionals, Aboriginal health practitioners and Aboriginal health workers employed in a primary health care setting.
At the end of this module participants will be able to: