Following the announcement that Medicare Locals (MLs) would be replaced by Primary Health Networks (PHNs) earlier on in 2014, it has recently been announced that in South Australia, the 5 Medicare Locals will become 2 Primary Health Networks. There two PHNs will be in place by the end of June 2015, with one to cover all country areas and the other to cover Adelaide.
The Department of Health released a FAQ document (well, the document was there, prior to being archived or removed) in order to provide information about PHNs, which consist of 7 main sections:
1. Budget Announcement
PHNs will become operational from 1 July 2015, and Medicare Locals Accreditation is no longer needed. The Network Support Team will ensure the appropriate support for Medicare Locals during 2014-2015, and it is also expected that some of their staff will be given the opportunity in PHNs.
2. Continuity of Service
Medicare Locals will continue to receive Commonwealth funding until 30 June 2015, and the transition process will support the transfer of activities from Medicare Locals to the new PHN purchasing environment prior to 1 July 2015.
3. Role and Function of Primary Health Networks
PHNs are funded by Commonweatlh to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services to individual patients. PHNs will work directly with GPs, health care providers and hospitals. The corporate structures aim to reduce administrative cost for the patients’ benefit.
4. Boundaries and Funding
The Minister for Health approved a total of 30 PHNs. The boundaries are set to facilitate collaborative relationships and reduce duplication of effort. The funding is being considered as part of the PHN policy development process.
Clinical Councils and Community Advisory Committees will ensure local engagement and patient-centred decision making and will report to the PHN Board. Specific roles and any restrictions on the governance are considered as part of the PHN policy development process.
6. Approach to Market
The Approach to Market will be released to provide detailed information on how to become a PHN and the selection process.
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