Public health

Arthritis strategy relevant for other chronic diseases: ARA

Recommendations embedded in the Time to Move arthritis strategy are highly relevant to improving the management of other chronic diseases, says the ARA and Arthritis Australia in a submission to a government inquiry.

Launched by Arthritis Australia last year the Time to Move: Arthritis strategy provides a road map for improving care across Australia for people with arthritis, addressing the spectrum of intervention from prevention to advanced disease.

Some if its key recommendations include supporting GPs in helping people living with chronic disease adopt healthy lifestyles, measures to support early diagnosis and referral, as well as improve access to multidisciplinary care and build workforce capacity.

These were all initiatives that were relevant to all chronic diseases, the organisations said in its submission to the Standing Committee on Health Inquiry into Chronic Disease Prevention and Management in Primary Health Care.

But in order to achieve better prevention and management of chronic disease in primary care a review of current Medicare funding arrangements was needed, the submission stated.

The predominantly fee for service funding model did not adequately support or reward effective chronic disease prevention and management, either for health care professionals or individuals with chronic disease.

However, there was only limited evidence to support different funding models for chronic disease prevention and care and all had the potential to create perverse incentives.

“Blended payment systems which incorporate fee-for-service, capitation payments and outcomes based payments, probably offer the best option to support and incentivise chronic disease prevention and management and the current debate in this area is welcome,” it said.

Medicare funding also did not adequately support multidisciplinary care delivery, with the current five allied health visits per year an arbitrary number that often did not align with the complex needs of arthritis patients.

You can read the full submission here.

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