Health Care Homes

This page contains information for consumers about Health Care Homes.

Page last updated: 08 December 2017

For health professionals’ information, go to Health Care Homes for health professionals.

Health Care Homes underway

In an important reform for primary care in Australia, close to 200 Health Care Homes around Australia are now enrolling patients. These practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) will provide better coordinated and more flexible care for up to 65,000 Australians who are living with chronic and complex health conditions.

The stage one trial of Health Care Homes will run until November 2019.

Coordinated care for people with chronic conditions

Inforgraphic illustrating the 'Better Coordinated' Health Care Homes process

One in four Australians have at least two chronic health conditions1. For these people, our health system can seem hard to navigate and disjointed. Different health professionals and services work in isolation from each other; care is often un-coordinated; and patients can find it difficult to get to different services and appointments.

A Health Care Home is a general practice or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) that coordinates care for patients with chronic and complex conditions.

People with chronic and complex conditions, who could benefit from Health Care Homes’ flexible, coordinated care can enrol as Health Care Homes patients.

What are the benefits for patients?

Inforgraphic illustrating 'Your Care Team' under the Health Care Homes trial
  • My care team — you have a committed care team, led by your usual doctor.
  • My shared care plan — with the support of your care team, you will develop a shared care plan. This plan helps you have a greater say in your care; and makes it easier for all the people who look after you, both inside and outside the Health Care Home, to coordinate your care.
  • Better access and flexibility — with a care team behind you, you have better access to care. Health Care Homes can also be more responsive and flexible. If you want to talk to someone in your care team, you won’t always need an appointment with your GP. You might call or message the practice team. Or they might call you to see how you’re going.
  • Better coordinated — your care team will do more to coordinate all your care from your usual doctor, specialists and other health professionals.
Inforgraphic illustrating 'Your Shared Care Plan' under the Health Care Homes program for easier coordination of your chronic conditions

Can I become a Health Care Home patient?

If you

  • have a Medicare card
  • have a My Health Record or are willing to get one
  • would benefit from the Health Care Home model of care
  • and are assessed as eligible by a participating Health Care Home

then you could enrol as a patient.

If you would like to become a Health Care Home patient, ask your GP if their practice is a Health Care Home.

More about Health Care Homes

What will it cost me if I become a Health Care Homes’ patient?

Ask your doctor or practice receptionist about this. Some people don’t have any out-of-pocket expenses when they go to see their doctor; while others are asked to pay a contribution. This will be the same under Health Care Homes.

What if I don’t want to change my care? I like everything just the way it is.

Joining Health Care Homes is voluntary. You don’t have to become a Health Care Home patient.

If you do sign up for Health Care Homes, you can keep seeing the doctors you know and trust.

The benefit of Health Care Homes is that it makes it easier for all the people who look after you — from your doctor to your specialist doctors and others — to share information about your health and to coordinate care based on your needs.

My doctor and my usual clinic already coordinate my care. Why should I sign up for Health Care Homes?

Doctors and practices already work hard to coordinate care for their patients.

The Health Care Homes’ trial gives practices the opportunity to improve the services they provide and the flexibility of these services.

For example, Health Care Homes’ patients can see their practice nurse, without needing to see their GP for every visit.

Health Care Homes will also give patients better access to appointments with either their GP or another member of their care team.

No two patients are the same. Health Care Homes helps doctors and clinics tailor care to each patient.

The government pays Health Care Homes in a different way, to reflect the responsive, flexible way in which they look after their patients.

I already have a GP management plan, a team care management plan or mental health treatment plan. What will happen to these if I join Health Care Homes?

These plans will form the basis of your new shared care plan. For example, if you have a GP management plan, you will continue to be eligible for up to five allied health services each calendar year.

With Health Care Homes, can I see my doctor whenever I want to?

Some Health Care Homes will keep their appointment schedules free at certain times, so that Health Care Homes’ patients can drop in, or get an appointment that day.

But every Health Care Home will be different. Ask your doctor or practice receptionist how this will work in your practice.

If after-hours access is important to you, ask about this too.

Another advantage of Health Care Homes is that patients may not always have to physically come in to the practice to receive care. Instead, patients may be able to Skype, call or email the practice.

If I am enrolled in a Health Care Home can I see another doctor?

When you are at home, you should always try to go to your Health Care Home. If you are travelling, however, you can see another doctor.

What if I get really sick? Or go to hospital?

If you get really sick, your care team will continue to care for you. They may also work with you to adjust your care plan as needed.

If you go to hospital, the care team will follow up with the hospital.

How does Health Care Homes fit in with state-funded isolated travel and accommodation allowance payments?

Being a Health Care Homes’ patient will not affect your eligibility for any state-based isolated travel and accommodation allowance payments.

Can I stop being a Health Care Homes’ patient?

Yes, you can withdraw from your Health Care Home. However, it is a good idea to first talk to your care team if you are unhappy about any aspect of your care. They might be able to help.

If you withdraw from Health Care Homes, you will not be eligible to reapply during the stage one trial, which runs from October 2017 to December 2019.

I am Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander. Will my care change under Health Care Homes?

If your local ACCHS or the practice you usually visit becomes a Health Care Home you can ask your doctor or practice receptionist for more information about Health Care Homes.

A brochure for Indigenous consumers is also available Fact sheets and brochures web page.

If you enrol as a Health Care Home patient then your care team at the practice will coordinate your care, from visits to the GP, through to specialist visits, scripts, blood pressure checks, physiotherapy, podiatry and other health services.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services around Australia will also become Health Care Homes.

Each Health Care Home will also work with the integrated team care (ITC) program arrangements for chronic care; and will coordinate other health services provided by state, territory and local governments or by community groups.

More information for consumers is available on the fact sheets and brochures web page.

For health professionals’ information, go to Health Care Homes for health professionals.

Complaints about Health Care Homes

If you are unhappy with any changes to your care because of Health Care Homes, first talk to your care team at your practice or health service. They may be able to resolve the problem.

You can also contact the department on
  • freecall 1800 290 637
  • an online complaints, feedback or enquiries form is available at health.gov.au
  • if you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can use the
    National Relay Service (1300 555 727) to access these numbers, or visit the
    National Relay Service online at health.gov.au

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