Planned aged care incentives inadequate
PROPOSED incentives of up to $3500 for GPs working in residential aged-care facilities (RACFs) are just 10% of what is needed to cover the real costs of providing such care, the AMA says.
Under the Federal Gov-ernment’s National Health and Hospitals Network blueprint, GPs will share in $96 million of incentives as part of a wider $386 million push to increase services to aged care patients.
Payments to GPs attending RACFs will rise from $1000 to $1500 for doctors completing 60 or more attendances per year, and from $1500 to $3500 for those completing 140 or more.
But AMA aged care spokesperson Dr Peter Ford said the incentives did not reflect the time, cost and complexity of dealing with aged care patients.
He again called for the establishment of government-subsidised service agreements between GPs and RACFs, suggesting up-front payments of around $30,000 for a GP taking on 50 aged care patients.
Newcastle GP Dr Allan Kirkpatrick described the incentives’ design as inappropriate.
He backed the AMA proposal, saying it would enable GPs to provide higher standards of care to aged care patients while encouraging more doctors to become involved in the sector.