The Practice Incentives Program Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP IHI) was introduced in 2010 as a key part of the Closing the Gap measure, to support health services provide improved and more targeted care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, including best practice management of chronic disease. The introduction of the PIP IHI, has led to an increase in the number of health checks provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with chronic disease and better access to prescription medicines. However, it is unclear as to whether this incentive has led to better health outcomes.

Key points:

  • Feedback from stakeholders indicates that the paperwork associated with registering for the PIP IHI is considered onerous in both the mainstream general practice and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) settings. In the ACCHO setting, a very large proportion of all patients will need to be registered, either because they have a chronic disease or because they are eligible for the Closing the Gap Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme (CTG PBS) co-payment.
  • Access and uptake of cultural awareness training by general practice staff has increased since the implementation of the PIP IHI, with evidence suggesting that general practices are becoming more oriented to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patient needs. However, there are concerns that the cultural awareness training requirements for the PIP IHI are inadequate, both in terms of not all providers undertaking the training, and that the minimum training requirement itself is not sufficient.
  • Data shows that payments made to health services for the delivery of care to patients who were registered for the PIP IHI showed little evidence that it was resulting in any improvement in chronic illness care.
  • The AMA would expect that eHealth technology and appropriate and effective transfer of care mechanisms to play an important role in enabling practices to maintain continuity and consistency of care for those members of their patient cohort who are geographically mobile.
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