QAIHC Public Health Registrar, Dr Shamila Ginige, provides an overview of the QAIHC MyMedicare Discussion Paper.

MyMedicare is an Australian Government initiative that allows patients to enrol with one primary care practice and to nominate a preferred GP at that practice. The registration to MyMedicare is voluntary for patients, practices and primary care providers. The intention of MyMedicare is to, over time, support a range of reforms to improve access to primary care and support practice viability.

At QAIHC, we have put together a discussion paper on MyMedicare raising some of our questions and concerns about MyMedicare’s impact on Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs). We are concerned this initiative may impact on health services in ways that may undermine the ease of patient access to health care.

The concerns raised by QAIHC include:

  • The lack of consultation with the ACCHO sector in program design and implementation.
  • The benefits to patients in registering with MyMedicare are unclear.
  • The possible reduction in Chronic Disease Management care items performed in ACCHOs.
  • The lack of informed consent due to the limited public communication about the MyMedicare program and its implications.
  • Capitation payments not covering the costs of treating complex patients.
  • The impact of patient mobility between services on this program.
  • The administrative burden with manual patient registration.
  • The lack of visibility over the program rules.

The recommendations put forward were:

  1. QAIHC invites MyMedicare program developers/stakeholders to work with QAIHC to address the concerns raised.
  2. QAIHC recommends that appropriate support is provided to ACCHOs to register their patients from 1st October 2023 in the form of additional workforce or financial subsidies.
  3. QAIHC recommends that appropriate information, support, and targeted communication is provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and the community to allow for informed consent when nominating a practice with MyMedicare.