$1.5 billion is available to Medicare Locals to support the delivery of a range of primary health care initiatives.
The objective of the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Fund is to help make it easier for all Australians to access the right health care at the right time, through the provision of funding to Medicare Locals to improve the availability, appropriateness, coordination and integration of primary health care in their local community.
To achieve this objective, the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Fund priorities are to:
- promote, facilitate, and improve access to appropriate primary health care services;
- support primary health care providers and organisations to deliver safe, high quality services to consumers;
- encourage and promote innovative responses to health needs and priorities, including health promotion and prevention measures, use of evidence‐based strategies, the robust evaluation of activities, and the sharing of learnings;
- assist primary health care providers and organisations with the uptake and integration of new technologies, such as e‐health and tele‐health initiatives, to improve the delivery, safety and quality of health services;
- support the development and implementation of primary health care initiatives that are appropriately targeted to meet the needs of a range of identified client groups, and reflect engagement with, and the support of, client groups for these initiatives; and
- provide education, training, and other support for Medicare Locals to build their capacity over time to deliver on their strategic objectives.
The Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Fund is intended to be broad in scope, and flexible enough to support a wide range of activities that will assist Medicare Locals to deliver on their strategic objectives and the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Fund priorities, in accordance with the needs of their local community, and provide greater flexibility to respond to emerging health and ageing priorities.
The funding committed to Fund priorities and their supporting activities may be varied over time, to take into account:
- availability of funding;
- evidence, including from evaluation activities, of the effectiveness, efficiency and appropriateness of Fund activities; and
- emerging health and ageing challenges
The total value of funds available under the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund is $1.454 billion over the four years 2011‐12 to 2014‐15.
Allocation of funding to Medicare Locals
As existing funding arrangements for the programs that have been consolidated into the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Fund lapse, Medicare Locals will become the main funding beneficiaries of the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund.
Under the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Fund, Medicare Locals will receive funding to support the delivery of a range of primary health care initiatives and services and to meet their strategic objectives and the Fund priorities. Medicare Locals will also receive funding to cover the general administrative overhead costs associated with operating and maintaining Medicare Locals. These costs may include, but are not limited to: staff salaries, utilities, rent, travel expenses, reporting functions, communications activities, and Board attendance fees.
Funding will also be allocated to the Australian Medicare Local Alliance, for its establishment and ongoing operation, and to support Medicare Locals in meeting their strategic objectives. All existing funding from the programs being consolidated into the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund has been included in the new Fund.
Fund Application Processes
There will not be regular open funding rounds to access funds from the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund. The significant majority of funding available through the Fund will be provided directly to Medicare Locals. Other organisations may access funding from the Fund in specific circumstances.
Medicare Locals and the Australian Medicare Local Alliance will be directly funded to provide services under the Fund in the majority of circumstances. Individual grant processes that may be available to other organisations will contain detailed guidance on the specific requirements for that process, and will be consistent with the Fund Guidelines. Medicare Locals will work in close collaboration with their communities to identify primary health care gaps and service needs, set priorities, and address areas of unmet need. These processes will be reflected in their strategic plans, needs assessments, and annual planning and reporting requirements. Local priority setting will be also be complemented by state/territory and Commonwealth level health and ageing policies and priorities. Funding allocations will be monitored throughout the year, with potential underspends identified and allocated to activities identified as being the most appropriate method of meeting the Fund objective and priorities.
Any procurement activities undertaken by the Department in support of Fund priorities will be completed in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines.
Approval of funding
The amount of funding to be allocated to Medicare Locals and the Australian Medicare Local Alliance will be determined by a funding formula. For all funded entities, an assessment of required deliverables will be undertaken to ensure that the proposed activities will deliver value for money to the Commonwealth. The assessment of required deliverables will be undertaken by Departmental officers.