The aim was to investigate and report on the experience of a group of Australian Allied Health practitioners with the Medicare Chronic Disease Management programme (previously called the Enhanced Primary Care programme). This investigation aimed to help develop an understanding of current osteopathic practice methods and opinions concerning the program, and identify ways to enhance it to deliver improved outcomes for patients.
Materials and methods:
Registered osteopaths who attended the Australian Osteopathic Association annual conference on the Gold Coast, Queensland in October 2011 were surveyed using a structured set of questions regarding their practice experience and opinions of the CDM (EPC) program. Only osteopaths registered and practicing in Australia were included. Descriptive statistical data and cross-tabs were performed on the data.
Eighty-five surveys were deemed eligible for analysis – a response rate of 70.8%. Fewer than half (43.5%) of the respondents reported that they had “moderate” knowledge of the requirements of CDM (EPC) program. A majority of osteopaths reported that patients referred under a CDM (EPC) plan would require an average of 8–10 consults per annum to provide optimal benefits for patients from osteopathic treatment. Financial difficulty (50.6%) and co morbidities (38.8%) are the two most common reasons that CDM (EPC) patients differ to normal patients visiting the osteopaths.
It is evident that this sample of osteopaths do not have a thorough knowledge of the requirements of the CDM program. In addition they report that the patients referred to them under this program have more complex problems than their usual patients, and that the current maximum of 5 subsidised treatment sessions offered are insufficient and need to be increased to up to 10 sessions. This study has highlighted the need for further research into Allied Health practitioners experience of the CDM (EPC) program, including education regarding the policies of the program, a review of the number of subsidised treatment sessions and a consideration of the more complex health and financial difficulties faced by these patients.
Orrock, PJ, Lasham, K & Ward, C 2015, 'Allied Health practitioners' role in the chronic disease management program: the experience of osteopathic practitioners', International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, vol, 18, no. 2, pp.97-101.
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