Abt JTA To Implement Primary Health Network

The Australian Commonwealth Department of Health announced on April 10 that Abt JTA, in partnership with Sunshine Coast Health Network, had been selected to participate in the Commonwealth of Australia’s initiative to implement one of 31 new Primary Heath Networks across Australia.

The Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are replacing 61 Medicare Locals, which were established by the previous Australian government as the primary health care flagship of the national health reforms.

The PHNs will focus in particular on the burden of chronic disease on Australian people and the Australian health services. The PHNs will work with hospitals and health services to develop strategies to address population health issues. They also will work with the general practice community to reduce avoidable hospital admissions.

“One of the central challenges in health care in Australia – and around the world – is adapting health systems from treating illnesses and symptoms to helping people avoid these illnesses in the first place,” said Abt JTA CEO Jane Thomason. “We look forward to tackling this challenge.”
Abt JTA, in partnership with Sunshine Coast Health Network, was awarded the PHN for Central Queensland and the Sunshine Coast, which is located on the east central coast of the country. This area, which totals for 161,000 square kilometers, is home to 835,000 people, many of whom live in widely dispersed rural and remote communities. Abt JTA will manage the population health planning, monitoring and evaluation and research activities of the PHN, along with responsibility for the PHN’s human resource management.

The PHN’s implementation budget is approximately AUD$35m over three years. The PHN’s responsibility is for population health planning, commissioning of services, direct support through training of general practice staff, and evaluating impact and effectiveness of health interventions. Other key activities of the PHN include engaging direct service providers to deliver the range of primary care clinical services to the PHN. The PHN will also participate in an innovation funding pool, the size of which has not been determined.