Impact of the Medicare Chronic Disease Management program on the conduct of Australian dietitians’ private practices
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Objective. This study explored private practice dietitians’ perceptions of the impact of the Australian Chronic Disease Management (CDM) program on the conduct of their private practice, and the care provided to patients. Methods. Twenty-five accredited practising dietitians working in primary care participated in an individual semi-structured telephone interview. Interview questions focussed on dietitians’ perceptions of the proportion of patients receiving care through the CDM program, fee structures, adhering to reporting requirements and auditing. Transcript data were thematically analysed using a process of open coding. Results. Half of the dietitians (12/25) reported that most of their patients (>75%) received care through the CDM program. Many dietitians (19/25) reported providing identical care to patients using the CDM program and private patients, but most (17/25) described spending substantially longer on administrative tasks for CDM patients. Dietitians experienced pressure from doctors and patients to keep their fees low or to bulk-bill patients using the CDM program. One-third of interviewed dietitians (8/25) expressed concern about the potential to be audited by Medicare. Recommendations to improve the CDM program included increasing the consultation length and subsequent rebate available for dietetic consultations, and increasing the number of consultations to align with dietetic best-practice guidelines. Conclusions. The CDM program creates challenges for dietitians working in primary care, including how to sustain the quality of patient-centred care and yet maintain equitable business practices. To ensure the CDM program appropriately assists patients to receive optimal care, further review of the CDM program within the scope of dietetics is required.
Australian Health Review
© 2015 CSIRO. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified