October 2016 sees a change to the way two key funding streams for general practice will be administered. Funding currently allocated to the Care Plus stream and to High Use Health Cards will be pooled into 'ECAP' Extended Capitation funding to be used to benefit all patients in our practice. So, what does this mean for you?
Care Plus is a funding system that allows a small amount of money to be spent on individual patients who meet specific criteria. All of the money currently used for Care Plus will be added to the ECAP pool to help the patients who doctors identify as being most at need. Care Plus will cease to exist as of October 2016.
High Use Health Cards are cards issued to eligible patients who have visited the doctor more than 11 times (excluding for injuries) in the previous 12 months. These offer little benefit to patients but do increase the funding received by the practice in recognition of the extra work we are doing. Although these remain a legal entitlement and you may have one if you wish provided that you meet the criteria, we will no longer be checking to see if you are eligible or issuing reminders for renewal. Instead existing cards will be allowed to lapse and new cards will not be requested. We anticipate that this will release considerably more savings to share through ECAP.
ECAP is a pool of money which is shared amongst all the practices in the Pegasus Health PHO. We are given a small monthly payment to use in any way we see fit to improve your healthcare. We have to provide a report on how the money is being used but otherwise we can use it as we see fit. This is an important change as we will no longer have tiny amounts of money that have to be spent on individuals, instead we can use the resources to improve systems and provide additional services that might otherwise not have been possible. Also we feel that as your family doctors we know our people best and are the right organisation to use these funds in the most efficient way. We anticipate that the reduction in adminstrative costs will increase the amount of the money that actually gets used on front-line services instead of being spent on managing over-complex systems.
If you are currently enroled in Care Plus, there is no need for concern. We can continue to use ECAP to help you meet your needs. High Use Health Card holders will probably not notice the loss of the card. If the cost of healthcare is an issue for you, please contact our friendly reception staff. We have a range of options including our regular payment scheme that may suit you.