Are you getting the most out of your GP visits? Confused by all
the medical jargon used to explain your diabetes journey: Care
Plan; Chronic Disease Management Plan; GP Management Plan; Team
If, like many people living with type 2 diabetes, you aren't
sure what these terms mean or how they apply to you, read on …
What is a Care Plan?
A Care Plan is a type of Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Plan.
A GP Management Plan (GPMP) is a type of CDM plan coordinated by
your GP and practice nurse. When preparing your GPMP, the practice
nurse will consider all of your health needs and together you will
devise some health goals and an action plan to help get you
Diabetes is a complex condition and extra help is often needed
for you to reach your health goals. GP Management Plans offer this
extra help, in the form of Medicare-subsidised consults with allied
1. Individual allied health services
If your GP or practice nurse believes you could benefit from the
support of at least two allied health providers like a diabetes
educator, exercise physiologist, dietitian, or podiatrist, they can
refer you for consults through a Team Care Arrangement (TCA). This
is where your GP or practice nurse works in collaboration with
allied health providers to deliver your diabetes care. You will
receive five subsidised visits to the allied health providers of
your choice each calendar year.
2. Group allied health services
In addition, you may also be eligible to attend a type 2
diabetes group education program run by diabetes educators,
exercise physiologists and dietitians in your local area. These
services are approximately one hour in duration and take up to 12
people. Through your GPMP you can attend up to eight subsidised
group education sessions each calendar year.
Who is eligible for Care Plans?
There are a few essential criteria that need to be met to access
a Care Plan:
- Must have a chronic medical condition that has or will persist
for at least six months. There is no list of eligible chronic
conditions. It is up to your GP whether he or she thinks you will
benefit from a Care Plan.
- Not have an existing Care Plan (for example, at a different
medical centre) within the past 12 months.
When should I get a Care Plan?
As soon as you are diagnosed with a chronic medical condition
and every year thereafter. GP Management Plans and Team Care
Arrangements are valid for 12 months and should be reviewed every
three months to track progress towards your goals.
Where can I get a Care Plan?
Your regular GP/medical centre
Why do I need a Care Plan?
Care Plans ensure best-practice diabetes management including
regular monitoring to help prevent diabetes complications. They
provide subsided access to allied health and group diabetes
education services through Medicare.
How do I go about arranging a Care Plan?
- Ask your GP if you have a GP Management Plan and if not, ask
him or her to prepare one for you at your next visit.
- Set aside half an hour to talk to your GP or practice nurse
about your health needs and goals.
- Ask about subsided access to individual and group allied health
- Make sure your Care Plan is reviewed regularly, ideally every
How much does it cost?
The set-up of your GP Management Plan is bulk-billed by your GP
If your GP recommends a TCA or group education program, these
visits are subsidised by Medicare. How much you pay varies from
provider to provider. Some allied health providers bulk-bill and
others charge a gap payment (like GPs), so make sure to ask your GP
or practice nurse about the costs involved.
If you have private health insurance, make sure to compare the
cost of visiting your selected allied health providers and swiping
your fund card with the cost of a TCA. Sometimes it can be more
expensive to go through a TCA, depending on your level of 'extras'
cover. Your health fund will not cover the gap payment through a
TCA - you can only claim one rebate - through either Medicare or
private health insurance.
DQ's top tips for an effective Care Plan:
You only have five individual allied health visits per year so
use them wisely:
- Talk to your GP or practice nurse about how frequently you need
to visit certain allied health professionals (some do not require
multiple visits per year).
- Discuss with your GP or practice nurse which services will best
help you to reach your goals.
Shudder at the thought of goal setting and action planning? Come
along to a DESMOND
type 2 diabetes management program to get a taste of what it's