Cash incentives to sweeten health?

THIS month a landmark pilot in diabetes care began in a handful of general practices around the country.

The three-year pilot is set to test several new strategies designed to improve overall health outcomes for patients with diabetes.

While some of the strategies, such as the creation of a new ‘care facilitator’ role, are winning over GPs, others are being greeted with a little more scepticism.

At the top of the list is the revised funding model under which GPs will be remunerated for their time, and in particular the “quality improvement support payments” that will be used to reward practices for achieving particular outcomes. In short, the pilot is trialling a new pay for performance (P4P) strategy.

Most GPs will already have some familiarity with the Diabetes Coordinated Care Project; it has been a long time in the making.

It was first unveiled in the 2010 federal budget as a $436 million scheme that