Evaluation of the COAG Section 19(2) Exemptions Initiative – Improving Access to Primary Care in Rural and Remote Areas
Evaluation of the COAG Section 19(2) Exemptions Initiative – Improving Access to Primary Care in Rural and Remote Areas, Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care engaged HMA to undertake a robust review of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Section 19(2) Exemptions Initiative – Improving Access to Primary Care in Rural and Remote Areas (the Section 19(2) Initiative). The Section 19(2) Initiative was introduced in 2006–2007 by COAG to enable non-admitted and non-referred professional services at specified locations to be claimed under Medicare when also funded through a State or Territory. Key tasks of the review included:
- Situation analysis: HMA reviewed relevant policy, program documentation, literature, and selected Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) data to provide context and inform future stages of the review process.
- Evaluation plan: HMA developed a program logic and evaluation framework which outlined key evaluation areas and questions for the review and identified suitable data sources and data collection points.
- Data collection: HMA collected a range of qualitative and quantitative data via surveys and interviews conducted with relevant stakeholders to gather feedback on the effectiveness of the Section 19(2) Initiative from a range of stakeholder perspectives.
- Case studies: HMA investigated the impact of the Section 19(2) Initiative on different rural communities by conducting 10 case studies at selected sites. The case studies provided an in-depth understanding of how well sites are able to meet the objectives of the Initiative and identify barriers to future success of the Initiative.
- Triangulation of information: quantitative and qualitative data and information from the previous stages were analysed and used as the basis to answer the evaluation questions specified in the evaluation framework.
- Preparation of the final report: a final report that summarised the evaluation findings and recommendations made was prepared and submitted to the Department. The published report can be found here.
The project commenced in December 2020 and was completed in August 2021.