Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Which patients are eligible to receive POAC services?
Patients (≥16 years of age) who would otherwise require an acute hospital referral within the MidCentral DHB region, and are able to have their health needs met safely in the community.
(Only exception in age range is when specified POAC pathways for children are used)


UK or Australian citizens visiting New Zealand, or other visitors residing in New Zealand on a working visa with a continuous stay of two years or more. Refer to the Ministry Of Health eligibility criteria for publicly funded health services online for further information.


Patients whose treatment is not covered by another funding stream e.g. ACC (see exclusions in ACC section of manual), maternity services, and private insurance.


Who takes clinical responsibility for my patient when under the POAC service?
The Doctor or Nurse Practitioner who initially assesses the patient carries clinical responsibility, unless that clinician has specifically handed over care to another Doctor or Nurse Practitioner.


What if the patient is registered with another GP?
When the initiating Doctor is not the patient’s GP, he/she agrees to advise and handover care to the patient’s GP at the earliest practical opportunity e.g. the next working day. The initiating doctor carries clinical responsibility for managing the patient’s acute illness until the responsibility has been accepted by the patient’s GP.


Does the patient need to be enrolled?
No, patients do not need to be enrolled with you or any other practice to receive treatment under this service.


How can services be accessed for patients?
Services within the clinic can be provided as clinically assessed, no approval is required. X-ray services can also be accessed without prior approval being required.


What if the services required cost more than budgeted amount?
If the cost of the episode of care is not covered in the claiming guide or you are likely to exceed the maximum observation limit of 3 hours, please phone the POAC team for advice on eligibility to proceed with the claim


Does the patient have to pay for any services?
The initial standard GP/ NP consultation incurs the usual charge and thereafter all services are provided at no cost to the patient. This is on the proviso that the patient/ condition meets the eligibility criteria and those items claimed are covered in the claiming guide.


What is the claiming procedure for POAC services?
At the completion of care ‐ submit claim including all relevant clinical notes for the completed episode of care. Claims should be submitted within 30 days of completing the POAC episode.


What conditions can be claimed under POAC?
We encourage the consideration of POAC services for any situation where an acute referral to hospital can be avoided. This decision is based on clinical assessment where the patient can be safely cared for in the community. Localised collaborative clinical pathways are available on Map of Medicine to support management of some of the more common conditions.


Will POAC pay for after hours follow-up or home visits if needed?
Yes. Either the GP/ NP, the deputised after hour’s service or a local A&M can provide after hours care to your patient.


What hours is the POAC service support team available?
Monday – Friday: 0800 – 1630hrs
Mobile: 027 274 8106


What if my patient eventually needs to be admitted?
It is expected that some POAC cases may require referral to hospital for further management. Should this be required, refer to hospital services in the usual way. POAC will pay for services provided up to referral to hospital. It is essential that patients be admitted when necessary, risks should never be taken to avoid admission.


Can services be accessed for the same patient, for more than one episode?
Yes, funding is allocated per patient, per episode.


Who can help with medical management advice?
The local hospital Emergency Department (ED) Consultant or relevant hospital-based specialty Medical Practitioner may be contacted for medical advice.


How much should I charge?
For the initial standard GP/ NP consultation, charge the usual standard consultation rate. The only exception to this is if the patient is brought to you via St. John Ambulance as a POAC case – in this instance the patient pays the St. John fee and the other ongoing visits are covered by POAC. We have set fees for some services (packages of care) which are detailed in the claiming guide in this POAC information manual


When should an episode of care end?
POAC will fund for the acute episode only. The patient should be discharged when they are no longer acutely unwell and needing the increased level of care that POAC funds. This is usually within 3‐5 days but may be longer under some circumstances e.g. extension of IV antibiotic cover for cellulitis following discussion with Infectious Diseases Physician as indicated in the collaborative clinical pathway.


Does POAC fund ongoing dressing changes?
No, once the patient is well enough to be discharged from POAC (usually within 24 hours of last IV Antibiotic dose). Ongoing dressings should be referred to District Nursing service, or the patient would pay in the usual way.