Key messages

  • Victoria's community health services, general practice and other private providers coordinate care to achieve the best health outcomes for Victorians.
  • The Department of Health & Human Services has tools and resources to help community health services foster relationships with general practice and private allied health and mental health providers.
  • Community health services can improve service access by engaging with general practitioners and providing additional services through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

Building relationships between community health and general practice

Successful working relationships between Victorian community health services, general practice and other private providers are necessary to maximise service offerings, coordinate care and achieve the best health outcomes for Victorians. Victoria’s community health services can enhance consumers’ access to allied health and mental health services by involving general practitioners and incorporating appropriate MBS services, regardless of whether they operate general practices themselves. Depending on their local circumstances, community health services should consider multidisciplinary models of care that incorporate MBS services. The Department of Health & Human Services has developed tools and resources to help community health services foster relationships with general practice and private allied health and mental health providers. They include:

  1. The Working with general practice position statement articulates the department’s vision for a stronger working relationship with general practice. The position statement has a supporting resource guide for staff. The department has also developed resources to help service providers to improve their feedback to general practice.
  2. The Guide to developing an optimal business model for general practice in community health provides information about sustainable business models for general practices operating within community health services.
  3. The Summary of new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item numbers: general practice and allied health (also known as the MBS flipchart) provides easy-to-access information about relevant MBS item numbers for community health services.
  4. The MBS service toolkit contains resources to help Victorian community health services plan and implement MBS service models.
  5. Allied health service models discusses various MBS models for allied health services used in Victoria.

Each service can develop a care model that best suits its community, in consultation with consumers and other providers, after considering:

  • people’s needs and preferences
  • the prevalence of chronic disease in the local community
  • the availability of local services and providers in the local community
  • the likely future effect on existing services, the community health workforce and demand management strategies.

The adopted model should not result in reduced public allied health services. The department recommends community health services seek legal advice to ensure a new service model complies with s19(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Commonwealth).

Community health services providing MBS services should record the funding source in the client management software as an ‘MBS-funded service’. However, community health services should not include MBS-funded services in their reporting to the department for DHHS-funded services.