4.1 Roles and responsibilities

4.1.1 Medicare Locals

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Outreach Worker will work with the Indigenous Health Project Officer to help local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples make better use of available health care services. The Outreach Worker will undertake the following non-clinical tasks, under supervision:
  • community liaison: establish links with local Indigenous communities to encourage and support the increased use of health services, including Health Assessments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and MBS care planning Items, and to identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who would benefit from improved access to these health services;
  • administration and support: assist the Indigenous Health Project Officer to identify barriers that may impact on access to health services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • provide practical assistance: provide practical assistance to identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to attend appointments for MBS Health Assessments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to access other health services as required, including GP care planning, follow-up care, specialist services, and community pharmacies; and
  • provide feedback regarding access problems: provide feedback to the Medicare Local regarding problems encountered that may be restricting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ access to health services, and in conjunction with the Indigenous Health Project Officer, work to implement solutions.

Activities could involve:
  • distributing information/resources to local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about services that are available to/for them and encouraging them to make the first contact with primary health care services in their region (both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific and private GPs);
  • encouraging and helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to attend appointments with general practitioners (GPs), including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Assessments and care planning;
  • encouraging and assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to:
    • attend referred specialist services and care coordination, as necessary;
    • attend for relevant diagnostic tests and /or referrals to other primary health care providers (including allied health);
    • collect prescribed medications from the pharmacist;
    • return for follow up appointments with their GP and/or practice nurse; and
    • fill out forms and understand instructions from reception staff.
  • encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to:
    • self-identify; and
    • register for a Medicare card.
  • distributing information to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples about relevant Closing the Gap measures including how to access available services (eg Care Coordination and Supplementary Services, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme co-payment).

Medicare Locals will have the flexibility to tailor the role and activities of the Outreach Worker to suit local needs, taking into account the objectives of the Program.

Medicare Locals will be expected to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees are provided with a culturally safe working environment.

Medicare Locals are expected to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees are provided with a culturally safe working environment. This may, for example, take the form of developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Advice on the development of RAPs is provided on the Reconciliation Australia website.

4.1.2 Department of Health and Ageing

4.1.2.1 State and Territory Offices will be responsible for administering and managing the Program. They will take responsibility for:

  • being the first point of contact at the Department for Medicare Locals in relation to the Program (with the option to refer Medicare Locals, where relevant, to these Guidelines, to the relevant SBO, AMLA and/or Central Office);
  • managing Medicare Local Schedules under the Deed;
  • receiving, assessing and approving deliverables under Schedules to the Deed;
  • approving payments;
  • monitoring implementation and compliance of the Program by individual Medicare Locals and;
  • alerting Central Office to performance or other State/Territory issues relevant to the Program and providing advice on their resolution.

3.1.4.2 Central Office has responsibility for:

  • establishing the policy framework;
  • establishing funding arrangements, including execution of Schedules to the Deed;
  • making payments to Medicare Locals in accordance with Schedules to the Deed;
  • developing and maintaining Program Guidelines, Performance Indicators and reporting frameworks;
  • monitoring and managing the Program; and
  • evaluating and reporting on the Program.