Fremantle Medicare Local has a range of programs to assist both primary care providers and Indigenous people in the region. These programs are funded under the Closing the Gap (CTG) strategy which aims to reduce the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
It is well documented that the health outcomes of Indigenous people are poorer than non-Indigenous Australians and this includes a burden of disease two-and-a-half times that of other Australians. This is largely due to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and chronic kidney disease. This burden can be reduced by earlier identification of, and the management of risk factors and the disease itself.
Overall the CTG strategy aims to:
- Reduce the lifestyle risk factors that are the main contributors to preventable chronic disease development
- Raise community awareness of chronic disease within Indigenous communities
- Free up Indigenous health workers to spend more time on clinical work and program management roles
- Increase collaboration between Indigenous health services, local general practices, hospitals and allied health providers
- Help close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation
The programs Fremantle Medicare Local conduct are designed to support practices to provide optimal care to their patients. Activities within these programs include: cultural awareness training, promoting the CTG Practice Incentive Payment, and linking providers with appropriate local services.
Fremantle Medicare Local staff assist local Indigenous people in a number of ways such as: providing care coordination for those with chronic diseases, assisting to access mainstream general practice, obtaining transport services such as Home and Community Care (HACC), registering for a Medicare card or attending health appointments with the person.
The CTG team at Fremantle Medicare Local can assist practices with cultural awareness training, raising awareness so that health professionals can better meet the needs of Indigenous patients. Literature that outlines the basic characteristics and complexities of typical Indigenous Australian culture can be provided, as well as personal discussions around the topic of culturally safe and appropriate practices.
Many people who identify as Indigenous are cautious of hospital settings and health environments and may not be comfortable answering some of the personal questions regarding their health. Fremantle Medicare Local program staff can offer support for the patient and education for practice staff.
A program officer has been appointed to work with young expectant mothers by offering education and support such as: attending antenatal appointments, antenatal care and assistance throughout their pregnancy and parenthood. Additionally, fathers are informed on matters such as contraception and fatherhood. To refer a patient into the program a GP can:
- Call Fremantle Medicare Local on (08) 9319 0555 or
- Call Kaleeya Hospital on (08) 9319 0300
This program is an initiative that is part of the CTG program and aims to contribute to improved health outcomes for Indigenous people with chronic health conditions through better access to coordinated and multidisciplinary care.
The program contributes to improved health outcomes for Indigenous people with chronic health conditions through:
- Care Coordination provided to Indigenous patients with a chronic disease by qualified healthcare workers (Care Coordinators). Patients must have a current care plan (GP Management Plan and/or Team Care Arrangement) and be referred by a GP in general practice or Indigenous Health Service participating in the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) Indigenous Health Incentive.
- Supplementary Services to assist patient access to medical specialists and allied health services (in accordance with patients care plan).
Care Coordinators work to:
- Assist Indigenous people in understanding their chronic health condition so they are able to self-manage on a daily basis
- Provide support in identifying signs that their condition may require further assistance from a health professional
- Advise on the importance of following their care plan and adhere to treatment regimes
- Arrange services required with medical specialists, allied health and other providers in line with their care plan
- Assist patients to participate in regular reviews by their primary care provider
With the range of staff we have in the team we are able to be responsive to all chronic health needs.
To refer a patient onto the program, a GP can contact the Care Coordinator at Fremantle Medicare Local on (08) 9319 0555 or send us an email.
*Please note: The term Indigenous people, covers both Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders.
Fremantle Medicare Local gratefully acknowledge the financial and other support from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.