The Biripi Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) has received Primary Health Network funding, meaning it can deliver care coordination programs for members of the Aboriginal community with complex medical needs.
The Biripi AMS celebrated the official opening of its upgraded clinic facilities on March 10 with the announcement of Primary Health Network funding.
“The new clinic at Purfleet provides primary care and specialists’ services to close the ‘access’ gap for Biripi people,” Biripi Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre CEO Brett Cowling said. The Purfleet clinic has been partially funded by the Commonwealth government.
“Historically, specialist services could only be accessed by travelling to Newcastle, leaving family and leaving Biripi country. The Biripi people also opened a new self funded clinic in 2016 that is closer to the Bushland community where a large population demographic reside.”
“Biripi AMS is now 37 years old and the commissioning of these valuable new assets will help secure the financial viability of the organisation into the future.”
Primary Health Network CEO Richard Nankervis said the aim of the funding is to better treat and manage chronic conditions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by improving access to services and better care coordination.
“Major chronic diseases in our community include asthma, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, dementia and mental illness and it is it is vital that these conditions are effectively managed in primary care to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.
“The alarming increase in preventable chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity are placing and a huge financial burden on the financial sustainability of the health system and by conducting care coordination programs we can support the patient and facilitate their care needs so we can keep them out of hospital,” Mr Nankervis said.
“A key benefit of care coordination programs is that they are patient-centred, and this is a key focus of all the programs funded by the PHN.
“There is strong evidence that engaging patients more fully in their own healthcare not only improves the experience for patients and those who care for them but it also improves the quality of care and lessens the cost to all.”
Mr Cowling said the funding provided through the Intergrated Team Care (ITC) program will make an important contribution to closing the gap in life expectancy by improving access to culturally appropriate primary care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“As part of this funding we will be providing care coordination activities that help patients get to medical appointments; get the patient’s family or carer appropriately involved; utilising relevant electronic clinical software to maintain, update and where required transfer the patient’s medical records to improve clinical handover and share clinical information with other members of the patients’ health care team.”