PDH Faces 'Use It or Lose It' Challenge For Community Health Programs

General
Monday, 2 March 2015
Portland District Health is encouraging local residents to use its community health services or risk partially losing funding for the programs.

PDH receives $1.3 million to provide community health services to the public but it needs to have the services fully subscribed to retain full funding.

In many cases local residents don’t realise they can use the programs without the need for a referral and can be accessed with virtually no waiting lists. A lot of patients can access these services at little or no costs. Fees for these services are means tested, however allowances are made based on individual circumstances.

PDH Director of Primary and Community Health, Fiona Heenan, said that up to $400,000 could be potentially lost if use of the programs doesn't improve.

To keep our funding we need to reach our targets. We are under target at the moment but this can be remedied as many services are underused by the public, Ms Heenan said.

PDH needs its community health programs to run to at least 95 per cent capacity but is about 20 per cent under target.

Ms Heenan said many people in the community weren't aware of the variety of services offered by PDH and were uncertain about eligibility criteria.

Allied and community health services available include physiotherapy, counselling, diabetes education, dietitians, exercise physiology, occupational therapy, social workers and district nursing among others.

These are publicly funded services and all residents have a right to use them, Ms Heenan said.

In many cases there is no need for a referral and either no waiting list or very little waiting time.

The campaign to encourage more people to use the services included use of social media which prompted significant levels of support.

We've received many calls and comments about our community health services, including from people who didn’t know these services existed and that they could access them, Ms Heenan said.

People are keen to use their local hospital and were very complimentary about the services offered by PDH, she added.

People wanting to find out more about the programs and their eligibility can contact PDH on 55 210333.


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