cohealth shares melbourne’s community health story with international delegation

Released on 22nd April 2015

A delegation of eight Canadian and US community health leaders have met with Victoria’s largest community health service, cohealth, to learn about innovative practices in community health care.

The US/Canadian study tour delegation was led by the Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA) in partnership with Community Health Australia in an effort to strengthen international links between the three nations and share best practice experiences in community health.

VHA Acting CEO Tom Symondson said the recently merged cohealth offered the experience of operating over 40 centres working with some of Melbourne’s most disadvantaged populations.

“There are some wonderful examples of Victorian community health services like cohealth looking at the big picture in their neighbourhoods and developing innovative services and programs for tackling
local health challenges,” Mr Symondson said.

“This study tour is about striving for excellence by building and sharing a knowledge base on best practice in community health which can be adopted in communities worldwide.”

cohealth Acting Chief Executive Nicole Bartholomeusz said the opportunity for community health services from three countries to sit down together was invaluable.

“Delivering healthcare in an environment of increasing complexity in a challenging fiscal environment is a constant learning process and we appreciate the opportunity to engage with community health professionals from across the globe”, Ms Bartholomeusz said.

cohealth made presentations in:

  • The central role consumers play in cohealth’s governance and development of services and programs
  • The multi-disciplinary approach it takes to harm reduction for people using injectable drugs including primary and secondary care, outreach services, peer networking, dispensing machines, opioid replacement therapy, testing for Hepatitis C, health promotion and counselling
  • Successes in pain management and health care outcomes for refugee and asylum seeker patients by addressing both their mental health and health issues in an integrated, inter-professional way
  • Two trials demonstrating the benefit of longer consultations, partnerships with local services and
  • Medicare rebates for people with complex and chronic health issues like diabetes as well as alcohol and other drug-related issues

“It has been rewarding to have our health services recognised and be able to share those practices with our international colleagues,” Ms Bartholomeusz said.

cohealth has locations in Melbourne’s western, northern and inner suburbs including Collingwood, Fitzroy, Melbourne CBD, Flemington, Moonee Ponds, Niddrie, Footscray, Braybrook, Werribee and Melton.

The study tour includes visits to six Victorian community health services, and two New South Wales facilities.

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