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Part 6: Services to the Community - Health

A receptionist transacting with a young customer, handing over a medicare card after and holding a eftpos machine in the other hand

The department administers a range of health, pharmaceutical, aged care and veterans’ programs and related services. These enable community access to cost‑effective medicines, health services and care, as well as supporting and improving the wellbeing of an ageing population. The department is responsible for administering Medicare, Australia’s health care system.

The department also delivers other health payments and services under various programs, and administers three health registers: the National Bowel Cancer Screening Register, the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) and the Australian Organ Donor Register.

The department has several administration roles in various health care schemes in Australia. It administers:

  • rural health programs that provide incentives and support for medical practitioners delivering services in rural areas
  • medical indemnity schemes to strengthen the longer term viability and success of the medical insurance industry
  • the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS), which provide subsidised access to medicines.

The department also provides digital services for several national systems. In this role it:

  • operates the Healthcare Identifiers Service (HI Service)—a national system for uniquely identifying individuals and health care providers and organisations
  • supports the My Health Record system by delivering registration and enquiry services and some technical services
  • delivers authentication services to health care providers and supporting organisations for the National Authentication Service for Health (NASH).

In 2018–19, the department engaged with health professionals to gain a deeper understanding of how they use our services. This included attending industry forums and obtaining user feedback on departmental letters and forms. As a result, we made a number of improvements to our information products and continued progress toward an online delivery model.

As part of the department’s continuing modernisation of online services, the department expanded the self service functions for pathology collection centre approvals. Approved Collection Centre applications, renewals, variances and cancellations can now be completed through the pathology registration function in Health Professional Online Services (HPOS).

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Webclaim channel was taken up at over 13,000 provider locations in 2018–19, with 6,500 health professionals recruited in the last 12 months. DVA Webclaim’s major clients are small‑volume treating locations and allied health professionals. More than a quarter of claims for treatment of DVA clients now come through DVA Webclaim, and manual claiming is down to less than 4 per cent of total service claims received.