Medicare Locals Operational Guidelines September 2012
Medicare Locals Governance
Medicare Locals’ governance arrangements should promote strong linkages between Medicare Locals and local health professionals, LHNs and the community to ensure services work with each other.
Medicare Locals are responsible for the identification of the health needs of their local areas and for the planning of locally focused and responsive services. In order to do this, Medicare Locals are required to conduct joint service planning with LHNs and other appropriate organisations, such as aged care providers and community health groups.
Medicare Locals are independent companies limited by guarantee, managed by skills based boards and are subject to the Corporations Act 2001.
In general it is expected that:
- Board and governance appointment processes should be robust and transparent and incorporate the required range of skills. In addition, the membership should be involved in appointment processes.
- Boards are expected to comprise between seven and nine people and members should have expertise in local health care provision, the local community, business management, accounting and legal issues.
- Governance arrangements should promote strong linkages between Medicare Locals and local health care professionals, LHNs and the community to ensure services work with each other.
- A majority of Directors are not practicing in any one profession.
- Medicare Locals and LHNs are expected to have some common membership of governance structures where possible.
It is preferred that Medicare Locals operate under an organisational membership model – with members such as local health service providers and community groups – rather than the individual membership basis. However, a combination of individual membership and organisational membership is acceptable. The Department expects that membership should cover the full range of primary health care providers in an area and the broader local community, through active recruitment by Medicare Locals.
Medicare Locals operate within an environment in which they are accountable to both the Commonwealth and their local communities. In order to be responsive and accountable to the local community, Medicare Locals need to have transparent and visible processes for engaging with them.
Relationship with Local Hospital Networks (LHNs)
Medicare Locals’ governance arrangements should promote strong linkages with local health care professionals, LHNs and the community to ensure services work with each other. Medicare Locals are expected to establish effective collaborations with LHNs to deliver more coordinated, integrated, locally responsive and flexible health services. These collaborations will mean that patients have access to the right care, in the right place and at the right time.