With a driving purpose of For Better Health, Medibank plays a role in supporting the health of members with chronic conditions. For Rebecca Bell, Medibank’s General Manager of Utilisation Management, this means overseeing programs such as CareComplete, which support members to take positive steps to improve their health.
Since joining Medibank, what have you learnt about the health of Australia?
I have learnt that we need to reorient our healthcare system to care for not only those who have acute, one-off health needs, but also for those who are living with longer-term health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. In Australia, these types of health issues require a different approach to that which we are currently set up for.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love working directly with our members on their health goals and what is important to them and their families. We have delivered lots of wonderful support for members – whether it be working on diet and lifestyle goals, or supporting end-of-life care in the comfort of the home. Every member’s health goals are individually important to me, and I enjoy working hard knowing that it really does contribute to our members’ health.
"The frontline health professionals in our CareComplete teams inspire me – they provide wonderful support to members day in and day out with compassion and kindness."
What health impacts are you seeing from the work you are doing?
We are seeing positive results to date across the programs in terms of people achieving their health goals – whether that be losing weight, improving fitness, or, for one member, being well enough at 97 years young to independently walk his granddaughter down the aisle next month.
We’re also seeing members manage chronic health issues with more knowledge, skills and confidence, which will ultimately help them manage their health and avoid deterioration and unnecessary hospitalisations.
What are some of the health challenges that you see in Australia?
Australians are living longer, which is fantastic. So how do we ensure a wonderful quality of life in these later years? One of the biggest challenges we face is being able to afford to sustain this quality of life for people with chronic health conditions.
What changes in health management and treatment are you encouraged by?
I am very encouraged by the Australian Government’s commitment to investing in primary care. Our GPs are the cornerstone of our health system. At the other end, I also love the social media movement of sharing health goals and aspirations with friends and family.
Who in the world of healthcare inspires you, and why?
The frontline health professionals in our CareComplete teams inspire me – they provide wonderful support to members day in and day out with compassion and kindness. They often go above and beyond to make sure our members in significant need can get access to assistance when they need it, and in a way that works for them and their family.
More personally, my grandfather George is 78 and was the oldest competitor at this year’s Surf Life Saving State Championships – picking up a couple of medals too! He has an incredibly practical and balanced approach to his health and is still one of the fittest people I know, never shying away from a few sandhill sprints or a paddle out the back of the waves.
"Marg is now exercising four hours a week and has achieved weight loss of more than three kilograms. Her risk of going to hospital has reduced from a rating of medium/high to low."
What is CareComplete?
Medibank’s CareComplete programs focus on improving the outcomes and quality of life for Australians living with chronic conditions.
Through our initial pilot programs, we are already working with around 500 GP clinics and 1,000 GPs to deliver CareComplete to 3,000 patients, both Medibank members and others.
One of the pilot program’s first participants was Marg, a 69 year old diagnosed with asthma, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis. With a body mass index (BMI) of 37, Marg’s number one priority was to lose weight so she could be healthier and more mobile.
Through the program she had a medication review to stabilise her blood glucose levels and met with a nutritionist for guidance on healthy food choices and portion control. She also started personal training sessions to increase her fitness while managing her joint pain.
Marg is now exercising four hours a week and has achieved weight loss of more than three kilograms. Her risk of going to hospital has reduced from a rating of medium/high to low.
CareComplete will be available across various locations in Australia. The programs will be open to governments and others to fund within their communities, as well as to eligible Medibank members.
Learn more about Medibank's suite of CareComplete programs.