Message from the CEO

Mark Hartigan

As Country SA PHN’s new Chief Executive Officer, I would like to introduce myself. I am grateful to be endorsed by the Country SA Board into this position and excited to lead such a dynamic organisation with a committed and talented team, into its next chapter.

I thank former Chief Executive Officer Kim Hosking for his leadership at Country SA PHN and previously Medicare Local over the past 11 years. I also thank Kim for his continuing wisdom and guidance he will generously be providing to me over the next six months.

I am the current South Australian representative on the PHN, CEO Cooperative Management Committee and Joint Venture Committee. I have been a Justice of the Peace since 1998, a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and hold Accounting and Business Qualifications. I have a strong background and experience in commercial/rural banking, Local Government, and as a CEO in private business throughout regional South Australia. I live in the beautiful Barossa Valley and enjoy following sports and a glass of Barossa’s reds!

I have been with Country SA PHN, and previously Country North SA Medicare Local, for eight years in the role of Deputy CEO and Chief Operations Officer. As such, I am deeply familiar with the organisation – our mission, our vision, our raison d’etre - essentially what makes us tick.

Our vision is better health and wellbeing for all country South Australians. Our mission is to bridge the gap of health inequity.

I look forward to continuing doing what we do in the way that we do it. There are always ways to improve and of course COVID-19 has taught us all the importance of being flexible, innovative, and ready to embrace new opportunities. I value the important relationships we have with our service providers, other stakeholders, and the wonderful, diverse, and resilient country South Australian communities we exist to serve.

Last month we introduced our newest team – Integrated Aged Care. It is an important example of the Department of Health and Aged Care recognising and utilising PHN’s pivotal roles to support fundamental and important initiatives to evoke fundamental change.

Our team will support the Australian Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Country SA PHN has a solid understanding of the local aged care health and service needs of our regions. This new funding will complement and build on this existing work. The Aged Care team will utilise our existing expertise and relationships with local health services providers to commission healthy ageing activities and intervention to support chronic disease management in the target population.

Our team will be working with the health sectors and practitioners to improve the interface between aged care, primary care, and other health services. We will also assist participating Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) to increase and support the availability of appropriate virtual consultation for their residents and enhance after-hours support with the overarching goal of reducing avoidable hospitalisations for older people.

We are continuing to build on the firm foundations of what we already understand about the local health and aged care service needs of our region. As such, we will be commissioning and supporting activities and interventions to support senior country South Australians to age well in the place that they choose to call home.

The Royal Commission’s final report reaffirmed that the aged care system is complex and difficult to navigate. It should be simple for older people to access the aged care they need. The report recommended the establishment of a dedicated workforce called ‘care finders’ to provide special assistance to older people who need intensive support to understand and access aged care services - to receive the care they need, when they need it. It is estimated that approximately 500 care finders will support 38,000 older people across Australia every year. Care finder services will begin in January 2023.

You can reach the Country SA PHN Aged Care Team at:

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