We are proud to be Australia’s oldest Health Fund
Mildura Health is the oldest open Fund in Australia, and in fact was the first Fund of its nature in Victoria. Its aim was to take the financial worry out of hospital care for regional members. With a current membership base exceeding 35,000 people, of which over 75% reside in the Sunraysia area, Mildura Health is today the purest example of a truly regional Fund. The Mildura Fund’s commitment to remain regional is without a doubt the strength of the organisation. Mildura Health is one of the strongest, most financially viable registered health benefit organisations in Australia.
Mildura and District Hospital and Medical Fund
Mildura District Hospital and Medical Fund
Mildura District Hospital Fund
Mildura Health incorporating Mildura Health Fund and Mildura Health Private Hospital
Inaugurated: 17th December 1929
- The first Fund of its nature in the State of Victoria. It was aimed at lifting the burden of hospital costs and thereby freeing the patient’s mind from financial worry.
- Consisted of a Committee of two from The Mildura Base Hospital in the original foundation, under the Chairmanship of Harry Bayliss, together with Bert Robertson, and Ted Murray as foundation Secretary.
- At the end of the first year the total membership stood at 750.
- Additional Committee member was appointed (Mr. F. J. Ransom) as Subscriber’s Representative.
- Mr. V. W. (Bill) Adair was appointed to the Fund Staff. The Committee at that stage consisted of three Mildura Base Hospital representatives and three Subscriber representatives.
- 1st August – the Mildura Health was made into an entirely self-contained and administered organisation, ceasing direct hospital representation, and transferred control to a Board representing subscribers only. Mr. V. W. Adair was appointed Secretary. The Board consisted of Mr. Alan Gallagher, Mr. R. Waite, Mr. Jack Suffren, Mr. F. (Fred) Ransom, Mr. R. Pugsley, Mr. V. W. Adair, Secretary and Mr. Ron Vine, Assistant Secretary.
- National Health Medical Benefits were introduced and the Mildura Fund introduced cover for medical benefits.
- Purchased 75 Deakin Avenue and located the Fund business there.
- Prior to 1961 the Red Cliffs area of Sunraysia was serviced by the Hospital Benefits Fund Red Cliffs. Mildura Health was the underwriter of their Medical Benefits. 1st October 1961 saw the amalgamation of the two Funds. A representative of the Red Cliffs area was appointed to the Board of the Mildura Health.
- 1st July the Fund entered into a contract with the North West Victorian Ambulance Service whereby all fund members would be transported in the ambulance area free of cost. Cost to the Fund $8,800 plus $1.25 per person increase in Fund membership each year.
- March - Robinvale medical, dental, and accountant’s premises purchased.
- March – Nulty Brothers appointed agents for the Fund in the Robinvale area.
- A contract was entered into with the Mildura Base Hospital for our members to be treated without cost by the District Visiting Nursing Service. Operated by the hospital.
- September – Building was commenced on the Robinvale Fund office with attaching Solicitors suite and Physiotherapy rooms. Completed in February 1964.
- On the Death of Bill Adair, Mr. W. B. (Bryan) Pollock was appointed Secretary. Mr. Adair’s employment with the Mildura Fund spanned 31 years.
1971 – 1973
- Government force reduction in reserves and by 1974 reserves were down to $400,000.
- Mr. W. B. Pollock resigned and Assistant Secretary Mr. B. E. Hines was appointed Secretary. Bryan Pollock commenced employment with the Fund in August 1965 (9 years). Mr. Garry Midgley was appointed Assistant Secretary.
- The Fund entered into an agreement with the Government and became a “Medibank” (now Medicare) agency.
- The new Government-owned private health fund, Medibank Private commenced operations.
- Medicare Medical introduced – Funds go out of Medical Insurance.
- Mildura Health was the first Fund to offer a Dental Only benefit table.
- Mildura Private Hospital opens for business and Fund promotes extremely successfully private hospital insurance.
- Medicare Agency terminated.
- Patient classification introduced into the hospital system.
- Mildura Health was the first Fund in Australia to enter into a 100% hospital contract arrangement. This was with the Mildura Private Hospital when it was owned by Healthscope and Dr. Geoff Dreher was Healthscope's Managing Director.
- Bill Hines retired 22 February 1989 after 30 years employment with the Mildura Health. Mr. Garry Midgley was appointed Secretary. Mr. Midgley commenced employment with the Mildura Health Fund on 24 October 1966. Garry Keller was appointed Assistant Secretary.
- Second Ancillary table introduced: “Ancillary Plus”.
- When Graham Richardson, the Federal Labor Minister for Health announced in 1993 there would be mergers of Fund, the Mildura Fund was approached by three different major Funds offering to “take over Mildura”. In their grand plan the Department of Health actually had Mildura merged with MBF. Regional Funds united to campaign against mergers with obvious success. The Australian Regional Health Group was born as a result of that campaign.
- Introduction of Excess hospital tables.
- Mildura Health became incorporated to enable the purchase of Mildura Private Hospital. Hospital purchased in June 1997. Sue Allen appointed General Manager/Director of Nursing.
- 30th November Sue Allen resigned as General Manager/Director of Nursing.
- 30th November Peter Darkin appointed General Manager Mildura Private Hospital and Trudie Chant appointed Director of Nursing.
- Government 30% rebate was introduced.
- 30th November 1999 Garry Keller, Assistant Chief Executive Officer resigned. Peter Darkin appointed Assistant Chief Executive Officer but continued the role of Mildura Private Hospital General Manager.
- Mildura Private Hospital Management agreement with Ramsay came into effect on 1 July 2000 and was terminated in May 2001.
- Gap Medical Benefits were introduced and 1st April 2000 saw the implementation of simplified billing arrangements with local medical practitioners through Mildura Private Hospital.
- 1st July 2000. Lifetime Health Cover came into effect.
- Standard common Mildura Health schedule of dental fees and benefits introduced into our dental contracting arrangements with local practitioners.
- Membership in 1969 was 12,329 (pre-Medicare). As a result of the introduction of Medibank Mark 1 (Medicare) membership dropped to 9,600. In December 1999, the Federal Government Rebate Subsidy was introduced and Lifetime Health Cover started on 1 July 2000. These incentives boosted the fund membership to an all-time high of 12,607 members.
- 30th November Trudie Chant appointed Mildura Private Hospital General Manager/Director of Nursing.
- 30th November Peter Darkin ceased role of Mildura Private Hospital General Manager and assumed role of full time Assistant Chief Executive Officer.
- August – Completion of New Day Procedure Unit, chemotherapy lounge, extra theatre, and new IVF facility at Mildura Private Hospital for a cost of $2.7m.
- March – Established a separate Board of Advice appointed to Mildura Private Hospital consisting of one MDHF Board member, Terry Hill, Peter Darkin, Assistant Chief Executive Officer and three non MDHF Board members, Ross Lanyon, Peter Andriske, and Tony Mathews (Chairperson).
- July - Electronic membership cards introduced to enable electronic claiming at point of service.
- Garry Midgley retired 15 July 2005 after 39 years employment with Mildura Health. Peter Darkin was appointed Chief Executive Officer. Gerard Op De Coul was appointed Assistant Chief Executive Officer.
- The Private Health Insurance Act 2007 was legislated.
- The Mildura Private Hospital achieved ISO 9001-2000 accreditation.
- The Mildura Private Hospital was awarded the Business Excellence Award for Best Not for Profit Organisation.
- The Fund celebrated 80 years of existence.
- October 2010, the Mildura Private Hospital celebrated its 25th year of existence.
- July 2011, Peter Darkin retired and Gerard Op de Coul was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer.
- Extensive renovations at the Mildura Private Hospital Banksia Ward were completed.
- Introduced new rules including members on excess tables no longer having to pay their excess for day surgery at the Mildura Private Hospital.
- Geoff Talbot, a long serving Director, retired after 47 years with the Fund.
- Fund was awarded the CANSTAR award for best overall health insurance for hospital products in Victoria.
- Your Money magazine Gold Medals awarded for the best value private health insurance for medium to high family cover and high-level hospital and extra product.
- Merger of the Fund Board of Directors and the Mildura Private Hospital Board of Advice with one Chief Executive Officer appointed for the whole organisation, Gerard Op de Coul.
- Fund was awarded the CANSTAR award for best overall health insurance for hospital products in Victoria for the second year running.
- New Brand “Mildura Health” launched.
- January Fund introduces Five Star Extras, the Funds first combined ancillary and dental cover offering higher benefits to member.
- Fund was awarded the CANSTAR award for best overall health insurance for hospital products in Victoria for the third consecutive year.
- The Mildura Health Private Hospital attained accreditation to the ten National Safety and Quality Standards.
- Extensive renovations at 79 Deakin Avenue premises completed.
- The Mildura Health Private Hospital turns 30.
- The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) replaces APRA effective 1 July 2015 as the regulator for the Private Health Industry.
- Fund was awarded the CANSTAR award for best overall health insurance for hospital products in Victoria for the fourth consecutive year.
- 15 April, the first Chief Risk Officer, Cheryl Rix is appointed to the Fund.
- June, Amanda Phillips appointed as the first female Director.
- September, Michael Charles retired as Director after 17 years of service.
- The Fund awarded the coveted “Chairmans” Award by Hirmaa after the release of the Member Satisfaction Research results for five years of continuous improvement.
- June, Fiona Wright appointed as Director.
- 28 July the Fund reached a major milestone of 30,000 members.
- Stage One of the Mildura Private Hospital building works commences.
- September, Dr Kevin Chambers retires after 28 years of service as Director.
- 31 January Garry Midgley retires as Director after 11 years of service.
- 1 February Lynne Ball appointed as Director.
- September David Stevenson retires as Director.
- December Marcus Guthrie appointed at the Mildura Health Private Hospital CEO.
- 1 November Fund introduces “Family Plus” and “Single Parents Plus” products where adult dependents to the age of 25 can remain on the family policy.
- The Fund is awarded the CANSTAR Outstanding Value Award for Hospital and Extras Package in Victoria.
- The Fund is awarded the Choice Recommended Provider for Five Star Hospital cover with excess.
- 22 March Chris Williams appointed as Director.
- 22 March Greg Hutchison appointed as Director.
- 1 April Mental Health reforms introduced.
- 1 April Youth discount introduced.
- 1 April Five Star Hospital $750 excess product introduced.
- 1 April Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic Product Classifications introduced and Clinical Categories defined.
- 1 April Further Mental Health reforms introduced.
- 33,000 membership milestone achieved.
- Former Director and Chief Executive Officer Garry Midgley passed away with the Boardroom named in his honour.
- October the Fund was awarded the Most Outstanding Hospital and Extras package by CANSTAR in Victoria.
- 17 December Fund Celebrates its 90th Birthday.
- For the eighth year in a row the membership satisfaction survey showed a strong result with 98% of members satisfied with their membership in the Fund.
- GP Consulting Rooms opened at the Mildura Health Private Hospital with the recruitment of Dr. Tom Gleeson.
- Global Pandemic COVID-19 spreads throughout the world with the Fund establishing a Pandemic Plan and shutting its front counter to members in April for a brief time (first time since opening that the doors have been closed to members). Staff transitioned seamlessly to work at home arrangements.
- State borders shut throughout the year cutting off access to health services and providers.
- Telehealth benefits paid for the first time at the Fund.
- 34,000 membership milestone achieved.
- Board approves the building redevelopment project at Mildura Health Private Hospital.
- Board decides to defer the premium increase from 1 April 2020 to 1 October 2020 due to COVID -19.
- October 2020 MHPH received accreditation approval to train GP’s in our region.
- December 2020 Dr. Jaz (Jandree) Fransch joined MHPH as their first GP registrar and will become the hospital’s first in-house female GP in 2021.
- 31 December Director Lynne Ball retires from the Board.
- 13 January New Swan Hill location opens at McCrae Street with staff attending 2 days a week after an extended break due to COVID-19.
- 27 January Broken Hill Office opens in the Broken Hill Community Credit Union Building on Oxide Street.
- The major building redevelopment at MHPH gets underway on 5 July 2021.
- A renovation of the Private Consulting rooms is completed with new Dermatology services offered.
- 23 September Kerrie Pitt is appointed to the Board of Directors.
- 35,000 member milestone achieved.
- The Fund mandates in accordance with Government Policy all staff must be vaccinated for COVID-19 otherwise they cannot attend the office.
- The Fund employs midwives to start a new post-natal out of hospital care model.
- The lease agreement is signed with ICON to build and operate the Mildura Health Cancer Care Centre.
- In November, Mildura Health Fund becomes the oldest continuous health insurer in Australia due to the oldest fund merging with another fund.
- The Fund for the first time rolls over unused extras benefits limits from 2021 to 2022 given the lack of accessibility to health services due to ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
- For the ninth year in a row the membership satisfaction survey showed a strong result with 99% of members satisfied with their membership in the Fund.
- The membership satisfaction survey showed a strong result again in the 10th year with 98% of members satisfied with their membership in the Fund.
- Mildura Health publicly advocates for continued co-location of the Private Hospital and Public Hospital.
- Board decides to defer the premium increase from 1 April 2022 to 1 October 2022 due to COVID -19.
- Board decides to return $6 million dollars back to members who held hospital cover on December 31 for a minimum of 3 months as part of the Fund COVID-19 Support package. Over 13,000 memberships received this benefit.
- Construction of the Mildura Health Icon Cancer Centre commences.
- Commencement of the $12 million redevelopment of Mildura Health Private Hospital in readiness for the future needs of the local region.
- October – Exclusive post-natal service introduced to Mildura Health Fund members in Mildura and surrounds.
- First Board meeting held in Broken Hill in November 2022.
- Reached milestone of 35,500 members.
- January 2023 the Fund scored a satisfaction high of 99% of members satisfied with their membership in the 11th year of the survey.
- The Fund’s private post-natal service is officially launched.
- 3 April 2023 the Mildura Health Icon Cancer Centre (MICC) is officially launched.
- The decision is made to defer the 1 April 2023 premium increase to 1 July 2023.
- May 2023 the Fund returns another $6 million dollars to its members who held hospital cover on December 31.
- September 2023 the Mildura Health Foundation, a registered charity, is launched to fundraise for patient accommodation for those undergoing radiation treatment at the MICC.
- October 2023 Mildura Health’s CEO Gerard Op de Coul celebrates 20 years with the organisation.
- The Mildura Health Private Hospital $12 million redevelopment of the operating theatres and patient recovery unit on track for opening to patients in January 2024.
- 37,000 members milestone achieved.
- First Board meeting held in Swan Hill in November 2023