Department of Health

Community health services (CHSs) provide state-funded primary healthcare in Victoria, focusing on people with, or at risk of, poorer health, under a social model of health.

Community health services directory

CHSs work alongside general practice, privately funded services and other health, wellbeing and community care services in Victoria. They primarily deliver:

The delivery of these supports and services is flexible and responsive to the needs of people and local communities. In this way, the CHSs focus on person-centred, coordinated care.

Community health services also have a key role in early intervention and management of people with chronic and complex conditions.

How community health services operate

Delivery guidelines

The Community Health Integrated Program (CHIP) guidelinesExternal Link describe what funded CHSs are expected to deliver under the Community Health Program. The guidelines aim is to improve consistency across the state in organisations’ planning, program design and service delivery. They also clarify expectations for coordinated service provision.


Community health services receive Community Health Program funding from the Department of Health, for general counselling, allied health (audiology, dietetics, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, speech pathology), community health nursing and health promotion..

The department also funds CHSs to deliver a range of other services, including aged care, dental health, Home and Community Care Program for Younger People (HACC-PYP) and a range of other community-based health.


Victorian CHSs operate under two distinct legal and governance arrangements: 55 CHSs operate as part of public health services and 24 are independent registered CHCs.

The independent registered services are companies limited by guarantee, and registered under the Health Services Act 1988.

Victoria's registered community health centres comply with performance standards and report regularly to the department.


Community health services target access to those with the greatest risk of poor health outcomes and the greatest economic and social need. There are no overarching state-wide eligibility criteria for community health services, although eligibility criteria exist for some funded programs, including the Community Health Program. Eligibility criteria for the Community Health Program is outlined in the Community Health Program access policy.


CHSs use a schedule of fees and income ranges when assessing clients. Fees are applied in line with the Community health fees policy which provides a consistent framework for how service providers are to operate.


CHSs operate from a social model of health. They acknowledge the social, environmental and economic factors that affect health, as well as the biological and medical factors.

For this reason, CHSs are active participants in and contributors to their communities. This strong community connection means they can better respond to their local communities and better address the factors that influence health.

Reviewed 25 October 2023


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