Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist December 2015 Contents Australian Pharmacist December 2015 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
"PHARMACISTS ARE CURRENTLY
THE ONLY ALLIED HEALTH
PRACTITIONERS NOT ELIGIBLE
TO PROVIDE ALLIED HEALTH
SERVICES THROUGH THE CDM
Medicare bene ts should
The Medicare Benefits Scheme should be expanded to allow pharmacists
to help improve consumer health outcomes and quality use of medicines,
the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) says.
It has called for the expansion in its
submission to the Medicare Benefits
Scheme Taskforce Review.
PSA National President Joe Demarte
said: 'This is an opportunity to improve
outcomes in the care of patients with
chronic diseases and complex care
needs by optimising the contribution
of pharmacists in multidisciplinary
care teams and primary health care
settings -- areas of the MBS which may
be better utilised to reduce the impact
of medication misadventure.'
In its submission to the taskforce
the Consumer Health Forum (CHF),
the Society said the MBS should be
geared to provide the right incentives
and create the conditions for best
practice care of chronic conditions with
GPs leading a coordinated team of other
health practitioners. This would require
innovative payment regimes, not the old
fee-for-service approach, and the same
applied to preventive health care.
PSA welcomed the review, 'alongside a
number of other initiatives being
progressed by the Minister, all of
which seek to strengthen the focus
on evidence-informed health policy,
services and payment systems, to deliver
better outcomes to consumers'.
The PSA submission pointed to the
Chronic Disease Management (CDM)
Service as an example of a service
funded through the MBS that represents
high value care for patients with chronic
disease and complex care needs.
However, it is currently underutilised
due to the exclusion of pharmacists as
eligible allied health practitioners
'Pharmacists are currently the only
allied health practitioners not eligible to
provide allied health services through
the CDM service. Given the evidence
for a range of pharmacist services, and
central role of medicines in the care and
treatment of consumers with chronic
disease, this just doesn't make sense,'
Mr Demarte said.
"All proposed changes in the PSA
submission focus on fully utilising
pharmacists' knowledge, skills and
accessibility and do not duplicate any
existing services. All are for services that
are well within a pharmacist's current
scope of practice.'
Other changes that PSA proposed
• Establishing a Pharmacists in
General Practice Incentive Payment
(PGPIP), analogous to the Practice
Nurse Incentive Payment (PNIP).
The submission says that while the
PNIP is funded outside of the MBS, if a
PGPIP was implemented, pharmacists
should be eligible to provide, where
appropriate, the same services under
the MBS as practice nurses.
• Expanding existing services
remunerated through the MBS to
enable rural and remote Australians
to access pharmacists as primary
healthcare providers, allow continuity
of care and minimise hospitalisations.
• Extending the eligibility of MBS
remunerated services for the
provision of after-hours care to
CHF Chief Executive Officer Leanne
Wells said that the way Australia paid
its doctors had to catch up with the
realities of the 21st Century to ensure
consumers and the community received
the best value out of Medicare.
'It is clear that the traditional Medicare
fee-for-service arrangements are no
longer the best way to meet consumer
need,' she said.
'Paying doctors on a session-by-session
basis when so much of healthcare is
now for long term chronic conditions,
short-changes the patient and leaves
little scope or incentive for the doctor to
initiate and maintain, let alone innovate,
the co-ordinated, wrap-around
'The review is timely. Medicare was
conceived well over 30 years ago
when Australia's disease profile and
population health challenges were
different. In that time the MBS has
grown from 300 items to the current
5,700, with no comprehensive review or
delisting of outmoded items.
'Unnecessary red tape and workload
for GPs, and most importantly, cost
and inconvenience for consumers
should be removed in areas like the
current requirement for the annual
renewal of referrals. Done right,
both consumers and clinicians stand to
benefit from a more contemporary and
'The outcome of the review should also
reflect the more active role consumers
are taking in their healthcare.'
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