One stakeholder is calling on pharmacies in regional, rural and remote areas to check their eligibility following changes to the Rural Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance to the new Regional Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance
The Federal Government announced on Tuesday that as of 1 January 2021, RPMA eligibility and payment values will no longer be based upon the Pharmacy Access/Remoteness Index of Australia (PhARIA) categories and will instead be based upon the Modified Monash Model (MMM) rural classification system.
PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said pharmacists should check their eligibility with the Pharmacy Programs Administrator website to understand the impact of the new requirements.
“Many pharmacists across Australia play such an important role in providing primary healthcare to patients in rural and remote areas,” he said.
“It is therefore important that these pharmacists are supported by government in recognition of the additional financial burden of maintaining a pharmacy service in these areas.
Increased investment in regional, rural and remote areas was included in the 7CPA, including a 10% increase in the RPMA with the opportunity for further increases in subsequent years.
“PSA is supportive of measures that improve workforce challenges and remuneration for pharmacists in regional, rural and remote locations, however we remain concerned that there may be some pharmacists worse off under the new requirements.”
A list of FAQs and a Factsheet explaining the RPMA Payment Matrix will be published on the PPA website.
A/Prof Freeman said the PSA will continue to work with the Government to ensure essential pharmacies in rural and remote areas receive the assistance they need to continue to provide much needed services.
“These services have never been more important as highlighted by the bushfire crisis and COVID-19 pandemic during 2020,” he said.
He encouraged pharmacists to connect with PSA to help the organisation better understand the impact of the RPMA change on pharmacist practice.