Medication reviews expanded

The government has announced changes to HMRs and RMMRs including added follow-ups and broader referral pathways

From Tuesday, accredited pharmacists will be allowed two additional follow-ups for Home Medicines Reviews (HMRs) and Residential Medication Management Reviews (RMMRs) with patients within nine months of the initial review, the PSA and Federal Government have announced.

Accredited pharmacists were previously allowed just one review per patient every 24 months.

The move is another win for pharmacists, following closely behind the announcement that pharmacists will be able to provide medication reviews via telehealth – a measure that was passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PSA National President Chris Freeman welcomed the changes, saying they are a necessary step to ensure elderly patients are properly cared for when it comes to the medicines they are taking.

“At a time where so much attention is given to managing the immediate COVID-19 pandemic, we must also not lose sight on the importance of chronic disease management and the safe and quality use of medicines,” said Associate Professor Freeman.

“Patients who take more than one medicine are at risk of problems associated with their medicines and HMRs are vitally important in identifying these issues.

“The PSA has long advocated for a system that allows for medicine reviews to be conducted frequently that is dependent on patient’s needs, with meaningful follow-up and I commend the Government for making this necessary change.”

Referral pathways have also been broadened, with other medical practitioners now able to refer HMRs and RMMRs – not just general practitioners.

This will allow for specialists in aged or chronic care to refer a patient for medication review where a GP may not be available.

A/Prof Freeman said these changes, on the back of the Government’s announcement last Friday to allow medicine reviews via telehealth, will help deliver on the recommendations contained in the interim report into the Royal Commission into Safety and Quality in Aged Care.

“These services are very important for patients at risk of medicine-related harm, and important for the pharmacists and pharmacies whose livelihoods are supported by providing these essential medicine review services,” he said.

“I am proud that or skilled profession will be able to continue its vital role in supporting medicine safety through these medicine review programs.”

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  1. Karalyn Huxhagen

    Chris -firstly thank you for the extended amount of very hard work to gain these new initiatives and expansion of the services. I noted in another press release yesterday that the ‘other practitioners’ who can now refer for a HMR and RMMR cannot claim a MBS item number for this referal process.Is this true?

  2. Karalyn Huxhagen

    I do have one concern with the new rules. It says for RMMRs that the ACF can use multiple providers to provide RMMR services. With the expansion of these services to telehealth conditions I am concerned that the facilities will be coerced by large corporate RMMR providers to change to their model of ‘distance’ RMMR esp with the facilities scrambling to meet the aged care standards agency guidelines for management of residents on psychotropic and related medication. There is a large fear that years of hard work is about to be lost as corporates find ways to provide these services from a distance.

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