The PSA has called for the Medical Benefits Scheme to be expanded to allow pharmacists to help improve consumer health outcomes and quality use of medicines.
In the PSA submission to the MBS Taskforce Review, the National President of the PSA, 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.”
PSA says it welcomes this 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 points to the Chronic Disease Management Service as an example of a service funded through the MBS which represents high value care for patients with chronic disease and complex care needs. However, this service 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,” says Demarte.
“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.
“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,” Demarte says.
Other changes proposed by PSA include:
- Establishing a Pharmacists in General Practice Incentive Payment, analogous to the Practice Nurse Incentive Payment. PSA recognises that the PNIP is funded outside of the MBS, however, in the event that a PGPIP is 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 health care providers, allow continuity of care and minimise hospitalisations.
- Extending the eligibility of MBS remunerated services for the provision of after-hours care to include pharmacists.
The full PSA submission is available at: https://www.psa.org.au/download/submissions/mbs-review-submission.pdf