MedChecks should be uncapped in the 6CPA and permitted outside pharmacies, says Hannah Mann, co-owner of the 2015 PSA Pharmacy of the Year, as they are difficult for some customers to access under the current rules.
“The letter of intent which we all received is a good thing and it shows good timing ahead of the 1 July deadline,” says Mann, co-owner of Kimberley Pharmacy Services, Broome, WA.
“My wish list is for my clients and it starts with the capping of the MedChecks and the requirement that they need to be done in a pharmacy.
“My clients are 2,000 km away and have never come into my pharmacy. Then when you look at the capping I can do more than 10 patients a day but if I do more than that I won’t get paid.
“I think MedChecks is a great program and my clients who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders would so benefit from them, but the business rules around this program are so unfair about being in a pharmacy and being capped.
“It’s really disappointing for me and I hope this gets looked at even if it’s a modified version of it,” she says.
Mann says she would also like the Section 100 handling fee re-examined, as she says it limits what she can do for her clients.
“Currently we don’t get a dispense fee but a handling fee,” she told the AJP. “When it is a bulk supply of medicines to a remote clinic it’s alright as we are not dispensing to an individual. Section 100 is a great program as at least the medicines are getting to my clients for free.
“But if you want to have an impact on a patient’s health you need to do more than that, and pharmacy needs to take control of dispensing in these situations.
“Under the Section 100 handling fee, which is just $2.88, we dispense and label a lot of medication for individual clients.
“We get the medication charts and do dispensing, clinical reviews, provide written education material, and counselling for aboriginal health workers and nursing staff. We don’t get paid for any of this and do it at our own cost.
“The frustrating thing is as my client is Aboriginal and living in a remote community their script is worthless as they are never going to come into my pharmacy.
“They deserve the service as much as anybody else and its unfair we don’t get paid a dispense fee.
“It’s not fair we are burdened with this. Currently we don’t have the opportunity to expand the services that we offer as at the moment we are stretched so thin. It should be an expense covered under the PBS.”
Mann’s other concern is that fees for dose administration aids are not covered and have to come out of the budget of the clinic her pharmacy works with.
“It shouldn’t be that clinics have to cover the cost of Webster packs especially when they have a huge volume of packs to do. They do it as they are investing in the health of their clients but should it be the clinic that has to pay for that?
“After all veterans are covered and they are a finite group of people, whereas Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are just getting sicker.
“In my mind how would the Federal Government allocate funds to what is an ever growing collection of people who need these services?” Mann says.
She says she is relieved, however, that the CSO has been retained as she said it’s vital for them in remote and rural places.
by Jayamala Gupte