MBS Review an opportunity for pharmacists in collaborative care

13 September, 2016

Expanding innovative models of evidence-based, interprofessional health care and better utilising the role of highly-trained pharmacists will improve patient outcomes and ease the burden on medical professionals, the peak organisation for pharmacists, the PSA said recently.

An interim report released by the Federal Government on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) highlighted a range of reforms and cost-saving measures, including the need to optimise high-value care and minimise low-value care.

PSA National President Joe Demarte said the MBS review – which PSA provided a submission to last year – is an important opportunity to improve outcomes for patients with chronic diseases by optimising the contribution of pharmacists in multidisciplinary care teams and primary health care settings.

"As the most accessible health professionals in Australia, pharmacists can play an active role in strengthening evidence-based health policy, services and payment systems, to deliver better health outcomes for consumers," Demarte said.

PSA recently called on the Government to ensure that pharmacists' skills were maximised and highlighted the integral role pharmacists can play in national healthcare reform.  These included:

  • Ensuring the Health Care Homes initiative is appropriately funded and based on best practice, evidence-based models of care which utilise pharmacists
  • Exploring interprofessional collaboration, particularly between General Practitioners and pharmacists, for Australians with chronic and complex conditions
  • Involving pharmacists in Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF) teams to reduce medication misadventure, medication error and resulting medication-related hospital admissions
  • Supporting culturally-responsive pharmacist care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve medication adherence and reduce chronic disease
  • Investing in preventive health programs delivered through the highly-accessible network of community pharmacies, including immunisation and smoking cessation services.

PSA has also urged the Government to commit to ensuring that Australian community pharmacies remain viable and accessible hubs of preventive and primary health care.

"All of these services are well within a pharmacist's current scope of practice," Demarte said.

"Optimising pharmacists' contribution in collaborative models of prevention and management of chronic disease has the value-adding capacity to significantly improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians."