MOST RECENT

April 2021

 

MBS Review – Updates to items

The following changes were introduced to the MBS on March 1:
Anaesthesia item
Medical perfusion item 22060 (whole body perfusion – diverting the blood from the heart using a heart and lung machine) was amended to increase the schedule fee. The schedule fee increased by 50 percent (from $408 to $612).
Cardiac items
There were a number of cardiac services implemented 1 August 2020 and 15 September 2020. These items were moved permanently into the DIST and the GMST on 1 March 2021.  
Diagnostic Imaging Services Table (DIST)
As at 1 March 2021, 24 items (55126, 55127, 55128, 55129, 55132, 55133, 55134, 55137, 55141, 55143, 55145, 55146, 61321, 61324, 61325, 61329, 61345, 61349, 61357, 61394, 61398, 61406, 61410 and 61414) from the Health Insurance (Section 3C Diagnostic Imaging Services – Cardiac Services) Determination will be incorporated into the Diagnostic Imaging Services Table (DIST).
General Medical Services Table (GMST)
In addition, 11 items (11704, 11705, 11707, 11714, 11716, 11717, 11723, 11729, 11730, 11731 and 11735) from the Health Insurance (Section 3C General Medical Services – Cardiac Services) Determination 2020 will be incorporated into the General Medical Services Table (GMST).
There are minor changes to items 11704, 11707, 11714, 11716, 11717, 11723, 11729, 11730 and 11735 to include the restriction that the items are not associated with a service to which item 12203, 12204, 12205, 12207, 12208, 12210, 12213, 12215, 12217 or 12250 applies. In addition these items cannot be provided as part of an episode of hospital treatment or as part of hospital-substitute treatment where a benefit is paid from a private health insurer.
Sleep study items

12203, 12204, 12205, 12207 and 12208 have also been amended so that these services cannot be provided in association with cardiac items 11704, 11705, 11707, 11713, 11714, 11716, 11717, 11723 and 11735. This change will align these items with other sleep study and cardiac items.
Colonoscopy items
The descriptors for colonoscopy items 32223, 32224 and 32226 were amended to update clinical terminology and to clarify which items can be claimed by patients with a history of serrated polyps.
The following changes will commence on 1 July 2021:
Cardiac Surgical Services
As part of Budget 2020-21, the Government announced that the remaining recommendations from the Cardiac Services Clinical Committee of the MBS Review Taskforce will be implemented on 1 July 2021. These changes include a range of cardiac surgical services,

  • which will amend item descriptors to reflect current practice;
  • combine similar surgical procedures;
  • introduce items that represent a complete medical service;
  • incentivise advanced techniques;
  • remove procedures that no longer represent best practice; and
  • reduce low value invasive angiography and align coronary artery stenting with current best practice.

The 1 July 2021 changes to cardiac surgical services cover cardiothoracic surgery, interventional cardiology (angiography and stenting) and electrophysiology related procedures.
These changes build on the cardiac imaging service changes introduced on 1 August 2020, and the
15 September 2020 amendments, which introduced a new ambulatory electrocardiogram monitoring item and created five new Myocardial Perfusion Studies items to ensure timely access to cardiac services in rural and remote areas.
To assist the sector in preparing for the 1 July changes, the Department provided draft mapping documentation to peak bodies in December 2020 and is currently working closely with the AMA in order to update the AMA List of Medical Fees and Services.
General Surgery Services
As part of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook / Budget 2019-20, the Government announced from 1 July 2021 it will make changes to Medicare-funded general surgery services to support best practice treatment and improve patient outcomes. These changes follow the Government’s acceptance of the Taskforce’s recommendations informed by the General Surgery Clinical Committee.
The 1 July 2021 general surgery MBS item changes introductory webinar, item map, and factsheets are available on MBS online: http://www.mbsonline.gov.au/internet/mbsonline/publishing.nsf/Content/Factsheet-Current.
Any questions relating to implementation, or to the interpretation of the changes to general surgery MBS items can be sent to the policy team email: 1july2021MBSchanges.generalsurgery@health.gov.au. Questions regarding the proposed PHI classifications should be directed to PHI@health.gov.au.
Orthopaedic Services
As part of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook / Budget 2019-20, the Government announced from 1 July 2021 it will make changes to Medicare-funded orthopaedic surgery services to support best practice treatment and improve patient outcomes. These changes follow the Government’s acceptance of the Taskforce’s recommendations informed by the Orthopaedic Surgery Clinical Committee.
The 1 July 2021 orthopaedic surgery MBS item changes introductory webinar, item map, and factsheets are available on MBS online: www.mbsonline.gov.au/internet/mbsonline/publishing.nsf/Content/factsheet-ortho-july21

Any questions relating to implementation, or to the interpretation of the changes to orthopaedic MBS items can be sent to the policy team email:

1july2021MBSchanges.orthopaedics@health.gov.au. Questions regarding the proposed PHI classifications should be directed to PHI@health.gov.au.
Critical Dates for 1 July changes

  • Release of the MBS XML file is expected late May to early June 2021.
  • Items go live 1 July 2021.
  •  For more information on previous and upcoming MBS changes, visit MBS Online

MBS Review – Implementation Liaison Groups (ILGs)

Stakeholder consultation will continue to be an integral part of the MBS Review process. The Department is currently undertaking consultation around the development and implementation of changes resulting from recommendations that have been endorsed by the Taskforce. Generally, these consultations will include the establishment of Implementation Liaison Groups (ILGs).
Updates from current ILGs:

Gynaecology: The Gynaecology Clinical Committee considered 141 Items and made recommendations to change many of the Items. The Gynaecology Clinical Committee’s Final Report was presented at the August 2019 Taskforce before progressing to the Government. The Gynaecology ILG continues to provide valuable input and advice to support the implementation of recommended changes, including on the development of communication materials outlining the MBS changes for key stakeholders.

OHNC:

The Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery Implementation Liaison Group (OHNSILG) was formed in 2020 and met in November 2020. The OHNSILG continues to provide valuable input and advice to support the implementation of recommended changes, including on the development of communication materials outlining the MBS changes for key stakeholders. You can view the Final Report here.

If you have any questions about the work of the Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery Clinical Committee or the OHNSILG, please contact surgicalservices@health.gov.au

  • Pain Management: The Pain Management Clinical Committee’s (PMCC) Final Report was endorsed for Government consideration by the Taskforce in December 2019 and is being progressed for Government consideration. A pain management ILG was established and met for the first time in June 2020, with discussions ongoing. The ILG continues to provide valuable input and advice on the development of new and amended MBS items for pain management. If you have any questions about the PMCC final report or the ILG, please contact surgicalservices@health.gov.au.
  • Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery: The Taskforce-endorsed Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Clinical Committee Final Report is currently undergoing Government consideration. A Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery ILG was established, and met in March 2020. The ILG has provided valuable input and advice on the development of new and amended MBS Items for future implementation. If you have any questions about the work of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Clinical Committee or the ILG, please contact surgicalservices@health.gov.au.
  • Thoracic Surgery: The Thoracic Surgery Clinical Committee’s Final Report was endorsed by the Taskforce in December 2019 and was progressed to the Government for consideration. A Thoracic Surgery Implementation Liaison Group (TSILG) was formed in 2020 and met in November 2020. The TSILG continues to provide valuable input and advice to support the implementation of recommended changes, including on the development of communication materials outlining the MBS changes for key stakeholders.

If you have any questions about the work of the Thoracic Surgery Clinical Committee or the TSILG, please contact surgicalservices@health.gov.au.

Forthcoming ILGs:

  • Psychiatry: The Psychiatry Clinical Committee’s Final Report was published in December 2020. A Psychiatry Implementation Liaison Group is being formed, and will meet in 2021 to discuss the implementation of recommended changes to the Psychiatry MBS items. If you have any questions about the work of the Psychiatry Clinical Committee or the ILG, please contact surgicalservices@health.gov.au
  • Primary Care: A number of ILGs will be established in the coming months to support an integrated approach to the implementation of changes to MBS items resulting from the Taskforce’s report on Primary Care.

MBS Review – General Updates

ECG Review
As a result of feedback from the sector regarding the 1 August 2020 changes to electrocardiogram (ECG) services, the Minister has asked the Department to monitor the impact of the changes through a post implementation six month review. The review will consider and provide advice on the impact to patient access to ECG services and subsequent impact to patient health outcomes.
The review commenced in February 2021 with the appointment of committee chair, Prof Sally McCarthy (MBBS, FACEM, MBA, FIFEM), and a public expression of interest invited nominations to participate. The public and other interested stakeholders were invited to provide submissions by 1 April 2021, for the committee’s consideration.

Primary Care

The Department acknowledges the ongoing interest that consumers and professionals have in relation to the Taskforce Report on Primary Care which was published on the Department of Health website on 14 December 2020.
The Primary Care Report was one of many reports provided to Government for consideration in 2020 and the Government is currently considering all reports and the significant number of recommendations contained within.
The Department appreciates the anticipation of the primary health care sector in implementing reform and MBS changes. This work is a high priority and consultation and stakeholder engagement has commenced. The information received from these processes will feed into the relevant Implementation Liaison Groups once established.
As detailed in the Report, not all of recommendations can be addressed through MBS changes and the current fee for service model may not be the most appropriate or fastest way to address changes. Consultation and ongoing discussions with stakeholders will also continue to progress these reform options. We welcome all questions and feedback in relation to the Taskforce recommendations via PrimaryhealthcareILG@Health.gov.au
MBS Review Taskforce Final Report to Government 
The MBS Review Taskforce Final Report ‘An MBS for the 21st century - Recommendations, Learnings and Ideas for the Future’ was released in December 2020.
This Final Report is the culmination of the Taskforce’s five-year review of the more than 5,700 items on the MBS. It offers 21 broader, long-term recommendations aimed at repositioning the MBS for the future. These recommendations centre on six main themes: an MBS that meets the needs of consumers, data and measurement, alternative funding models, GP stewardship, harnessing innovation and improving consistency in MBS surgical procedures.
The Final Report also recommends the establishment of a continuous review mechanism for the MBS, and the Government has taken action in this area by providing funding as part of the 2020-21 Budget to establish such a mechanism.
The Government will consider the Final Report recommendations, along with other recommendations made by the Taskforce. Some of the recommendations will require further investigation, development and discussion. A range of stakeholders have already discussed and shared their views on the Final Report recommendations and further feedback is welcome by emailing the Department of Health at MBSReviews@health.gov.au. The Final Report is available at the Department of Health website here.
 

Establishment of a Continuous Review Mechanism for the MBS
In October 2020 the Government announced its commitment to establish a continuous review function for the MBS. The Department is currently in the process of establishing this mechanism, including a Governance structure.  More information on this mechanism will be provided in future newsletters.

Copyright © 2020 Medical Benefits Division - Department of Health, All rights reserved. 
Our mailing address is:
Medical Benefits Division - Department of Health
Sirius Building
Furzer St
Woden Town Centre, Act 2606
Australia


UPDATES TO MEDICARE BILLING WEBSITE

I would like to advise that the Department of Health has updated its webpage, Medicare Billing in Public Hospitals.

The department has concerns around duplicate payments, where MBS payments are made for services already funded under the National Health Reform Agreement. Improving our online guidance material to strengthen provider education on appropriate Medicare billing in public hospitals is a key part of addressing these concerns.

We have considered the feedback of multiple peak bodies and clinicians to inform changes to the case studies on our webpage, which now clarify appropriate referrals following episodes of hospital care, and the hospital’s responsibility to undertake any testing required for public patients. The feedback has also informed a new set of Frequently Asked Questions, which provide additional clarity on key points raised in the case studies.

We would like to thank the peak bodies and clinicians involved in this revision process. Please contact the department at hospital.compliance@health.gov.au if you would like to provide

further comments or feedback. 


The Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board has tabled its latest report covering activity in the first 18 months of the state’s historic voluntary assisted dying law.

The report includes key statistics and details about who is accessing voluntary assisted dying – such as age, location and illness.

Download the report here.

Since the commencement of the Act:

581 people have been assessed for eligibility to access voluntary assisted dying

405 permits have been issued

224 people have died from taking the prescribed medications.

More than 450 medical practitioners have commenced or completed the training required to support voluntary assisted dying, and 210 are now registered in the portal. Thirty-six per cent are located in regional and rural Victoria.

If you have any questions or feedback, please email VADBoard@safercare.vic.gov.au.

Safer Care Victoria


March 2021

When the time comes

A new book about end of life experiences and conversattions, jointly written, collected and curated by a doctor and nurse working in end-of-life care by Magnolia Cardona (PhD) & Ebony Lewis (BN). Read more about the book t https://www.gleebooks.com.au/event/magnolia-cardona-phd-ebony-lewis-bn-when-the-time-comes/


Infectious syphilis

Notifications of infectious syphilis among women of reproductive age have substantially increased, particularly in major cities of Australia, posing an increased risk of congenital syphilis and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Specific actions for clinicians include:

  • Repeat testing in pregnant women at high risk of infection or reinfection
  • Consider infectious syphilis as a possibility when conducting sexually transmissible infection screening
  • Test for infectious syphilis in any sexually active young person where they, or their partner, reside in an area of high prevalence.

Read the letter from the Chief Medical Officer. 


Privacy Collection

Privacy Collection Notice for Health Practitioners v1.0


ATAGI 2021 Influenza Statement 

We are pleased to announce the ATAGI 2021 Influenza Statement on the administration of seasonal influenza vaccines is now available on our website via the following link:

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/atagi-advice-on-seasonal-influenza-vaccines-in-2021

Please do not hesitate to contact the ATAGI Secretariat on atagi.secretariat@health.gov.au if you have any questions.

ATAGI Secretariat Sara Kennedy

Assistant Director – Immunisation Policy Section, Population Health Division | Primary and Community Care Group, Immunisation and Communicable Diseases Branch


Update from Clinical Care Standards - AMS Indicators and CCS printed stock available 

Thank you for previously contacting the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care regarding the 2020 Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard. 

We can now advise that the indicators have been developed to support monitoring of the care recommended in the Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard. Clinicians and health service organisations can use the indicators to support local quality improvement activities.

Detailed specifications for the 2020 Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard are available on the Metadata Online Registry (METeOR) at https://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/736878. METeOR is an Australian web-based repository of nationally endorsed data and indicator definitions, hosted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Each indicator is described on our website and links to individual specifications are provided.

View the indicators here -

https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/our-work/clinical-care-standards/antimicrobial-stewardship-clinical-care-standard/indicators-antimicrobial-stewardship-clinical-care-standard

-------------------------------------------------

ACSQHC Clinical Care Standards has a limited number of free printed resources available to order. Order your Osteoarthritis of the Knee, Hip Fracture and Heavy Menstrual Bleeding resources here - 

https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/printed-resources

 

PAST UPDATES

Updates 2021

January 2021

COVID vaccines and Nurse Practitioners

ACNP have noted the lack of inclusion of nurse practitioners and nurses in relation to both the planning for the rollout of COVID vaccines, and also as part of the workforce for the rollout. We have raised this over the last few weeks repeatedly and expect to progress with some meetings next week. I have expressed my sincere disappointment yet again, and can only hope that the Minister for Health takes action by ensuring nursing is represented more widely and proportionately within government, on committees, working parties and panels.

We will provide an update ASAP


Are you ready for active ingredient prescribing from 1 February? 

From NPS MedicineWise 

As a valued member organisation of NPS MedicineWise we wanted to provide you with an update regarding changes to Active Ingredient Prescribing as well as resources that can be shared with your Australian College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP) networks.

As you may be aware, from Monday 1 February 2021 regulatory changes will come into effect bringing mandatory active ingredient listings on medicines for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (RPBS) prescriptions. There is a small number of exceptions, such as for vaccines, hand-written prescriptions and prescriptions with four or more active ingredients.  

Improving medicine knowledge

The prescribing changes will help support greater consistency in the way people see their medicines information and can lead to safer and more appropriate use of medicines. The changes will not affect clinical decision making or consumer choice, but will help consumers to understand more about the medicines they are taking. 

Support for pharmacies and consumers

To support pharmacies and ensure consumers have continued access to PBS and RPBS subsidised medicines during the transition, the Department has agreed to provide a six-month grace period for pharmacy, ceasing 31 July 2021.

Within this period, if a pharmacy receives a prescription that does not meet active ingredient prescribing requirements the pharmacist should contact the prescriber and request the prescription be re-issued. If the prescriber is unable to issue a compliant prescription for any reason, the pharmacy may supply and claim for the medicine as normal under the PBS or RPBS without penalty. From 1 August 2021, new prescriptions that do not meet active ingredient prescribing requirements cannot be dispensed as PBS prescriptions and will need to be reissued in alignment with active ingredient prescribing requirements, or dispensed as private prescriptions.  

NPS MedicineWise resources

The NPS MedicineWise active ingredient prescribing information hub contains a number of resources and useful links, including a fact sheet for prescribers outlining what you need to know and do to be ready for these changes, including ensuring your prescribing software is up to date ahead of 1 February. 

Provided below is an example of text that can be shared with your ACNP networks:

Are you ready for active ingredient prescribing from 1 February? 

From Monday 1 February 2021 regulatory changes will come into effect bringing mandatory active ingredient listings on medicines, with some exceptions. The NPS MedicineWise active ingredient prescribing information hub contains a number of resources and useful links, including a fact sheet for prescribers outlining what you need to know and do to be ready for these changes, including ensuring your prescribing software is up to date ahead of 1 February. 


Important Zostavax update

Please find below a letter from the Chief Medical Officer regarding administration of Zostavax, a live viral vaccine for prevention of shingles. 

Update to labelling and prescribing of antibiotics

Please find attached a letter from PSA National President A/Prof Chris Freeman about key messages for prescribers regarding the January 2021 change to antibiotic labelling by pharmacists.

NMBA - NP’s to be surveyed in relation to Immunisation

February 2021

Submit a nomination for the inaugural ICN NP/APNN Excellence Award

Advanced practice nursing is globally recognized. This year, the ICN AP/APN Network will recognize four advanced practice nurses (APNs) with the inaugural Excellence Awards. The award ceremony will take place virtually during the 11th ICN NP/APN Network Conference.
Do you know an APN who has made significant contributions to advanced practice nursing? Honor them by putting forward your nomination recognizing them for their excellent work and contributions in education, research, leadership or clinical practice. 
Recipients will receive:

- $500 CAD
- Awards plaque
- Certificate

Nomination Deadline
March 31, 2021 - 11:59 PM (Pacific) Submit a nomination
To learn more about the nomination criteria, please visit the website

 


The way that custom-made medical devices are regulated in Australia is changing.

From 25 February 2021, a new regulatory framework for personalised medical devices will commence in Australia.  The framework includes a new definition for custom-made medical devices, which are currently exempt from the requirement to be included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). 

The main impact of the new definition is that the majority of devices currently supplied under the exemption will need to be approved by the TGA and included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). Devices that meet the new definition of a custom-made medical device will continue to be exempt from inclusion in the ARTG, but will need to meet new regulatory requirements.

Comprehensive information about the new framework, including information about transition periods for eligible manufacturers and suppliers, is available on the TGA website.

The regulatory changes will impact anyone who currently manufactures, imports or supplies custom-made medical devices in Australia, including healthcare providers who do these activities as part of their work providing healthcare services to patients. Beginning next week, the TGA will conduct a mass email campaign to over 10,000 impacted stakeholders. As a result, you may receive questions from your members about the framework.

The TGA is writing to you to seek your interest in partnering with us to deliver key information about the new framework to the sector that you represent. If you believe your members will be impacted by these changes, we would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you to design a suite of communications tailored to the needs of your sector, including webinars where there is sufficient interest.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact our Personalised Medical Devices team at this address (PersonalisedDevices@health.gov.au).

Kind regards,

Rebecca Personalised Medical Devices Team  Devices Emerging Technology & Diagnostics Section  Medical Devices Surveillance Branch  herapeutic Goods Administration

Updates 2020

February 2020

Immunisation - Childhood Immunisation Education Campaign 2020.docx

Diabetes -  Changes to the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Initiative - 2020 CGM changes

March 2020

AIHW release: Coordination of health care: experiences of barriers to accessing health services among patients aged 45 and over

Changes to Antibiotic Listings on the PBS 

As indicated in the previous emails below, please be advised that changes to antibiotic listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will commence on 1 April 2020. The changes were recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in August 2019 to support best practice prescribing in Australia.  For more information on the changes to the PBS, please visitpbs.gov.au/info/news/2020/03/revised_pbs_listings_for_antibiotic_use_from_1_april_2020.  If you have any further questions on the changes, please contact the PBS Information Line on 1800 020 613 or via email atpbs@health.gov.au

May 2020

As most of you are aware, the PBS changes to prescription opioids come into effect on 1 June 2020. We acknowledge that there may be media interest (such as the article in the Sydney Morning Herald this week) and your members may have questions. We have attached links to the updated TGA’s prescription opioid web content, including the information for consumers and health professionals that you helped refine.


PRODA

Prescribers can now order their PBS prescription stationery through Health Professional Online Services (HPOS), which is available 24/7. To access HPOS, users will be required to create a PRODA account if they don’t already have one. The following steps to order stationery are outlined below:

  1. Log on to your PRODA account.
  2. Select go to service on the HPOS tile.
  3. Select My Programs.
  4. Select PBS stationery online ordering.

From here prescribers can:

  • place a stationery order
  • view order details
  • re-order a previous order

Ordering PBS stationery online will allow users to:

  • Order a range of products without completing multiple order forms
  • Track the progress and delivery of their order online
  • Submit the same order again to save time
  • Provide delegate access to others (e.g. practice managers) to place and manage orders on their behalf.

For more information on how to order through HPOS please visit us at our site here or read our recent news article at News for health professionals

June 2020

National Immunisation Program changes from 1 July 2020

From 1 July 2020, there are a number of changes to the National Immunisation Program coming into effect.

These changes are:

  • Introduction of meningococcal B vaccination and changes to meningococcal ACWY vaccination.
  • Hepatitis A vaccination schedule points for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in NT, Qld, SA and WA will change in consideration of the introduction of the meningococcal B vaccine.
  • Pneumococcal vaccination schedule will change to reflect the current best clinical evidence in preventing pneumococcal disease in adults and in people with conditions that increase their risk of disease.  

The changes are being implemented following recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and other clinical experts and are designed to improve protection against meningococcal and pneumococcal disease. 

To support awareness and implementation of the changes, the Australian Government has developed a suite of educational and promotional communication resources hosted via a news item on the Department of Health’s website.

The NIP clinical advice factsheets for providers, accompanied by correspondence from the Chief Medical Officer will be mailed to GPs and Aboriginal Medical Services Australia-wide. The information notes the availability of supporting consumer resources available to download or order through the Department of Health’s website.


Summary of Opioid Changes in effect from 1 June 2020 can be found on the Opioid Restriction Changes Guide.

July 2020

NDSS Enhancement Project - Inclusion of Practice Nurses as Certifiers of Relevant NDSS Forms

Influenza vaccine stats

 Geographical breakdown of influenza vaccines reported to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) as at COB 05 July 2020

 

Total

Age

Indigenous

Provider type

 

 

<5

5-64 years

65 years+

Yes

No

GP

Pharmacy

Other

AUS

8,701,352

674,087

5,234,521

2,792,744

284,699

8,416,653

6,894,392

896,907

910,053

 

Year

Number of vaccines

1 March 2018 - 05 July 2018

4,683,304

1 March 2019 - 05 July 2019

6,681,341

1 March 2020 - 05 July 2020

8,701,352

 

NPS MedicineWise: Medicinal cannabis information portal 

For prescribers – the portal includes important resources for prescribers including full evidence summaries with links to the TGA’s clinical guidance and a flowchart for prescribers that outlines the steps to accessing medicinal cannabis.

To find out more go to https://www.nps.org.au/medicinal-cannabis

Tax Time Helper

The ATO has prepared a range of resources to assist health professionals during this period of heightened stress. These resources have been provided specifically for healthcare workers to ensure they are aware of the deductions that they can claim for and make it easier to prepare and lodge their 2020 tax return.  To find out more go to the Australian Tax Office to down load the Health Workers Guide.

August 2020

Accessing AIR using PRODA

User guides detailing how to access AIR, the Australian Immunisation Register, using PODA, the Provider Digital Access System, are now available. 
Download the guide for organisations here.
Download the guide for individuals here.


New guide to examine clinical variation 

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) has today released a new guide to support health service organisations to review clinical variation. 

The User Guide for the Review of Clinical Variation in Health Care (the User Guide) explains how organisations can implement Action 1.28 of the Clinical Governance Standard in the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards.

Action 1.28 aims to ensure that health services work with their clinicians to regularly review data collected on clinical care processes and outcomes to identify unwarranted variation. Examining variation in clinical care is one way of identifying if people are being offered appropriate care. 

Health services can use available data to identify potentially unwarranted variation and improve the appropriateness of care, which has widespread benefits for patients, their carers and families. 

The User Guide describes six key steps for implementing Action 1.28, and provides resources to support health services and their clinicians in reviewing clinical variation. It also includes practical case studies, and clinical topics for potential investigation.

Download the User Guide and share it with your health service organisation, colleagues and other healthcare professionals.

More information

For more information, visit the Healthcare Variation page on the Commission's website or contact us at: atlas@safetyandquality.gov.au


Department of Health Indigenous Pharmacy Program Communique

Changes are coming. Please  note no changes until Mid 2021. 

Read the full 2020 Communique - IPP Reforms update.

2018 Submission - ACNP Response - Policy Options for Reforming the Indigenous Pharmacy Programs

September 2020

ESC Congress Digital Experience 2020 Conference ReviewTM

Access the PDF here - ESC Congress Digital Experience 2020 Conference ReviewTM


New NPS MedicineWise program - Dementia and changed behaviour: a person centred approach

Program overview

The program focuses on using a person-centred care approach when working with people experiencing changed behaviours in dementia and the limited role medicines play. The program will be delivered in both aged care and community care settings. We emphasise the importance of putting people with dementia and their carers at the centre of dementia care while also highlighting the importance of working collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team. 

The audiences of the program include GPs, pharmacists and nurses who manage older people with dementia, both in the community and residential aged care facilities. 

 

Key elements of the program:

If you would like more information or would like to get involved in the program, please visit the NPS MedicineWise website or contact Kara Joyce.

 


Recent updates to the AIR

Improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a national priority. The National Immunisation Program (NIP) for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people provides additional vaccines to help improve the health of Indigenous people, and close the gap between Indigenous and non- Indigenous people in health and life expectancy.

To identify Indigenous people who may require additional vaccines, vaccination providers can now record Indigenous status directly on the AIR and it will not be over-ridden by their status recorded by Medicare. AIR Indigenous status will not be recorded on any other government database and it does not need to be the same as Medicare.  Recording an Indigenous status on the AIR helps vaccination providers to identify and give the clinically correct vaccination schedule.  Vaccination providers should seek consent from the person at the time of a vaccination encounter before recording their Indigenous status on the AIR. There is no change to how a person’s Indigenous status is recorded on the AIR.  Up to date records help determine the impact of the National Immunisation Program (NIP) in preventing vaccine-preventable diseases. In turn, vaccination coverage figures and data available for research purposes become more comprehensive and reliable over time.

Catch-up schedule to display on immunisation history statement

Australian Government legislation requires children to meet immunisation requirements to be eligible for family payments (No Jab No Pay). To meet the immunisation requirements for family payments, one of the following must apply to a child:

  • be immunised according to the NIP childhood schedule

  • be on an approved catch-up vaccination schedule

  • have a valid exemption

Catch-up vaccination aims to protect people against disease as quickly as possible. It aims to help people get up to date with their vaccination schedule in the shortest, but most effective, time frame.  From February 2020, if a person is on an approved immunisation catch-up schedule registered on the AIR the:

  • catch-up schedule will display on the top of the immunisation history statement

  • date it expires will also show.

This helps give people a complete picture of their immunisation status. It gives parents and guardians evidence of a child’s vaccination status for childcare or school entry. It also lets other vaccination providers know how a person’s vaccination needs are being managed.

Amended pneumococcal rules and the introduction of reminder letters for older Australians

On 1 July 2020, the recommended age on the NIP for older Australians to receive the pneumococcal vaccine changed from 65 to 70 years. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pneumococcal is recommended from 50 years. Vaccination against shingles is still recommended for people from 70 years of age and can be administered at the same time as pneumococcal vaccine.

Note: Shingles (herpes zoster) vaccination is contraindicated in people with significant immunocompromise due to a primary or acquired medical condition, or medical treatment. Please assess your patients’ current circumstances and refer to the online Australian Immunisation Handbook for more information as to whether vaccination is appropriate.

In line with the 1 July 2020 schedule changes, Services Australia will send a reminder letter to people who are eligible for a pneumococcal and/or shingles vaccination.

Letters will be sent to:

  • people 70 years and 1 month of age who have not received pneumococcal and/or shingles vaccinations

  • people aged 50 years and 1 month displaying an Indigenous status in the AIR who have not received their pneumococcal vaccination.

These reminder letters will encourage people to contact their vaccination provider to:

  • discuss any NIP funded vaccination/s they may be eligible for

  • request the AIR be updated with any vaccines they have already received but have not been recorded on the AIR.


Update from Population Health Division | Primary and Community Care Group, Immunisation and Communicable Diseases Branch, Australian Government Department of Health

While we have seen a record number of influenza vaccines administered in 2020, there is still an opportunity to offer the vaccine to those who have not already been vaccinated this season.

It is never too late to vaccinate against influenza. Experts from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation recommend that vaccination should continue to be offered as long as influenza is still circulating and valid vaccines (prior to expiration date) are available. For those who have not yet received a 2020 influenza vaccine, getting vaccinated now is encouraged to provide protection during the remainder of the influenza season, the peak period of which is usually June to September in most parts of Australia.

To support awareness and continued uptake of influenza vaccination, the Department has developed the following communication resources:

We encourage you to share this advice with vaccination providers within your networks, to help ensure all people consider influenza vaccination for themselves and their families, particularly during this difficult year.

October 2020

NMBA New Appointment

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) has recently welcomed a new appointment of Chair, Adjunct Associate Professor Veronica Casey.

For more information please follow our link to our news publication: https://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/News/NMBA-farewells-long-serving-Chair-and-welcomes-new-appointment.aspx


A message from the Ombudsman and Commissioner

My office strives for fair and positive change in the regulation of registered health practitioners for the Australian community.  Following the momentous ten-year anniversary of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme this year, we decided to update our visual identity and our messaging to better share who we are and how we can help.   I’m excited to share my office’s new website and visual identity with you.

Our new website

Visit the new website at www.nhpo.gov.au.

Our new look and logo

Our new logo represents the different ways we champion fairness and strive for positive change in the National Scheme.

  • Complaints to the Ombudsman: The green in our logo symbolises the role of the Ombudsman and our assistance with complaints about how Ahpra and the National Boards handled a notification about a health practitioner or a registration matter
  • Complaints to the Commissioner: The navy represents the role of the Commissioner and our assistance with complaints about Ahpra and the National Boards in relation to privacy and the handling of personal information.
  • FOI review applications: The teal is linked to our role in conducting reviews of FOI decisions made by Ahpra.

As you can see, despite our shortened name, we continue to undertake the functions of both the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and the National Health Practitioner Privacy Commissioner.

How to contact us:

  • Name: National Health Practitioner Ombudsman (NHPO)
  • Website: www.nhpo.gov.au
  • Email: complaints@nhpo.gov.au
  • Telephone: 1300 795 265
  • Postal address: GPO Box 2630 Melbourne VIC 3001
  • Physical address: Level 1, 50 Lonsdale Street Melbourne VIC 3000

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy viewing our new website.

Kind regards, Richelle McCausland

National Health Practitioner Ombudsman, National Health Practitioner Privacy Commissioner


Improving adverse drug reporting

From: https://www.guild.org.au/_nocache?region=National

The Government’s deregulation agenda has been outlined by the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton.

In a speech to the Business Council of Australia, Mr Morton said while deregulation was important to the Government’s plan for recovery, it was not “about getting rid of all regulation. It’s about getting rid of unnecessary, disproportionate, and inefficiently implemented regulation”.

In relation to the pharmacy sector, Mr Morton foreshadowed reducing the administrative burden on Australian medicines and medical devices businesses.

This would be achieved by modernising business systems and combining services in the Therapeutic Goods Administration, saving medical businesses more than $2 million a year, and ensuring Australians had the quickest possible access to medicines and medical technologies.

"As an example, sponsors of prescription medicines submitting adverse drug reaction reports currently have to export data to a PDF and email it to the TGA,” Mr Morton said.

“The TGA, which receives 15,000 such reports per year, must then send an acknowledgement with a reference number to the sponsor that the sponsor must then record in their database.

“Sponsors will now be able to use an electronic database with automatic data transfer – saving them up to 15 minutes per report."

Contact: The Guild Phone: 13GUILD


A consensus statement - Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health COVID-19 Coalition
ACNP is fully supporting the following statement about Nurse and midwife-led provision of mifepristone and misoprostol for the purposes of early medical abortion.

Full Statement - Provision of Mifepristone and Misoprostol

Infographc - Provision of Mifepristone and Misoprostol (Poster)

November 2020

Media release - Modernisation of national digital health capabilities to drive innovation

13 November, 2020: Following on from the Request for Information (RFI) inviting stakeholders to contribute to a conversation about the future of the national infrastructure in 2019, the Australian Digital Health Agency (Agency) has commenced a program of work to undertake activities to modernise the national digital health infrastructure to better connect Australia’s healthcare system and deliver significant improvements in the quality and efficiency of healthcare. 

Read the full media release here  


New PhD Scholarships with Macquarie University

The Australian Institute of Health Innovation (AIHI), Macquarie University, is pleased to announce the release of five new domestic PhD scholarships, focusing on research into Covid-19 and health system crisis planning. 

With a track record of delivering internationally significant research, AIHI leads in understanding responses to the pandemic along with preparing for future health crises. The directors, Professors Jeffrey Braithwaite, Johanna Westbrook and Enrico Coiera, are seeking suitably qualified candidates with pioneering ideas for research in this field. 

Further information is provided at this link: 

https://www.mq.edu.au/research/phd-and-research-degrees/scholarships/scholarship-search/data/covid-19-and-future-crisis-preparedness-in-healthcare

If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Chrissy Clay | Research Outreach Coordinator

Australian Institute of Health Innovation

Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences

Macquarie University | NSW | 2109

chrissy.clay@mq.edu.au | w aihi.mq.edu.au  mq.edu.au


National Stigma Report Card

National mental health charity SANE Australia recently released the National Stigma Report Card, compiled from the findings of their Our Turn to Speak survey, the most comprehensive survey of its kind in Australia.


Australia’s National Nursing and Midwifery Digital Health Capability Framework was released by The Hon.Greg Hunt.MP. Minister for Health.  The Framework recognises the unique digital health capabilities of nurses and midwives now and into the future. It outlines the core skills, knowledge and behaviours required for professional practice across five domains.

Australia’s National Nursing and Midwifery Digital Health Capability Framework full document and relevant Media Release.


The National Digital Health Workforce and Education Roadmap (the roadmap) was released in September 2020 by the Australian Digital Health Agency. The roadmap outlines skills and capabilities required by the Australian health workforce to maximise the use of digital health.

Join national digital health leaders and your healthcare peers in a webinar that discusses the pathway to ensure our health workforce has the skills and confidence to deliver world class digital healthcare.

The panel includes:

  • Dr Louise Schaper, Australasian Institute of Digital Health
  • Associate Professor Clair Sullivan, University of Queensland
  • Professor Tim Shaw, University of Sydney and Digital Health CRC
  • Dr Kudzai Kanhutu, Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Ms Angela Ryan, Australian Digital Health Agency

Please feel free to join the session via the GoTo Webinar platform using the below details:

Please register here and you will be provided with a personal calendar invite including your link to join the session.

Webinar link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8836980971581160972

Q&A via Slido: https://app.sli.do/event/rz9flpu2     event code: 50692

Date and time: 11 November 2020 from 12:30 to 13:30


              

The Innovate with nbn grants program gives businesses across seven separate categories the opportunity to win a share of $95,000 in funding to support the development of their innovative, digitally led idea.  Categories are:

  • Health, 
  • Agriculture, 
  • Tourism, 
  • Arts, 
  • Education, 
  • Indigenous Business, and
  • Women in Regional Business.

We've partnered with the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) to bring this program to life, together we?re focused on unearthing and supporting businesses that are using the nbn network to develop products or solutions that improve productivity or social outcomes for regional and remote Australians.

The winner of each category will receive a $10 000 grant, with the overall Innovate with nbn? major grant of $25 000 to be awarded to the most outstanding application across all categories.   Applications are now being accepted until 30 November 2020. More information, including eligibility criteria and the application for is available at nbnco.com.au/innovatewithnbn  In coming weeks nbn will also be sharing information about this program via FacebookTwitter and Linkedin.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, don't hesitate to call.  

Jen Beer, Head of Segment - Health & Education, Regional & Remote
M +61 475 833 300| E jenniferbeer@nbnco.com.au
727 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000

 


NEW LOOK FOR DVA CARDS

DVA cards New

Ensuring all DVA clients are now using the new-look Veteran Cards avoids confusion between the old and new style of cards, and ensures they can be easily recognised by providers.

The Veteran Cards function the same way as the previous DVA health cards and cardholders’ health entitlements remain the same. Health providers can accept the Veteran Cards from DVA clients for their health treatments and services.

If a DVA client has not yet received a Veteran Card they can continue to use their existing DVA health card, which will remain valid until it is replaced. DVA clients can use MyService or contact DVA to arrange a replacement card.

Veteran Card holders may present digital versions of their plastic DVA White or Gold Cards to health providers, which clients can access through the online DVA portal MyService. Providers are able to check the digital card for health conditions covered by DVA for that client.

For further information

Visit DVA website: Veteran Card
Phone DVA: 1800 555 254
Access MyService

Calling for Remote Area Nurses to have their say in a research study about workforce safety

CRANAplus is delighted to be a part of the research team undertaking a review of remote workforce safety, conducted by the Centre for Rural and Remote Health.  We invite you to participate in this survey. The outcomes of this research will contribute to the assessment, advocacy and implementation of effective safety strategies for the remote area workforce into the future. 

All RANs who have worked in a very remote primary health clinic within Australia more recently than January 2019 are invited to participate.
The research title is The Remote Area Safety Project (RASP): A mixed methods study of health workforce safety policies and implementationBy completing the 16-20min survey you can opt to go in the draw to win a $50 grocery voucher (4 to be won). 

Survey link: https://jcuchs.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6AvuCBBXiVphhfD 

If unsure whether your workplace is in a very remote area (MM7), the Health Workforce Locator can be used to find out: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/health-workforce-locator/health-workforce-locator. To use it, select Modified Monash Model 2019 in the classification filter, then enter the town/community name into the address bar.

This study has been approved by the James Cook University Human Research Ethics Committee (Application ID: H8255).

If you have any questions about this study, please contact Laura Wright the lead researcher at laura.wright1@jcu.edu.au or (07) 4745 4517.

Regards 
Sue Crocker
Director, Education Services
CRANAplus