1. New national Quality Use of Medicines Program – Indigenous Health Services Pharmacy Support (IHSPS) Program
From 1 July 2021, the QUMAX and s100 Pharmacy Support Allowance programs have been replaced by a single Indigenous Health Services Pharmacy Support (IHSPS) Program, to operate across all geographical areas of Australia, for both ACCHOs and state-territory run Indigenous Health Services (IHSs).
- The aim of the IHSPS Program is to improve Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by providing funding directly to ACCHOs and IHSs for the purchase of a range of QUM Support activities.
- The four broad QUM Support Categories include:
- Pharmacist Support
- QUM devices
- QUM education
- Patient Transport
To be eligible to participate in the new program, a health service must:
- Be funded by the Department’s Indigenous Health Division for the provision of primary healthcare services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; OR
- Be an IHS approved to participate in the Remote Area Aboriginal Health Service (RAAHS) Program.
If you have any questions about the program, please contact the NACCHO Medicines Team at email@example.com.
More information regarding the new IHSPS Program can be found here.
3. CTG scripts – new Closing The Gap PBS script measure reforms
As of 1 July 2021, the Closing the Gap (CTG) Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Co-payment program has expanded and operates under a new national system.
The system for client CTG registration is run by Services Australia and operates online through HPOS (Health Professional Online Services) portal. CTG registration is virtually real-time and no longer occurs through PIP-IHI forms.
The key changes include:
- One off registration; previously required annual registration.
- Any PBS prescriber (such as doctors, dentists, optometrists, midwives, nurse practitioners) or AHPRA registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner registered with Medicare as a provider can register eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- People can be registered for the program no matter where they live, and regardless of their chronic disease status.
- Registration can only occur through HPOS.
- The Department of Health have stated that all clients who were identified as being registered as eligible for CTG have been migrated to the new system.
- Prescriptions no longer need to be annotated with ‘CTG’.
January 2022 Update: Grace period extended to 30 June 2022
The CTG grace period was scheduled to cease on 31 January 2022. However, the Government has now extended the registration period until 30th June 2022, to relieve pressure on ACCHOs and prescribers stretched due to the pandemic. We urge everyone to check if patients are correctly registered through Services Australia Health Professionals Online Services (HPOS) portal. This may also include working with your local community pharmacy/s to see who has received a CTG warning code.
July 2021 Update: A short-term CTG grace period
NACCHO had received reports from ACCHOs that some clients who had previously received CTG scripts were unable to receive scripts at a CTG rate when presented to a pharmacy, because the new system did not have the clients as registered for CTG. In response to this, as an interim and urgent solution, Services Australia updated the pharmacy claiming system so that the CTG code changed from a “Rejection” to a “Warning” message for those people who had a CTG script but were not registered on the new system. This meant the pharmacist could supply medicines to clients who appeared to be CTG-registered at the CTG rate until their registration in the new system occurred. The pharmacy was to contact the client’s health service as soon as possible, so that the registration could be reviewed and actioned as appropriate. The pharmacy system update started on Monday 12 July 2021 until 30 September 2021.
Please find below resources targeted at the following stakeholder groups:
- Fact Sheet 1 – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- Fact Sheet 2 – Community Pharmacies
- Fact Sheet 3 – Hospital Pharmacies
- Fact Sheet 4 – Prescribers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners and Peak Bodies
- Frequently Asked Questions for all stakeholder groups
NACCHO has developed a CTG information and FAQs document for ACCHOs to further address issues related to the new CTG reforms.
Click here to view.
Services Australia contact and resources
- For enquiries about the system and HPOS please phone 132 290 or visit Services Australia website here.
- Services Australia have Health Professional Education Resources here.
eLearning Modules for CTG scripts, include using PRODA and HPOS.
If you have any concerns or questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
2. The new Indigenous Dose Administration Aids (IDAA) Program
A new DAA program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people started 1 July 2021.
Some key features of the new IDAA Program are:
- Pharmacies manage program reporting and claim $11.60 directly from the Community Pharmacy Agreement funds for each DAA. The program’s funding is currently uncapped.
- Pharmacies cannot charge registered clients or their ACCHOs additional fees for the DAA.
- Any usual charges for script and over the counter medicines in DAAs will continue to apply.
- Patients receiving a DAA under this program are required to provide written or verbal consent. Pharmacists enrol patients in the program through the PPA portal. They must communicate with prescriber as part of the enrolment process
- The new program does not require DAA Agreements between pharmacies and ACCHOs, as per the QUMAX program, and patients may choose which pharmacy to use to get DAAs. However, the Program is consistent with ACCHOs and pharmacies having written DAA agreements if they want, which may align with more general pharmacy services agreements.
- The IDAA Program Rules require pharmacies to keep in contact with their local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander organisations to ensure culturally responsive, safe and effective DAA
- The Program applies to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people attending ACCHOs as well as those who use mainstream GPs and clinics, as long as they meet the Program Rules.
To download a NACCHO factsheet, please click here.
More information regarding the IDAA Program can be found here.