Optometry Australia has made a submission to the post-market review of PBS Authority Required listing, arguing that to support administrative efficiency and given their safe prescribing history, optometrists should be eligible for the streamlined Authority Required system, which was introduced in 2007 to minimise red tape for prescribers. In particular, we have recommended that the 16 items currently listed as Authority Required when prescribed by optometrists be amended to require authority under the streamlined process only.
We made a detailed written submission to the independent review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme being led by Kim Snowball, and shared our perspectives through a consultation forum.
We noted general support for the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, and highlighted concerns about co-regulation and the complications introduced for optometrists and patients by complaints and notifications systems that differ across jurisdictions.
We also stressed the need to retain profession-specific registration boards and accrediting bodies in response to suggestions that boards of smaller professions may be amalgamated.
In addition, we emphasised the need for greater clarity in relation to permissible advertising and a balanced approach to testimonials that does not place undue burden on the optometrist.
Optometry Australia has made a submission to the National Boards’ consultation regarding proposed guidelines relevant to blood-borne virus status and practitioners, supporting the idea of a guideline on this issue, which accords with established national guidelines on the topic.
World Sight Day
National World Sight Day activities provided an opportunity to engage and network with federal decision-makers. Chairman Andrew Harris, CEO Genevieve Quilty, policy manager Skye Cappuccio and member Giuliana Baggoley welcomed the opportunity to talk with numerous federal parliamentarians at a recent Parliamentary Friends Group for eye health and vision care dinner hosted by Vision 2020 Australia.
Victorian member Susan Kalff was honoured at the dinner as an ‘Eye Health Hero’ and spoke movingly of her work providing domiciliary eye care to socially isolated patients.
Optometry Australia also hosted senior bureaucrats, and colleagues in rural health and from the Pharmacy Guild, Pharmacy Society, and Consumers Health Forum at a World Sight Day lunch held at the National Press Club. An address from Amanda Vanstone stressed the importance of ensuring widespread and timely access to primary eye care.
In response to an evaluation report of its submission for a Medicare item to support corneal foreign body removal, Optometry Australia has made another submission. This is the final input to a lengthy process, before our submission is considered by the Medicare Services Advisory Committee in late November.
Optometry Australia has also begun working with the Lion’s Eye Institute to secure a Medicare item to support optometrists to work with patients accessing ophthalmology services via telemedicine. Initial discussions with the Department of Health have been encouraging.
We will also meet as a member of the Optometric Benefits Consultative Committee in mid-November and use the opportunity to raise again consideration of proposals submitted to more fairly remunerate domiciliary care and amend item 10905 to also enable referral from medical doctors.
Optometry Australia continues to seek regular updates regarding the implementation of measures announced through the Federal Budget in May 2014 impacting optometry services under Medicare. For the latest update visit www.optometry.org.au.