By Skye Cappuccio
Eye Care for All
Members have been lending their voice to support Optometry Australia’s Eye Care for All advocacy campaign, which calls for fairer Medicare rebates for patients. Members have been writing to their Federal MP and the Minister for Health, explaining the impact of the Medicare rebate reductions on their patients and practices and calling for fairer patient rebates.
To ensure this message is heard, we continue to encourage all members to contact their federal representative. Find out more about how you can help at www.optometry.org.au.
The State Divisions are also working with members in electorates with high proportions of social disadvantage, to arrange face-to-face meetings between a local optometrist and their Federal MP. Meetings are expected to begin this month.
We have launched a practice survey to gather evidence on how the reduced rebate is impacting practices and patients ‘on the ground’. It will support Optometry Australia’s advocacy to reinstate a fairer rebate for at least pensioners, concession card-holders, children and those in aged-care facilities. De-identified results will be an important element in our ongoing advocacy. Practice owners and managers are urged to spend 10-15 minutes participating.
Optometry Australia has supported Vision 2020 Australia in developing a proposed performance indicator for the new Primary Health Networks related to diabetic patients’ access to timely eye health assessments. Vision 2020 is lobbying for the incorporation of the indicator among the performance indicators for the new primary health organisations, as this would support a greater focus on improving timely and regular access to diabetic retinopathy assessment.
Optometry Australia’s National Board has endorsed a new Position Statement on equitable access to optometric care. The statement details the organisation’s position on actions necessary to maintain and strengthen access for disadvantaged and vulnerable patients, and underpins our Eye Care for All campaign. See optometry.org.au.
Optometry Australia is working with an optometrist researcher to identify opportunities to improve and strengthen relationships between private health insurers and optometrists. This work will consider current arrangements from the optometrists’, patients’ and insurers’ perspectives. Findings will inform further negotiation with health insurers.