Home Medicines Reviews to continue

Consumers Health Forum welcomes Minister’s rejection of Pharmacy Guild call for moratorium

Home medicines reviews involve a pharmacist working with a consumer and their GP to fine tune the individual’s medicine plan.

Medicare describes the Home Medicines Review (HMR) under the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement as a way:

“to assist individuals living at home to maximise the benefits of their medicine regimen and prevent medication related problems. … .In cooperation with the individual’s general practitioner, the pharmacist visits the individual at home, reviews their medicine regimen, and provides the general practitioner with a report. The general practitioner and consumer then agree on a medicine management plan.”

In February 2013, there was a proposal from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to suspend the HMR. The Guild called for the moratorium due to a predicted overspend in the 2012-13 financial year. The CEO of the Consumers Health Forum (CHF) Carol Bennett however said that such a suspension would have been ridiculous.

The call for suspension was rejected by Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek.

This is good news for consumers’ health and will also take the pressure off stressed hospital beds and services by avoiding the need for consumers to be hospitalised by the improved patient services.

CHF welcomed the moves to strengthen the HMR program. However, CHF:

“has concerns about the new requirement that HMRs must be undertaken in the patient’s home, unless there is pre-approval for cultural or safety reasons. It is CHF’s view that there will be many other circumstances in which it will not be appropriate for the service to be delivered in the consumer’s home, and that the decision about the location of the service must be driven by the consumer, not the provider.”

CHF has written to the Minister:

“to express its concerns about the requirement, emphasising that some consumers who would benefit substantially from the HMR program might decline the opportunity to receive an HMR because of the requirement that it be undertaken in their home; and that the requirement for pre-approval through Medicare could cause delays that might discourage consumers from accessing the program.”

“CHF will continue to advocate for changes that ensure that consumers can benefit from taxpayer-funded pharmacy programs.”

The Consumer Health Forum wants to see strengthening and accountability for all programs under the newly negotiated (fifth) community pharmacy agreement.