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Tuesday / June 18.
HomeminewsStrengthening Medicare Initiatives Positive for Eye Health

Strengthening Medicare Initiatives Positive for Eye Health

Skye Cappuccio, CEO, Optometry Australia

Strengthening Medicare initiatives announced by Federal Minister for Health, Mark Butler ahead of the 9 May Federal Budget, have been welcomed by Optometry Australia.

Skye Cappuccio, Chief Executive Officer of Optometry Australia said the initiatives “have the potential to enable optometrists to practise to their fullest scope and to enable the broader rollout of collaborative care models, including in regional and rural areas”.

The Association also applauded a National Scope of Practice Review, which will assess barriers and incentives for all health professionals to work to their full scope of practice.

With our ageing population and the increased incidence of chronic eye health conditions, it is vital that optometrists are able to practise at their fullest scope and are remunerated accordingly

“The National Scope of Practice Review needs to consider an enhanced role for optometrists in the management of patients with glaucoma and cataract as well as the treatment of age-related macular degeneration and macular oedema, working with ophthalmologists in team-based care environments.

“With our ageing population and the increased incidence of chronic eye health conditions, it is vital that optometrists are able to practise at their fullest scope and are remunerated accordingly.”

Scaling Collaborative Care

Optometry Australia also welcomed the Minister’s announcement that the Commonwealth will strengthen the role of Primary Health Networks (PHNs) in commissioning allied health and nursing services to improve access to affordable multidisciplinary health care teams, beginning in 2023-24.

“In communities around Australia, innovative optometrists have been demonstrating that they can enhance patient access to more affordable eye care, working collaboratively with ophthalmologists, general practitioners and other health professionals,” Ms Cappuccio said.

“The challenge is to scale these successful collaborative care projects and integrate them into the broader health system in ways that make best use of the highly skilled optometrist workforce.

“Later this month, Optometry Australia is bringing together leading collaborative care optometrists to share their experiences, learn from each other, and provide insights into how their models can be rolled out more broadly across the health system.

“This Working Together for Better Eye Care Symposium is very timely and aligns well with Minister Butler’s greater focus on multidisciplinary care teams that increase patient access to care in the community, improve the management of chronic conditions and reduce avoidable hospitalisations.”

“As the peak body for optometrists, Optometry Australia will continue to advocate strongly for an enhanced role for our profession as a vital part of the health care system,” Ms Cappuccio concluded.