Outcomes from reviews of the MBS and Private Health Insurance will set the direction for conversations to come.
We are now almost three months on from the federal election. The election outcome was closer than expected with a major focus on Medicare. The ALP, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) supported greater Medicare rebates for patients during the election campaign and additional funding towards ‘affordable’ private health insurance. The Coalition stood firm on reduced patient rebates in the form of the freeze on indexation, pending the outcome of the MBS review and a multi-faceted review into Private Health Insurance.
The overwhelming support from the three opposition parties and a growing number of independents is an important foundation as Optometry Australia reopens discussions with the government about the support it provides optometry patients during these two reviews.
It is our challenge to continue to raise awareness in Canberra about the need for early intervention for eye health care
While the focus on Medicare funding during the recent federal election was welcomed, what wasn’t discussed in detail was the cost shifting from government to patients, nor what the Australian community sees as a sustainable investment in public health care. If asked, most patients and commentators would shy away from healthcare being ‘inaccessible’ or ‘expensive’, however perhaps cannot put a figure on what is ‘fair’ investment. The work Optometry Australia has undertaken with respect to recommended fee setting has, and we look forward to sharing this in detail with the Government as part of the MBS review.
Prior to the election there was a perception in Canberra that a practitioner could make the decision about which patients should be bulk billed and which could afford to pay what the media calls a patient co-payment; or if bulk billing, shift growing clinical costs elsewhere in their business.
This discussion forgets to ask how many patients decide not to seek the care they require because they don’t know what the government expects them to pay. For a profession strongly founded on the principle of preventing avoidable vision loss, this position is unique.
It is our challenge to continue to raise awareness in Canberra about the need for early intervention for eye health care; and the need for an increased and realistic investment in optometry patient rebates. As a profession we also need to raise awareness in the community for the need for regular eye health examinations.
This month we will launch the first aspect of our health promotion campaign to do just that – under the banner Good Vision for Life. We welcome both optometry and eye health sector involvement in this campaign and look forward to sharing the campaign microsite and concepts for promoting important role of optometry care.
Wow September already – where has the year gone!
What a busy and exciting year 2016 has been for Optometry Queensland/ Northern Territory.
We launched the new look AVC at a fantastic new venue, changed up the date for NQV, and introduced several new initiatives for our region such as the i-Partner mentoring program and the Smart Eye Start program. Our OQNT Young Optoms group has flourished with a full calendar of events. And OQNT has expanded even further, connecting face to face at our member hubs across our vast region.
As I reflect on all of this great activity, it is fitting that we are currently gearing up for our annual VISIONaries awards evening in early November. This event is our opportunity to formally recognise and thank those who inspire us, both professionally and personally. We are also privileged to celebrate with the QUT final year students as they embark on their next steps.
If you know of an inspiring member among us or would like to share your achievements with us, please let us know.
On the note of inspiring, AVC 2017 is set to be the best yet with another fantastic clinical program on offer.
Building on the overwhelming success of this year’s new format, Australian Vision Convention 2017 will once again encourage delegates to design their own program. With a mix of workshops or presentations in the main lecture hall there is something for everyone. It’s your choice!
The entire two day program will deliver over 40 CPD points from high calibre presenters within session themes such as children’s vision, contact lenses, technology, therapeutics and more.
Australian Vision Conference will be held at the Gold Coast’s Marriott Resort and Spa from 22 –23 April 2017. Within this fantastic venue, Optometry Queensland / Northern Territory promises all the AVC favourites, with an extensive array of exhibitors, daily breakfast sessions, the conference dinner on the Saturday night, optional online assessment and complimentary child minding.
Want to hear more about AVC? Register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org