Submission

AMA submission to the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Reference Group Report

Indigenous health Medicine Chronic diseases Disease management Australia
Description

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) provided a brief submission to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Reference Group of the MBS Review Taskforce. The submission made recommendations in relation to MBS items for mental health, chronic disease management, substance misuse, and Aboriginal health checks.

It is well known that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience disproportionately higher rates of diabetes, cancer, kidney disease and obesity, and have rates of avoidable deaths and hospitalisations three times higher than other Australians. As the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Reference Group report shows, chronic diseases contribute to two-thirds of the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

Key recommendations:

  • The AMA supports the overall recommendations made by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Reference Group, particularly in relation to supporting patients to cover out-of pocket costs through bulk-billing incentives, disease prevention and increasing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.
  • Current data suggests that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ use of the MBS and Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme (PBS) are about one-half and one-third (respectively) of their needs-based requirements and is a significant factor in the three-fold excess of avoidable deaths and hospitalisations.
  • The AMA recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and health practitioners play an important role in providing high-quality healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly in rural and remote areas where there are often health workforce shortages.
  • While it is important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with chronic conditions and co-morbidities receive the care and treatment they need, it is also important that prevention activities exist to stop more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from developing chronic disease.
Publication Details
Publication Year:
2019