Lung Foundation push for pulmonary rehab MBS item

Thursday, 15 Oct 2015

Patients with chronic lung disease will be referred by their GP to an eight-week course of pulmonary rehabilitation if a new proposal currently being considered by the Medicare Services Advisory Committee goes ahead.

Eligible patients will include those diagnosed with COPD, bronchiectasis, interstitial lung diseases, and lung cancer who are managed in the community and have had their pharmacotherapy optimised.

Patients with cystic fibrosis will not be included because of susceptibility to infection, and some patients with severe lung disease may also not be eligible, the document states.

Under the proposal pulmonary rehabilitation can be initiated at any stage of the disease, during periods of clinical stability or directly after an exacerbation as part of an integrated care model.

The intervention will be individualized to the unique needs of the patients and will take place in community settings in groups to address unmet demand.

According to the application made by Lung Foundation Australia only 5 to 10 percent of the estimated 820,000 Australians that have chronic lung disease have accessed pulmonary rehabilitation services.

The proposal states that patients will be eligible to undertake a PR program every two years, unless they are hospitalised for an acute exacerbation, or if a major deterioration in clinical condition occurs, in which case they would be eligible to redo the program.

The Protocol Advisory Sub-Committee (PASC), a standing sub-committee of MSAC, are requesting advice on: the likelihood that patients may require additional pulmonary rehabilitation within a two-year period; and what form the facility accreditation should take and what requirements should be included.

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