Providers can engage pharmacists from July

Aged care homes can engage credentialled pharmacists to work onsite via community pharmacies or direct employment from July.

Aged care homes can engage credentialled pharmacists to work onsite via community pharmacies or direct employment from next month, according to new details from the Department of Health and Aged Care.

Funding for the much-anticipated program to embed pharmacists in aged care homes commences on 1 July 2024 with a couple of options available to providers – more than two years after it was first announced, 18 months after its original start sate and following several revisions.

Under the program, aged care homes can engage a pharmacist via their community pharmacy, which employs a credentialled pharmacist to work onsite in a clinical role.

If that option is unavailable or doesn’t suit, a home can directly employ a credentialled pharmacist.

It will be a few months until the claiming system is set up for the latter, but the option is available from July, a spokesperson for the department told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“From 1 July 2024 community pharmacies will be able to employ and place credentialled pharmacists in residential aged care homes. From 1 July 2024 [homes] will also be able to engage aged care onsite pharmacists directly where a community pharmacy is unable or has chosen not to participate, or if the [home] is unable to come to a suitable agreement with the community pharmacy.”

Aged care homes will be able to make a claim for the pharmacist’s salary from 1 October 2024 when the payment administration system is established, the spokesperson said.

A third option involving Primary Health Networks assisting aged care homes to obtain a pharmacist is currently being developed, the spokesperson said. “It is planned for Primary Health Networks to assist residential aged care homes to engage aged care onsite pharmacists, where required by the [aged care home].”

The onsite pharmacist program is available to:

  • aged care homes that receive a Commonwealth subsidy
  • Australian-government funded transition care facilities
  • multi-purpose services
  • facilities receiving funding under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care program.

Respite-only homes are not eligible to participate.

While it is not compulsory to join the program, aged care homes that want to participate must have implemented or be implementing electronic National Residential Medication Charts.

“Residential aged care homes will be required to have an electronic National Residential Medication Charts implemented or commit to the uptake of an eNRMC within the next 12 months to access an Aged Care Onsite Pharmacist under the measure,” the spokesperson told AAA.

See the June edition of Australian Ageing Agenda magazine – which will be out later this month – for more details on the new program.

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Tags: aged care onsite pharmacist, community pharmacies, department of helath and aged care, medication management,

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