Sheila King of Australia For All – the National One Stop Shop for accessible tourism in Australia and overseas – is concerned about the discrepancy in charges for continence hygiene aids which adversely affects the budgets of people with disabilities.
PWF is pleased to help communicate this information.
Sheila wrote to the Minister for Health and Ageing about the high costs involved in purchasing continence hygiene aids from ‘Intouch’ – the commercial arm of Spinal Injuries QLD. Her research shows a tremendous difference in the price of continence hygiene aids. In Queensland a packet of Large TENA Pants containing 14 aids costs:
The Minister replied that Intouch had the administrative costs of running a call centre which had over 45,000 clients.
Sheila suggested if these were part of the PBS scheme then all the administrative costs relating to continence aids would not necessitate Intouch having such an expensive call centre to run. She understands the contract from the Government to Intouch for administering the continence aids is around $3m pa… a considerable saving to the Government!
1. Why should an organisation of people with disabilities charge twice as much for Continence Hygiene Aids as does any other organisation?
2. One of Sheila’s Australia For All members advises that his wife uses one packet of 14 continence aids a week and therefore the Government allowance of $480.00 pa (which goes to Intouch) is only enough for him to order these pads for 16 weeks out of the 52 weeks in a year. For the remaining weeks he has to pay Intouch for these out of their combined pensions. Blue Care will only sell them on at the lower price in emergency situations.
It should be recognised that nearly 100% of people requiring these continence hygiene aids are either pensioners or people with severe disabilities who find it very difficult to pay $32.95 themselves, for the weeks not covered by the Government annul subsidy of approximately $480.00.
1. Make them available on prescription (with five repeats at a time) via the PBS – at the same $5.00 charged for many PBS medications.
2. Add the cost of two packets of 14 aids (l per week) onto the person’s Centrelink fortnightly payment.
She would prefer the first alternative because this allows a person to go to the doctor to obtain a further prescription should there be a cause to use more than 1 or 2 packets per week. The Centrelink payment would not allow for this which might be a problem in some cases.
It appears the Government has taken up Sheila’s suggestions and changed the system. She would like all those using these aids to be advised of the changes:
This scheme is an Australian Government payment scheme that will assist eligible people who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the costs of their incontinence products. It will be a direct payment to clients that will increase their flexibility and choice about where and when they purchase their continence products.
The new streamlined payment system will replace the current Continence Aids Assistance Scheme (CAAS) which is delivered through a Government agreement with a sole supplier.
July 1, 2010
CAPS will be delivered by Medicare Australia fro 1 July 2010 and will be paid directly into a client’s nominated bank account.
The current CAAS program is administered by a sole provider. The changes will allow clients to access the continence suppliers of their choice, including local pharmacy or retail outlets, using their payment.
There will be a transition from the existing scheme to the new system in 2009-2010 to make sure current clients are not disadvantaged.
Current CAAS clients do not need to do anything at this point. Further info will be made available during the coming months.
CAAS will continue to be administered in the same way for a further 12 months (1 July 2009 – 30 June 2010). During this time current clients will continue to access their subsidy for continence products ordered through the current supplier, Intouch.
During the next 12 months new clients will be supported through the existing Intouch arrangements. This means new clients in 2009-10 will complete a CAPS application form and health report which Intouch will then process.
Current eligible CASS clients and future clients will be transferred to the new CAPS from 1 July 2010.
It will be in line with the current value available under CAAS (up to $479.40 in 2008-09). It will continue to be indexed annually.
The will remain the same as it is now. People who are aged 5 or older and have permanent and severe incontinence due to an ineligible neurological conditionor have permanent and severe incontinence due to another condition (provided they have a Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card) will continue to be eligible.
Thank you for your continuing effort Sheila