October 27, 2015

Help us Widen Access to Pulmonary Rehabilitation Through Medicare

You will be aware of the significant benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation and ongoing exercise maintenance for those with COPD and other chronic lung diseases. That’s why Lung Foundation Australia has applied to the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) for pulmonary rehabilitation programs and follow-up pulmonary maintenance exercise (PME) programs to be subsidised on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

Currently there is no national funding mechanism for pulmonary rehabilitation in the community, despite evidence that it can be provided safely in a community setting with appropriately skilled physiotherapists and/or exercise physiologists.

Access to pulmonary rehabilitation is also limited. There are about 260 programs available throughout Australia to service a potential patient population of approximately 750,000.

We know that pulmonary rehabilitation:

  • Reduces breathlessness and other symptoms
  • Improves feelings of anxiety and depression
  • Improves quality of life
  • Keeps people out of hospital
  • Helps people live longer

You can support our efforts to make pulmonary rehabilitation available to all patients who could benefit by voicing your support from 12 October until 13 November.

Show your support by:

1) Complete the MSAC survey on the protocol. Both the draft protocol and the survey can be found at http://www.msac.gov.au/internet/msac/publishing.nsf/content/1405-public

2) Write an email or letter to the MSAC at hta@health.gov.au. Alternatively this letter can be sent to Lung Foundation Australia and we can collate and send to MSAC before the closing date. These email or letters can be from an individual, organisation or group.

3) Write a letter of support to your local MP. You can ask him/her to support pulmonary rehabilitation and access within the community.

We also encourage you to share this information with your colleagues as well as ask your patients to write to their local Member of Parliament (MP) for their support.

You and your patients can find more information on our website, phone our Information and Support Centre on freecall 1800 654 301 or email enquiries@lungfoundation.com.au.