After 40 plus years of us fellow ostomates receiving our monthly products the scheme is about to receive a huge overhaul. The Federal Health Department have placed the “Ordering and Distribution of Ostomy Supplies” up for tender which means to privatize this service. It is a huge shock for us, as an Association who takes pride in servicing our members needs at a small fee of a $20 administration plus the compulsory access fee $50 for pensioners and $60 for non-pensioners. We hate to think of the costs involved for us to receive our supplies when this service is privatized. The association has been run by ostomates for ostomates on a voluntary basis with several paid staff to do all the legal paperwork involved with being compliant with Medicare. We receive our products on the PBS and that won’t change but what will change is the cost of how we access this service.
We have not got a crystal ball and can’t predict what is going to happen so all I can say is “WATCH THIS SPACE”
What you as members can do, is to please place your orders correctly with all fields filled in on the order form, put the correct codes for the products you need, learn what your monthly product allowances are, place your orders weeks before you need them as last minute urgent orders will be a thing of the past. We need to get into the routine of learning to manage our supplies efficiently so when the changes, whatever they maybe, we will be able to cope.
Our older members will be affected the most if they don’t have access to the internet, a credit card or family support to help them place orders and help them cope.
Nursing homes will need to be extra vigilant when it comes to looking after an ostomate in their care. They are the most vulnerable when it comes to having a stoma, as they don’t have control of the ordering of their products in a limited timeframe.
We, as an association, don’t know what our role will be in the scheme of their plans for being able to look after our members and their needs. The association is owned by the members so we may become a Stoma Clinic and education center for new ostomates, careers or just support services.
There are approx. 49,000 people in Australia with a stoma and these changes are coming and we must be prepared. There is no time frame as yet for the roll out of the changes so that will give us time to prepare our members to start being responsible for their orders, their supplies and most of all to become tech savvy or enlist the help of tech savvy family members. The public library can also be helpful with supporting older members with sending orders by fax or email.
WE MUST PREPARE FOR THE WORST AND HOPE FOR THE BEST.
We, as an association will do our best to help the members with this transition into the new era of progress. We can only do so much to help, so you must be prepared to step up and be responsible for your own orders and supplies.
The Board, staff and volunteers would like to wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas 2020.