After hearing the strong arguments presented by the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) the Department of Health has clarified its position on the use of limited registration physiotherapists working under ACFI* items 12.4 a and 12.4 b in the aged care sector.
The Department of Health released advice this afternoon as follows:
"The department has considered the concerns of peak sector and allied health representatives regarding its recently published information about allied health professionals with ‘limited’ registration and pain management services under ACFI 12.4a and 12.4b. In summary, allied health professionals with ‘limited’ registration will be eligible to provide pain management services under ACFI 12.4a and 12.4b provided that they are:
• operating within their scope of practice
• being supervised according to the terms of their registration."
After being blindsided by the initial communication from the Department, which advised that limited registration physiotherapists were not eligible to deliver pain management treatments - despite doing so without safety or quality concerns raised by APHPRA or their employers - the APA swung into action to call for immediate review and proper consultation.
The decision had the potential to cause severe service gaps for many physio employers, especially in rural and remote regions of Australia where attraction and retention of qualified staff in the aged care sector is already difficult.
After a joint teleconference with the Department and other aged care sector organisations this week the new FAQs were released. We will continue to see reassurance from the Department to consult on all aspects of funding to avoid further uncertainties such as this.
The revised Department FAQs can be viewed here.
* Aged Care Funding Instrument
For further information, please contact:
Tel: 03 9092 0810