Recent Interim MBS Listing Raises MIGS Funding Concern
Sydney, 10 May, 2017 - The Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, has listed the interim Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) item number 42705, allowing minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) devices to continue to be used at the time of cataract surgery, at least until the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) review is completed.
Whilst Glaucoma Australia congratulates the minister, this news also confirms there is no funding for stand-alone MIGS devices to be inserted in patients not requiring a cataract procedure at the same time. Those patients now have no realistic choice to undertake a MIGS procedure.
The unintended consequences for those patients are:
As a result, very many people with glaucoma, who were previously eligible under the MBS listing in place prior to 1 May 2017, are now excluded from this potentially sight saving surgery.
The interim item commenced from 1 May 2017 and will ‘sunset’ on 31 December 2017. This is a long time to wait to know if a new, more permanent item may be available for MIGS insertion with or without cataract surgery.
Glaucoma is a group of progressive eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and typically occurs due to high pressure inside the eye (high intraocular pressure (IOP))1. Because a healthy optic nerve is essential to the transmission of information from the eye to the brain2, glaucoma can result in a gradual, irreversible loss of vision, and eventually blindness, if left untreated3. The exact cause of glaucoma is unknown.
There are two main types of glaucoma: primary, or open-angle glaucoma, and acute, or angle closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma accounts for nearly 90 percent of all cases4 of glaucoma and is often asymptomatic, so symptoms often remain undetected until an advanced stage5. It occurs when drainage from the anterior chamber of the eye occurs too slowly, causing IOP to increase4. Angle-closure glaucoma, on the other hand, is less common, but can cause a sudden buildup of pressure in the eye6, requiring immediate medical attention. Signs and symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma may include headaches, eye pain, nausea and blurred vision2.
Issued by Glaucoma Australia Inc. For further information please contact Geoff Pollard on +61 02 9906 6640 or email@example.com
About Glaucoma Australia
Glaucoma Australia is the peak glaucoma awareness/education/support association in Australia. It is a registered, national, not-for-profit organisation whose Mission is: To eliminate glaucoma blindness.
1. American Optometric Association. Glaucoma. http://www.aoa.org/Glaucoma.xml
2. Glaucoma Australia. What is Glaucoma? http://www.glaucoma.org.au/what.htm (Accessed 18 Jan, 2017)
3. National Eye Institute. Facts About Glaucoma, Glaucoma Symptoms. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts.asp#a (Accessed 18 Jan, 2017)
4. Glaucoma Research Foundation. Types of Glaucoma. http://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/types-of-glaucoma.php
5. Glaucoma Research Foundation, Symptoms of Open-angle Glaucoma, http://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/symptoms-of-primary-open-angleglaucoma.php (Accessed 18 Jan, 2017)
6. Glaucoma Research Foundation. Types of Glaucoma, http://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/types-of-glaucoma.php (Accessed 18 Jan, 2017)