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Ophthalmologists lobby minister over MIGS access

21/02/2018By Matthew Woodley • Staff Journalist
The Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO) met with Federal Health Minister Mr Greg Hunt in Canberra on Monday to discuss future access to Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS).

Insight understands the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) review into MIGS, which has not yet been publicly released, approved of the creation of a proposed Medicare number for MIGS, but only when combined with cataract surgery.

Such a move would exclude many glaucoma patients from the sight saving procedure, which prompted ASO president Dr Peter Sumich, vice president Dr Ashish Agar and CEO Mr Kerry Gallagher to travel to Canberra to lobby the Federal Health Minister to expand the scope of access to MIGS as a standalone procedure.


"We emphasised that standalone glaucoma patients are often in greatest need of MIGS and are running out of options."
Dr Peter Sumich, ASO President

While Sumich would not elaborate on the finer details of the 45-minute meeting, he described it as “cordial” and said he was hopeful the Minister would ask MSAC to reconsider its decision.

“We emphasised that standalone glaucoma patients are often in greatest need of MIGS and are running out of options, and further described the complicated nature of Trabeculectomy compared to the insertion of a MIGS device,” Sumich said.

“The Minister was very receptive to this advice and said he was keen to ensure that glaucoma patients have equal access to MIGS. Our suggestion was that an interim item number be established for standalone MIGS at the old goniotomy schedule fee.”

Should MSAC reconvene to revisit the viability of standalone MIGS procedures, the ASO has asked RANZCO and ANZGS to provide scientific input to support the case.

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