In Practice: AIR updates ahead of flu season

Morgan Liotta

23/05/2024 2:59:06 PM

The Australian Immunisation Register has made enhancements to COVID-19 and influenza vaccine information in preparation for the 2024 winter season.

Doctor giving patient a vaccine.
The Australian Immunisation Register has streamlined its processes for influenza and COVID-19 vaccines.

This week’s In Practice also includes details on Medicare and workers’ compensation, and an upcoming webinar on practice-wide approaches to opioid management.
Updates to the Australian Immunisation Register
In preparation for the 2024 influenza season, the following enhancements to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) have been implemented.
Expansion of the COVID-19 Vaccination Report (AIR042A)
The AIR042A report, now known as the ‘COVID-19 and Influenza Vaccination Report’, has been updated to include influenza vaccine information in addition to COVID-19. This enables vaccination providers to identify and follow up individuals who may be eligible for free influenza and/or COVID-19 vaccines.
These updates allow providers to choose the:

  • antigen (COVID-19 and/or influenza)
  • vaccine brand
  • total number of doses an individual has received
  • number of doses received in a specified timeframe, for example, an individual has received ‘0’ doses in the last ‘6’ months
  • age or date of birth range.
Services Australia will publish an updated eLearning module for the AIR042A report in the coming weeks, which will include more information on how to use the AIR042A report.
Influenza medical contraindications
Eligible vaccination providers can now report a medical contraindication for ‘influenza vaccines’ to the AIR. This enhancement simplifies the reporting of medical contraindications for influenza vaccines and reduces the burden of having to report multiple vaccine brands to the AIR.
Vaccination providers should only report a medical contraindication to the AIR for ‘influenza vaccines’ if the individual is contraindicated to all influenza vaccine brands. Once the medical contraindication is recorded on the AIR, it will display on the individual’s AIR record, including their Immunisation History Statement. This enables individuals to generate accurate vaccination evidence to provide for school, employment, and travel purposes.
Further information on how to report a medical contraindication to the AIR is published on the Services Australia website.
Medicare and workers’ compensation
Many GPs may be confused about the intersect between Medicare and workers’ compensation. There is no restriction on claiming Medicare benefits for patients requiring services related to injuries associated with compensation cases. Benefits can be claimed, and will be processed, as and when required – before, during, and after the compensation period.
Only benefits related to services rendered during the defined compensation period will be recovered by Medicare as part of the compensation process. Payments from redress schemes, criminal injury compensation and victims’ compensation claims are not recovered.
Successful claimants will not be required to repay more than the total value of the compensation payment, and are not required to pay back any Commonwealth benefits if the compensation payment is less than $5000. If a patient’s compensation claim is not successful, Medicare will not recover any Medicare benefits for that patient.
More information about the Medicare Compensation Recovery process is available on the Services Australia website.
Implementing a practice-wide approach to opioid management
Webinar: Thursday 30 May, 7.00 – 8.00 pm (AEST)
Presented by Margaret Jordan, a general practice pharmacist, and GP Dr Adele Stewart, this webinar will step through a case study to explore how a general practice-wide approach can assist in the review of patients prescribed opioids.
They will share their experience of the development and importance of a practice-wide policy, the development and provision of personalised patient resources, how to engage patients in shared decision-making, and more.
Register online.
Nominations for RACGP Censor-in-Chief closing 3 June
The Censor-in-Chief (CiC) provides academic leadership, strategic and policy advice, and guidance on educational matters across the RACGP.
The role ensures the RACGP adopts an equitable, nationally consistent, and coordinated approach to establishing and maintaining standards relating to education, training and assessment, certification and recertification, admission issues, and the recognition of qualifications and general practice experience.  
As an elected member role, the CiC is also an ex officio member of the RACGP Board, who is bound by Board member obligations as set in the Constitution and has legal and common law responsibilities and duties as required under the Corporations Act and Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Governance Standards.  
Visit the elections page to read through a detailed CiC position description and for further information on the nomination process.
Nominations close Monday 3 June at 4.00 pm (AEST). 
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Australian Immunisation Register COVID-19 vaccine In Practice influenza vaccine Medicare opioid management workers’ compensation

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