Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services Program (RAAHS)

Aboriginal Health Services (AHS) provide eligible Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines for free to patients in remote areas.

Under section 100 (s100) of the National Health Act 1953, patients of approved AHS can get eligible PBS medicines for free. Patients can still get PBS medicines by taking a prescription to an approved pharmacy under standard PBS arrangements.

The Department of Health and Aged Care is responsible for approving AHS participation in the s100 Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services Program. For more information on AHS participation and approval, contact Department of Health and Aged Care.

We provide approved AHS with a registration number following approval. The registration number must be used on all correspondence, including requests for pharmaceutical supplies.

Medicines not available under Aboriginal Health Service arrangements

All medicines contained in section 2 of the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits are available under these arrangements, except:

  • extemporaneously prepared items
  • highly specialised drugs
  • emergency drug (prescriber bag) supplies
  • repatriation PBS medicines
  • schedule 8 medicines as defined by the drugs and poisons legislation in the relevant state or territory.

You must prescribe schedule 8 or extemporaneously prepared medicine on an approved prescription form and dispense under standard PBS arrangements.

For a detailed listing of PBS medicines, go to the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

How to order and claim supplies of PBS medicines under RAAHS

The AHS chooses an approved supplier to bulk supply PBS medicines. Approved suppliers are community or hospital pharmacies authorised under section 90 or section 94 of the National Health Act 1953 to supply PBS medicines.

The AHS must submit their requests for eligible PBS medicines to the approved supplier on an Aboriginal Health Services (AHS) pharmaceutical supplies request and claim form. Approved suppliers need to then complete this form to confirm they’ve supplied the order and submit to us for payment.

The form must include a unique claim reference number that is alpha-numeric and no more than 8 digits. For example, 12345AUG. We’ll return forms with claim reference numbers that include any special characters, symbols, hyphens or spaces.

You can give us an adapted item order and supply section of the form if:

  • the number of items claimed exceeds the lines available
  • you’ve created an adapted form that’s better suited for AHS and pharmacy systems.

We can only accept an adapted section of the form if:

We’ll return the form without payment to the approved supplier if:

  • it’s incomplete or illegible
  • it includes additional fields, columns or information other than what’s listed above.

If you have a previously approved electronic order form, it must meet the requirements we’ve listed. For questions about order forms, email us.

Completing the form

You must include the following details:

  • AHS registration number
  • AHS or outstation name and address
  • full name and signature of the authorised person requesting pharmaceutical supplies.

An authorised person is a health professional who’s employed or contracted by the AHS and is qualified to supply all medicines covered by these arrangements. AHS and approved suppliers complete different columns of the form.

Items requested columnsTo be completed by

Serial number

Identifies how many items are listed in the claim for payment to be lodged with us.

approved supplier

Code

Identifies the PBS medicine using the item code from the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits.

AHS or approved supplier

Manufacturer’s code

Identifies the brand of PBS medicine using the manufacturer’s code from the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits. If a generic brand is suitable, the manufacturer’s code can be left blank.

AHS or approved supplier

Descriptions of goods: item, form and strength

Describes the PBS medicine. The approved supplier can use this information to confirm that the item code matches the description. The description must contain the item name, form and strength. For example:

Amoxycillin

Capsule

500 mg

AHS

Quantity required

To order the quantity required. Under the arrangements, medicines are ordered in multiples of the PBS maximum quantity, as set out in the Schedule.

For example, if the medicine has a PBS maximum quantity of 30 capsules and the approved AHS needs 90 capsules total, the quantity required for supply is 3. You can’t order broken packs.

AHS

Quantity supplied

To confirm the quantity supplied to the AHS. If the quantity ordered is different from the quantity supplied, the variation is shown in this column.

approved supplier

Subset quantity supplied for an individual (if applicable)

These are items supplied under a RAAHS prescription and the approved supplier has provided the PBS medicine labelled and prepared for an individual patient back to the AHS.

approved supplier

If you’re an approved supplier claiming for multiple AHS and/or approved outstations of the AHS you need to provide a separate claim for each.

If you’re claiming for the same AHS or outstation of that AHS across multiple dates of supply, you must provide a separate claim for each date of supply.

For each PBS medicine supplied in bulk to an approved AHS under these arrangements, you’ll be paid the sum of:

  • the approved price to pharmacist
  • an amount equal to the administration, handling and infrastructure fee
  • a handling fee of $3.30.

RAAHS patient specific medicine supply fee (PSMSF)

We’ll pay eligible pharmacies the s100 RAAHS PSMSF. This fee is for each PBS medicine ordered on a RAAHS prescription and labelled for an individual patient for supply through an approved AHS. This is in addition to the handling fee paid to eligible pharmacies for the supply of bulk PBS medicines to an approved AHS.

The s100 RAAHS PSMSF is $5.21 for each PBS medicine labelled for an individual patient for supply through an approved AHS.

Payments to approved suppliers

Claims are paid by electronic funds transfer. To register or update your bank account details for RAAHS payments, complete the Notification of Bank Account Details for Aboriginal Health Services program payments form.

More information

For more information about eligibility criteria and approval of AHS, contact Department of Health and Aged Care.

For more information about claiming and the supply of PBS medicines, contact us.

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Page last updated: 16 January 2024.
QC 23031