Rural Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance (RPMA) – Changes to Eligibility and Payment Arrangements

The Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement (Seventh Agreement) between the Australian Government, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) provides an allowance to eligible rural pharmacies under the Rural Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance (RPMA).

The aim of the RPMA is to support improved access to Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) medications for patients in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia.

From 1 January 2021, RPMA eligibility and payment values will no longer be based upon the Pharmacy Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (PhARIA) categories and will instead be based upon the Modified Monash Model (MMM) rural classification system. This change is in line with arrangements agreed under the Seventh Agreement.

What does this mean for existing RPMA recipients?

A new RPMA payment matrix based upon MMM categories is currently being finalised by the Department of Health, this will be published on the PPA website once available.
Pharmacies currently approved to receive RPMA payments will be emailed in the coming weeks with further information regarding the payment matrix and what this change means for them. Updated RPMA Program Rules and further information about the change will also be provided on the PPA website in the coming weeks.

What does this mean for pharmacies applying to participate in the RPMA Program?

From December 2020, new RPMA applications submitted in the PPA Portal may not be processed immediately as we work to transition from PhARIA to the MMM rural classification system.

New applications from December onwards will have their eligibility determined based upon their MMM category.