What is the Stoma Appliance Scheme (SAS)?
The Stoma Appliance Scheme (SAS), subsidised by the Australian Government, provides stoma related products (aids and appliances) free of charge to eligible members of Australian stoma associations
The SAS provides assistance to Medicare-eligible Australian residents who have a temporary or permanent artificial body opening (whether created surgically or otherwise), which facilitates the removal of urine and products of the gastrointestinal tract where the person does not have a normal gastrointestinal tract or bladder functions.
Currently, approximately 46,000 people with stomas access the Scheme through the twenty-one approved stoma associations within Australia.
To receive subsidised stoma products you must hold a SAS entitlement card issued by Medicare Australia through one of the Australian stoma associations. Your Stomal Therapy Nurse (STN) will help you join an ostomy association or you can choose to join the ostomy association most convenient to your circumstances. Members pay a small annual administration fee to their association to access the Scheme (Veteran Affairs Members are exempt) and postal delivery charges are also applicable.
These stoma associations independently purchase stoma related products from suppliers and distribute these to members as required. Associations then submit a claim to Medicare Australia for the products they have supplied to members. In addition to the cost of products purchased, Medicare Australia pays the ostomy associations a 2.75% handling fee on products supplied to members.
The choice of products which a member uses is guided by an STN who is specifically trained to advise on the use of stomal products following ostomy surgery. The STN will select and discuss products they feel are appropriate, taking into consideration each patient’s lifestyle requirements.
The Stoma Product Assessment Panel (SPAP) reviews applications from suppliers to list stoma related products on the SAS and makes recommendations about the suitability of those products for listing on the SAS Schedule.
The SAS Schedule lists all products and corresponding prices that the Government subsidises for eligible people.