Outcomes: Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce meeting 3 July 2015

On 3 July 2015, the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce held its inaugural meeting.

Page last updated: 25 February 2016

PDF version: Outcomes: Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce meeting 3 July 2015 (PDF 177 KB)

The MBS Review Taskforce is chaired by Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of the Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, and includes representation from leading clinicians, researchers, health technology assessment experts and a consumer.

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for Health, opened the meeting and thanked members for their commitment to the Taskforce, noting the independence of the committee which is led and run by clinicians.  Minster Ley outlined the need for improvements in the Medicare system, and where appropriate, opportunities for reinvestment into the system.

Mr Martin Bowles, Secretary, Department of Health, outlined the Department’s role in providing support to the Taskforce, as well as the current strategic and policy environment, and related work which will occur simultaneously with the work of the Taskforce.

Terms of Reference

Members endorsed the Terms of Reference (ToR), noting that the ToR will be publicly available on the MBS Review Taskforce website.  Members unanimously agreed to appoint Dr Steve Hambleton as Deputy Chair of the Taskforce. 

Governance Structure

Members discussed potential governance models to support the work of the Taskforce in reviewing the approximately 5,500 items listed on the MBS.  Discussion focused on the appointment of discipline specific committees, which would be commissioned to review certain part/s of the MBS and report recommendations back to the Taskforce.  This model, and potential priority areas for review, will be further explored.

Methodology Approach

Members discussed different review methodology approaches, including international models, such as the Ontario rapid review process, which should be considered against the appropriateness of the MBS and Australian context.  Members will further discuss the methodology approach at the next Taskforce meeting.  

Stakeholder Engagement

Members discussed the importance of stakeholder and community engagement throughout the Review process.  Members discussed the need for a structured and systematic consultation process targeting not only craft groups, but also the wider community.  Members also agreed to provide regular communication updates via the website and to engage with the Consumer Health Forum to consider other ways to engage with the public, such as online surveys and citizen juries.  Initial stakeholder forums will occur in Canberra (8 July), Adelaide (24 July), and Perth (25 July), with a consultation paper planned for later in the year.