Terms of reference - Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce

Purpose and structure, roles and responsibilities, and constitution of the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce.

Page last updated: 25 February 2016

1. Purpose and structure

An expert, clinician-led Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce (the Taskforce) will be established to lead an accelerated programme of MBS reviews to align MBS funded services with contemporary clinical evidence and improve health outcomes for patients.

The Taskforce will appoint chairs and members of Working Groups to progress this work, including clinicians, researchers, health technology assessment experts and consumers, as appropriate to the issue.

2. Roles and responsibilities

The Taskforce will undertake the following:
  • An early, high level review of the MBS as a whole to identify priority areas taking account of factors including concerns about safety, clinically unnecessary service provision and accepted clinical guidelines.
  • From this high level review, identify Review topics and assign priority to nominated topics, providing this initial advice to the Minister by late 2015.
  • Commission evidence-based reviews that rely on assessment of literature and data by Working Groups.
  • Analyse the advice from the Working Groups and, in turn provide advice to the Minister, including advice on the evidence for services, appropriateness, best practice options, levels and frequency of support through Medicare.
  • Monitor the outcome of MBS reviews and trends in MBS growth to inform an ongoing cycle of Reviews, including advising on a system of ongoing analysis of MBS data, integration of other relevant available data, policy development and implementation.
  • Advise on a Departmental programme of work that aims to update the Act and regulations (MBS Rules) that underpin MBS funding.
  • Provide advice to the Minister about the MBS and related health financing issues, as appropriate.
  • Engage with health consumers, medical professionals, peak bodies and other stakeholders to seek their views about appropriate review approaches and processes.

3. Constitution

  1. The Taskforce will comprise:
    • An independent, clinical Chairperson;
    • skills-based members, with a range of clinical expertise (including pathology and diagnostic imaging), consumers and health economics;
    • the Chair of the Primary Health Care Advisory Group and
    • an ex-officio medical adviser (department member).
  2. The Taskforce may nominate Observers and invite experts on an as needed basis.
  3. Membership may be reviewed by the Department, as agreed by the Minister for Health, on the basis of emerging issues or changing needs.
  4. Members will observe confidentiality requirements as specified by the Taskforce.
  5. The Taskforce will be a Departmental non-statutory committee, managed according to the Department’s External Committee Framework.