A Better MBS for all Australians

The clinician-led Taskforce that is reviewing more than 5,700 items covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to see if they are up-to-date, has released its third round of recommendations for public consultation.

Page last updated: 07 June 2017

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7 June 2017

The clinician-led Taskforce that is reviewing more than 5,700 items covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to see if they are up-to-date, today released its third round of recommendations for public consultation.

Professor Bruce Robinson, chair of the MBS Review Taskforce commissioned by the Federal Government, said the MBS review is aimed at ensuring that subsidised procedures covered by the MBS are up-to-date, clinically effective, provide value for the healthcare system and support the best quality care for patients.

“Consultation with clinicians, consumer representatives, and the Australian public on committee recommendations is a critical step prior to the Taskforce delivering final recommendations to the Government,” Professor Robinson said.

The latest round of public consultation includes over 40 recommendations effecting over 170 items, from the Spinal Surgery, Renal Medicine, Dermatology, Allergy & Immunology, Diagnostic Imaging – Knee Imaging, and Diagnostic Imaging – PE/DVT Imaging clinical committees.

The consultation also includes a preliminary MBS Review Taskforce report on Urgent After-Hours Primary Care Services funded through the MBS.

The draft recommendations include restructuring the spinal surgery items with a new schedule of items that better describe current spinal surgery best practice. Streamlining the description of these services will ensure the MBS benefits provided to patients are appropriate and consistent.

A new item is proposed to provide funding for the delivery of dialysis by appropriately trained nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners and Aboriginal Health Workers in very remote areas of Australia.

“This will have significant health, social and economic impacts, for the patient and their families,” Professor Robinson said.

Changes are also proposed to make sure people access high quality and clinically appropriate after-hours GP home visits.

“The Australian medical community recognises the need to remove MBS funding from unnecessary, outdated, ineffective and potentially unsafe services.

“It was the strong view of the Urgent After-hours Working Group and the Taskforce that the current use of urgent after-hours services does not reflect clinical need in Australia.

“The growth in use of urgent after-hours GP services does not seem to reflect patients’ clinical needs.”

“After-hours services are important, but we must ensure that patients get the right test or treatment first time, every time and not be subjected to unnecessary and inappropriate care,” Professor Robinson said.

The Taskforce’s work is continuing and further draft recommendations will be released for public consultation throughout the year.

For information go to the MBS Review website.

Media contact: Kay McNiece: 0412 132 585

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