GPs can now order subsidised MRI services

From 1 November 2013 GPs can request four new Medicare eligible Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) services for patients over 16 years of age.

Page last updated: 01 November 2013

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1 November 2013

The Federal Minister for Health, the Hon Peter Dutton, announced today that GPs will now be able to order selected MRI scans for patients which will attract Medicare rebates. Bulk billed services will cover the full cost of the service.

From today (1 November 2013) for the first time, GPs can request four new Medicare eligible Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) services for patients over 16 years of age. Previously only specialist or consultant physicians could order these procedures.

"At a cost of $75 million over two years, this change will enable patients to receive Medicare rebates for important MRI services without the additional cost or inconvenience of visiting a specialist or consultant physician," Mr Dutton said.

"The availability of these items should also help to reduce the need for patients to be exposed to radiation which is associated with other types of diagnostic imaging like computed tomography (CT) scans."

The new items were developed through extensive consultation with the medical profession and the diagnostic imaging sector, including an expert working group which provided advice on the appropriate indications for the proposed new items.

The four new MRI items for patients 16 years of age and older cover scan of the head for certain indications, such as unexplained headaches; scan of the cervical spine for radiculopathy and trauma; and scan of the knee for specific clinical indications. These services can be provided by 337 Medicare eligible units around Australia.

These items and explanatory notes can be found on the MBS Online website.

Media contact: Kay McNiece, Minister Dutton’s Office, 0412 132585

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