Medicare items and services will be reviewed by experts on an ongoing basis to ensure the Medicare Schedule remains contemporary and provides universal access to the best technologies and services under new arrangements introduced by the Australian Government.
The Government has appointed two experts – Conjoint Professor Anne Duggan (Chair) and Ms Jo Watson (Deputy Chair) – to lead the new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Advisory Committee (MRAC).
Professor Duggan and Ms Watson have been selected for their extensive knowledge of the health system, their professional and community standing, and their understanding of broader structural whole-of-MBS issues. Throughout their careers, they have both made significant professional contributions to support important reforms to Australia’s health system. Their appointments will support ongoing improvements to ensure access to high value and contemporary health services for all Australians.
Professor Duggan is Chief Medical Officer for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, where she provides expert clinical advice to the Commission in its role to improve safety and quality of health care nationally. She is a practicing gastroenterologist with a strong background in providing leadership to clinicians and colleagues to improve patient care and embed clinical governance frameworks.
Ms Watson is the current Deputy Chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). She also brings her experience as Chair of the Health Technology Assessment Consumer Consultative Committee and Deputy Chair of the Consumer Health Forum Board, where she promotes consumer advocacy and representation within diverse health contexts.
The new MRAC will build upon the work of the MBS Review Taskforce, which from 2015 to 2020 reviewed the more than 5,700 items on the MBS, line-by-line, for clinical efficacy and relevance. The Taskforce’s recommendations have delivered significant improvements in patient care.
The MRAC will ensure the MBS continues to support high quality care, and remains flexible and contemporary. It reinforces the Government’s commitment to provide Australians with affordable access to universal health care, a key pillar of the Government’s Long-Term National Health Plan.
Ongoing rigorous and comprehensive review and analysis is essential for a consistent, clear, and evidence-based MBS that works for patients and health professionals alike.
The Australian Government is investing $125.7 billion in Medicare over the next four years, an increase of over $6 billion since last year’s Budget. Complementing the role of the Medical Services Advisory Committee, the MRAC will provide advice to Government to ensure that funded services are high value, contemporary and support good health outcomes.
MRAC membership will include individuals with clinical, consumer, health economic and research expertise and will adopt a consultative approach with peak medical groups.