Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Statement from the Chair

Page last updated: 22 August 2017

Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Statement from the Chair (PDF 163 KB)

MBS Reforms, 22 August 2017

I am pleased to see the work of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce progress with the Government’s response to a package of recommendations.

With the Taskforce’s support, the Government has accepted 45 recommendations in full, and adopted others in a modified form. All will improve patient care, help modernise the MBS, and see the MBS improve its focus on clinical best practice.

The changes to the MBS include:
  • improving patient access to post operative care by removing aftercare restrictions on claiming MBS benefits for routine GP items;
  • increasing the MBS fees paid to GPs for certain procedures to align with fees paid to specialists for the same procedures;
  • clarifying rules around co-claiming and consultation items when performing procedures;
  • better mental health screening and support for pregnant women; and
  • a reduction in unnecessary testing, freeing up resources to help more people receive necessary colonoscopies.
These changes will begin on 1 November 2017, with the exception of changes to colonoscopy, which will begin on 1 March 2018.

This package of changes arose from the Taskforce’s first round of clinical committees, which included gastroenterology, diagnostic imaging, ear nose and throat surgery, obstetrics, and the Principles and Rules Committee.

Today, as part of its ongoing work, the Taskforce has released a further four clinical committee reports for consultation. The reports include more than 130 recommendations made by the Cardiac Services, Endocrinology, Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine and Pathology–Endocrine Tests clinical committees.

The Taskforce was established in 2015 to examine all the items listed on the MBS and recommend changes to align these services with contemporary, evidence-based medical practice and to improve patient outcomes. The Review is conducted by expert committees and working groups focusing on specific areas of the MBS.

More information on the changes can be found on the Department of Health website.

(ENDS)

Media contact: Kay McNiece – 0412 132 585