Medicare rebates for podiatric surgeons

Page last updated: 01 December 2016

The Australian College of Podiatric Surgeons applied to the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) for access to a range of Medicare Benefits Schedule items for foot and ankle services, currently provided by orthopaedic surgeons and other surgical speciality groups.

The MSAC is an independent expert committee that advises the Government on whether a medical service should be publicly funded based on an assessment of its safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. This process ensures that Australians have access to medical services that have been shown to be safe and clinically effective, as well as representing value-for-money for both patients and tax payers.

The MSAC did not support the application, finding there was a lack of evidence for comparative safety and effectiveness in relation to comparable services, and that the clinical need remained uncertain.

Under the Private Health Insurance Act 2007, insurers are able to offer cover for accredited podiatric surgeons and/or associated anaesthetist’s fees under their complying health insurance products which cover hospital treatment, if they choose. Insurers still have the discretion as to whether or not to cover podiatric surgery in their products and also the extent of that cover. Insurers are required to cover some accommodation costs but not theatre fees. Insurers must also cover the cost of prostheses listed on the Government approved Prostheses List. Policy holders should contact their insurers to determine what benefits may apply.

Reviewed: 16 March 2017