Bone Densitometry

Bone densitometry items (MBS items 12306 - 12323) are outlined in a Ministerial Determination and published in the General Medical Services Table (GMST) one of several tables of medical services that collectively comprise the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

Page last updated: 15 February 2016

Currently, Medicare benefits are payable for:

  • the diagnosis and monitoring of bone loss if a patient has certain specific medical conditions or is undergoing particular treatments likely to cause rapid bone loss;
  • the confirmation of clinically suspected low bone mineral density, usually following a fracture;
  • the subsequent monitoring of established low bone mineral density; and/or
  • those patients over the age of 70 years.

For Medicare purposes, most bone density testing is subject to a restriction on the time interval between tests, from one every 12 to 24 months, depending on the item. This is because bone density loss is considered a relatively slow process and repeat testing within 24 months is unlikely to assist in clinical decision making. 

For those specific medical conditions or particular treatments that may cause more rapid bone loss, a rebate is available for repeat testing at 12 monthly intervals. Testing for people over the age of 70 years is not restricted to these intervals.

In November 2014 the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) reviewed the evidence regarding the use of bone densitometry for additional patients populations will provided its advice to the Minister for Health.

More information can be found on the MSAC website.