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Medicare Benefits Schedule Review update

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The MBS Review Taskforce continues its work into 2018, with the next round of public consultations expected for release in February.

In the meantime, a number of clinical committees have yet to begin. The Department of Health’s MBS Review team is currently accepting nominations from medical practitioners with the relevant background to participate on the following reviews:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Neurology, Pain Management, Urology, Allied Health, Colorectal Surgery, Consultation Services, General Surgery, Mental Health Services, Nurse Practitioner & Participating Midwife, Ophthalmology, Optometry, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Paediatric Surgery, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Vascular Surgery

The MBS Review Taskforce also has an interest in participants (both specialists and consultant physicians) for the review of specialist consultation items.

The success of the MBS reviews is contingent on the reviews being clinician-led and the AMA encourages medical practitioners with the relevant skillset to consider nominating to the clinical committees.  Follow the online links to learn more about the individual items under review by each committee.

For more information or to submit a nomination, contact the MBS Review team.

The AMA’s approach has always been to defer recommendations relating to specialty items to the relevant Colleges, Associations and Societies (CAS) and comment on the broader policy. As such, the AMA does not have direct representation on individual clinical committees but supports the commitment made by members who do contribute their expertise to the review.

Through feedback mechanisms involving the CAS, a member-based AMA Working Group and the Medical Practice Committee, the AMA has responded to every single MBS review consultation – raising issues from across our membership, while stressing where systematic improvements need to be made.  The AMA Secretariat and the President have done this through direct representations with the Health Minister, the Department of Health and in writing to the Chair of MBS Review Taskforce.

Recent submissions highlighted a number clear deficiencies and significant variations in the MBS review process, signalling a need for absolute transparency from the Taskforce and leadership on the clinical committees through early engagement of the relevant CAS.  

This year, the AMA will continue to press Government to ensure the reviews result in sensible reinvestment into the MBS while protecting clinical decision making. It is therefore crucial that each committee has the input of practicing clinicians and consistent, practical advice from the CAS.

The AMA continues to monitor the reviews with interest and update members along the way.  The profession and the wider CAS are encouraged to do the same by engaging early with the clinical committees and public consultations.  The full schedule of MBS reviews can be found on the Department of Health website: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/MBSR-about

For more information on AMA’s advocacy with the MBS reviews, contact Eliisa Fok
Senior Policy Adviser, Medical Practice efok@ama.com.au 

Eliisa Fok
AMA Senior Policy Adviser