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AMA Engagement

Since the MBS Review was announced in 2015, the AMA has been active in ensuring the MBS Reviews are clinician-led and patient focussed.

This includes holding an annual meeting of the medical Colleges, Associations and Societies to share information and to discuss issues as they arise relating to MBS Review.  The forum is also an opportunity to collaborate on other relevant reforms, including private health insurance which significantly impact on medical services.

The AMA has remained adamant since the inception of the MBS Review that the clinical committees must have strong clinical leadership and participation. The AMA has worked hard to ensure the entire review stays clinician-led and practical for the profession.

This has included the AMA providing the Government with advice on managing the process of the entire review, providing feedback where necessary on the composition of the Clinical Committees and at times, referring technical issues to the appropriate CAS groups.

With the MBS Review currently underway, the AMA, in consultation with member-based MBS Working Group and the medical Colleges, Associations and Societies, monitors and responds to the process and the outcomes of each and every Clinical Committee consultation.   

The committees set the clinical questions, review the available evidence, test findings with relevant specialties, and based on their findings recommend removals, amendments, recast of items and the addition of new items to reflect modern medical practice.  They also advise on how the findings should be implemented. 

Approach

AMA engagement strategy for the MBS Review 

Principles

The principles below are applied when AMA considers whether and how to respond to issues raised throughout the MBS Review process.

AMA Policy to recognise expertise

The Colleges, Associations and Societies (CAS) are best placed to respond to specific clinical and practice issues including:

  • scope/detail in item descriptors;
  • who should provide/undertake a service/procedure; and
  • interactions with other items/gaps in the schedule. 
AMA approach to adding value to the MBS Review

The AMA provides advice to the Government when announced recommendations:

  • do not appear to be in line with those made by the clinical review committees;
  • introduce limitations that would jeopardise patient safety and quality of care based on advice from the relevant CAS; and/or
  • place arbitrary restrictions which run counter to current, evidence-based clinical guidelines. 

The AMA:

  • steps in on broader issues of patient safety and proper process, as per the above principles;
  • helps broker an agreement between parties, if necessary; and
  • ensures relevant CAS organisations are aware of, and engaged in relevant MBS Review consultations 

The AMA does not actively engage in the current disagreements within and across the AMA membership and CAS organisations regarding the draft recommendations relating to specific specialty items although the AMA does keep track of developments. 

The AMA communicates its MBS Review activities to members within the context of the above principles, through regular updates in Australian Medicine, Rounds, targeted consultation emails and this webpage. 

Internally

How the MBS review work is being managed across the AMA Federal Council and various committees:

  • AMA Craft Group Representatives will be approached for feedback as consultation reports are received (sometimes under embargo). 
  • Medical Practice Committee provides advice on outcomes relating to MBS processes and medical practice, e.g. compliance issues, scope of practice implications, parallel reviews, etc. 
  • Council of Private Specialist Practice provides advice on outcomes that impact on private health insurance and private practice. 
  • Health Financing and Economics Committee provides advice on outcomes that impact on levels of investment due to new item funding and changes to rebates; interactions of changes in different parts of the MBS Schedule; and broader impacts on Medicare and the wider health system. 
  • AMA MBS Working Group meets via teleconference to discuss developments of the MBS review under the Terms of Reference. Feedback will inform AMA’s response – if any – to the reviews.