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01 Feb 2019

AMA lobbying has proved fruitful in the continuing Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review, with some wins achieved over changes being considered.

The AMA has pushed for reports from MBS Review Taskforce Clinical Committee to be made publicly available.

Late last year the AMA wrote to the Taskforce and lobbied the Health Department for that Committee’s reports to be made publicly available in order to improve transparency and boost the medical profession’s engagement with the MBS Review process.

In response to AMA’s request, the Department quietly published all the MBS Review Clinical Committee reports dating back to the commencement of the Review in 2015. These were published unannounced just before Christmas.

The AMA urges members to review the MBS Review Clinical Committee reports for recommendations relevant to their specialty and to engage directly with their relevant medical Colleges, Associations and Societies to provide responses to the MBS Review Taskforce.

Another success was related to the MBS Review Anaesthesia Clinical Committee recommendations.

In 2017, the AMA supported the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) concerns with that Committee’s recommendations. The AMA facilitated meetings with relevant members of the Government, as well with the MBS Review Taskforce and the Health Department.

In November 2018, the AMA also wrote to the MBS Review Taskforce to represent ASA’s continuing concerns.

This advocacy, along with that of the Colleges, Associations and Societies, proved influential. Just prior to Christmas, Health Minister Greg Hunt was reported (in Fairfax Media) to have rejected the Committee’s recommendations that sought to change the Medicare rebate and leave patients significantly out of pocket.

However, the AMA understands that the Government is implementing a number of the recommendations where agreement exists with the profession, and will work with the ASA and other specialists on how to address the areas covered under the remaining recommendations.

The AMA has requested an update on this work.

CHRIS JOHNSON

MBS Review Taskforce Clinical Committee Reports are available at: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/MBSReviewT...

 


Published: 01 Feb 2019