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MBS REVIEW NEWSLETTER

SEPTEMBER 2022 UPDATE

MBS Review Advisory Committee (MRAC) Update

The MBS Review Advisory Committee (MRAC) guides the work of the MBS Continuous Review, an ongoing review of Medicare items and services carried out by experts on a continuous basis.

The committee’s role is to provide advice to Government on publicly funded services listed on the MBS. The MRAC aims to improve patient access to high value care through consideration of the appropriateness of existing MBS services, in addition to wider health reform solutions which may include alternate funding models or means of service provision and the addition of new services where a health technology assessment (HTA) is not appropriate.

MRAC is comprised of practising clinicians, academics, health system experts and consumers.

The MRAC meets four times a year, and has met on four occasions to date:

  • 9 November 2021
  • 1 February 2022
  • 4 May 2022
  • 5 August 2022
 The final MRAC meeting for the year is scheduled for 9 November 2022.
 

Current Reviews
 
Surgical Assistant
The Surgical Assistant Working Group was established as a subgroup of the MRAC to consider two issues:
  • surgical assistant billing arrangements.
  • access to surgical MBS items for non-medical surgical assistants.

This followed a request to government from the MBS Review Taskforce for a working group to be established to consider and advise on these issues.​

After a series of working group meetings and targeted consultation processes, at its 5 August 2022 meeting, the MRAC endorsed the public consultation of the Surgical Assistant Working Group’s findings and draft recommendations.

Genetic Counselling
The Genetic Counselling Working Group (the GCWG) was established as a subgroup of the MRAC, to review and provide advice on a submission from the Human Genetics Society of Australasia (HGSA) to establish MBS items for professional genetic counselling services.

After a series of working group meetings and targeted consultation processes, at its 5 August 2022 meeting, the MRAC endorsed the public consultation of the Genetic Counselling Working Group’s findings and draft recommendations.

Have your say
Draft reports from the Surgical Assistant Working Group and the Genetic Counselling Working Group were published on the Department of Health and Aged Care Consultation Hub on 26 August 2022. You are invited to submit feedback to MBSContinuousReview@health.gov.au by 11.59pm on 7 October 2022.

The diverse perspectives, experience, and knowledge of all stakeholders, including members of the community, are valued, and will be considered by the MRAC in finalising its recommendations to Government.

Colonoscopy
At its 5 August 2022 meeting, the MRAC agreed to establish a working group to conduct a post implementation review of the 1 November 2019 changes to MBS Colonoscopy items and services as recommended by the MBS Review Taskforce.

This working group will consist of a subset of MRAC members and is currently being established. Findings and recommendations from the working group will be subject to extensive targeted and open consultation processes prior to finalisation and submission to Government.

Vascular Interventional Radiology
At its 5 August 2022 meeting, the MRAC agreed to establish an expert clinical working group to conduct a review of vascular interventional radiology (IR) (including interventional neuroradiology (INR)) services by the MRAC. This topic came to the attention of the Department following the review conducted by the MBS Review Taskforce of vascular services and further consultation with the sector.

This working group will consist of a subset of MRAC members and key external stakeholders and is currently being established. Findings and recommendations from the working group will be subject to extensive targeted and open consultation processes prior to finalisation and submission to Government.
 
For further information, you can email MBSContinuousReview@health.gov.au

MBS Review Updates


The following changes across a range of areas are the result of MBS Review Taskforce recommendations and extensive consultation with key stakeholders. These changes included new items and amendments to existing items to better align services with contemporary best practice. It also includes the deletion of some outdated items. 

On 1 July,
Colorectal surgery item changes include the combining of items, updates to descriptors and the deletion of outdated items. Factsheet

On 6 July,
The introduction of a new temporary MBS item 32118 for minimally invasive ventral mesh rectopexy Factsheet
 
On 1 August,
Minor amendments to item descriptors for seven gynaecology MBS services and a fee increase for one gynaecology MBS item to improve the clarity of the items and better align the item descriptors with the intent of the Taskforce’s recommendations. Factsheet

For more information on other MBS changes between April and August visit the MBS Online News page and check the MBS Online Factsheets page

Future changes

The following future changes based on Taskforce recommendations are scheduled for implementation.

1 November 2022 1 March 2023
  • Changes to items to improve access to allied health services for people under 25 years of age with complex Neurodevelopmental Disorders (such as Autism Spectrum Disorder) and with eligible disabilities.
  • Implementing Thoracic Surgery changes to ensure they align with contemporary practice.
  • Changes to MBS items for Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery to reflect complete medical services and contemporary clinical practice, introduce co-claiming restrictions to minimise potentially inappropriate claims, and create new groupings of items within the schedule to facilitate achieving these priorities.
1 July 2023
  • Updating age eligibility requirements for cleft and craniofacial services.
More details will be provided as the changes and details are announced.
MBS Review Updates for current ILGs 

Allied Health
The Allied Health ILG was established in June 2022. Meetings were held in June and August with a further meeting scheduled for early September 2022. The ILG has provided valuable input and advice on the future implementation of allied health MBS items. For information on the work of the Allied Health ILG, please contact PrimaryhealthcareILG@Health.gov.au.

Cleft and Craniofacial
The Cleft and Craniofacial ILG has been established with meetings scheduled for September and October 2022. The department has invited the following stakeholders to consult on recommendations and the establishment of a communication and education strategy for the sector:
  • Australian Dental Association
  • Australian Society of Orthodontists
  • Academy of Australian and New Zealand Prosthodontists
  • Australian and New Zealand Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
  • Australasian Academy of Paediatric Dentistry
  • Australasian Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate Association Inc
  • Australian Private Hospitals Association
  • Private Healthcare Australia

Psychiatry
Meetings were held in March, April and July and the work of the ILG is nearing finalisation. 

If you have any questions about the work of the Psychiatry Clinical Committee or the ILG, please contact MBSReviewsILGs@health.gov.au


Radiation Oncology
The third meeting of the Radiation Oncology ILG was held in August 2022. The work of the ILG to develop a restructured schedule of radiation oncology MBS items is nearing finalisation. The ILG has indicated its broad support for a restructured schedule, including new fees and descriptors, based on service complexity.

The department’s goal is to work with the ILG to ensure that the implementation of the new schedule is delivered with minimal disruption to the ongoing delivery of cancer services to patients.

If you would like more information or have questions about the Oncology Clinical Committee’s recommendations on radiation oncology, please contact MBSOncology@health.gov.au


Participating Midwives
This ILG is expected to reconvene later this year to review and discuss remaining recommendations for implementation.

If you have any questions about the work of the Participating Midwives Reference Group or the ILG please contact PrimaryhealthcareILG@Health.gov.au.


Ophthalmology
The third ILG meeting was held in March, with members discussing the remainder of the Taskforce’s recommendations, including the three recommendations (7, 18 and 19) related to intravitreal eye injection reforms.

Any questions about the work of the Ophthalmology ILG can be directed to SurgicalServices@health.gov.au


Optometry
An Optometry ILG has been established and will hold its first meeting in September 2022.

For information on the work of the Optometry ILG, please contact PrimaryhealthcareILG@Health.gov.au.

Upcoming ILG's


In the coming months an ILG will be established for Vascular Surgery.

Stakeholder consultation continues to be an integral part of the MBS Review process and upcoming ILGs will be announced as  details become available.

General MBS Review News


Collaborative Arrangements Review

The department has commissioned an independent review of collaborative arrangements. The review will aim to provide greater clarity on the efficacy of collaborative arrangements and highlight any unintended barriers.
 

Orthopaedic surgery early post-implementation review

The orthopaedic surgery MBS early post-implementation review commenced in November 2021. The focus of the review is to identify unintended outcomes resulting from the implementation of the MBS Orthopaedic Surgery Taskforce Review changes on 1 July 2021. Priority is given to addressing inadvertent and significant impacts on patients, such as service gaps, and correcting any errors or omissions in the item descriptors and explanatory notes.
 
The Department is continuing to work with the Australian Orthopaedic Association and orthopaedic sub-specialty societies to finalise issues within scope of this review process. The consultation phase will conclude at the end of October 2022 to progress proposed changes for consideration by Government.

If you have any questions about the early post-implementation review process, please contact SurgicalServices@health.gov.au.

 

MBS Online

You can always find information about upcoming changes to MBS Items by visiting the MBS Online. The News page provides an overview of changes and the Factsheets page provides more detail and links to factsheets for each change.
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