The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review

In a nutshell:

The first Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) review in 30 years is underway.

  • Draft recommendations of the MBS Review taskforce are available for public comment
  • They don't represent the views of physiotherapists and their patients
  • We seek better representation from physiotherapists on these committees
  • It is critical the taskforce hears the many voices of our profession who use the MBS system.

What is the MBS Review?

The first Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) review in 30 years is underway. It considers how some 5700 MBS items can be 'aligned with contemporary clinical evidence and practice' to 'improve health outcomes'.

The review will conclude in 2017. The Federal Health Minister will then receive the review taskforce’s final recommendations.

The APA made a submission to the MBS Review taskforce last November. The APA will continue to advocate for the interests of the profession, and its patients, in all important health-policy reform debates.


Clinical Committees 

Clinical committees are being formed to make recommendations on the MBS. We need good representation from physiotherapists on these committees.

The APA has nominated several of our members to participate in the relevant clinical committees.

We are pleased to see that consumer representatives are included on most committees.

Draft reports with recommendations from six clinical committees have now been released for comment.

The APA believes physiotherapists will be most interested in:

You can access the other MBS Review reports

Consultations have now closed on these reports. Thank you to all the physiotherapists who submitted their opinions to the Review via the online survey.


Principles and Rules Committee  

The report doesn’t consider the role of physiotherapists in improving patient outcomes. It focuses exclusively on doctors.

We hope the next report from this committee will reflect contemporary healthcare models that often involve teams of practitioners and their patients. The MBS needs to adequately fund such care.

Read our response to the survey on our submissions page


Diagnostic Imaging Committee: Low-back pain

The report has a split focus on doctors and allied-health providers. The dialogue needs remove this artificial barrier, and look at each health profession on its evidence base. Physiotherapists are not the same as other health providers, even other allied health providers. We have our own scope of practice and strengths.

The report highlights significant opportunities for reduction in the level of inappropriate imaging being undertaken, reducing patient exposure to radiation. The Committee needs to examine the data again. The data shows enormous differences in the ordering rates of chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists, respectively.

Focusing on these practitioners as a group of allied health providers will not be effective to reduce inappropriate requests for imaging. They need to be considered as individual professions.

Targeted interventions among specific professional groups could best achieve reductions.

Read our response to the survey on our submissions page

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