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Australian Dental Association shares concerns about MBS Review

Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Psychology, The Health Industry

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has raised some matters of concern around the MBS review taskforce, including intravenous sedation in dental procedures, private insurance, and dental services for special needs patients.

The ADA recommends:

  • Restriction of the rebate payment for sedation services when suitably trained and endorsed dentists were not able to provide the sedation services.
  • The payment of a rebate for sedation services by a GP be confined to cases where that GP has achieved the appropriate qualifications as required by PS09.
  • Provision of a direction to private health insurers to re-instate the availability for payment of a rebate for sedation services provided by an appropriately endorsed dentist.
  • Special needs patients being eligible for Medicare benefits when undergoing dental surgeries in cases where it is determined dental practitioner sedationists are required

The MBS Review Taskforce focus is on outlining the critical reasons why the MBS is in need of evidence based review, reflecting the outcomes of the Taskforce’s initial activities, in stakeholder consultations and other early Review activities, and identifying a number of areas where there is a need for further consideration.

The Taskforce is said to be engaging a wide range of clinicians, consumers and other experts by establishing clinical committees to assist with the review. Each tranche of clinical committee is chaired by a clinician practising in the area, and includes other clinicians from that discipline and other relevant field as referrers of services.

  • 1st Tranche, commenced September 2015, includes diagnostic imaging; ear, nose, and throat surgery; gastroenterology; obstetrics; pathology; thoracic medicine
  • 2nd Tranche, commenced April 2016, includes cardiac services; dermatology, allergy, and immunology; endocrinology; intensive care and emergency medicine; oncology; renal medicine
  • 3rd Tranche, commenced September 2016, includes anaesthesia; gynaecology; aboriginal and torres strait islander; orthopaedics; general practice and primary care; pain management; spinal surgery
  • 4th Tranche, includes allied health; consultation services; plastic & reconstructive surgery; nurse practitioner & participating midwife; ophthalmology
  • 5th Tranche, includes colorectal surgery; general surgery; mental health services; optometry; oral & maxillofacial surgery; paediatric surgery
  • 6th Tranche, include thoracic surgery; neurology; vascular surgery & interventional radiology; urology

Back in 2015, AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said that the MBS Review Taskforce should come up with a modern MBS that reflects high quality contemporary medical practice.

“The review should be a single comprehensive update of the MBS that removes or amends outdated items and adds new items to reflect current modern medical care,” Professor Owler said.

Before the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce was established in 2015, the MBS has never been subject to a comprehensive review despite of the fact that there have been significant changes in best practice across the health industry. Specific MBS service items which were once appropriate has become obsolete or of less value. Furthermore, the service model of modern healthcare practice which involves more multidisciplinary care does not sit neatly with the existing MBS structure.

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