On your behalf

On the 8th of July our President, Karen Booth and CEO, Alexis Hunt attended by invitation the MBS Review Stakeholder Forum in Canberra with a number of key industry leaders.

This forum is one of the three key initiatives currently being undertaken by the Department of Health to work collaboratively with health professionals to deliver a healthier Medicare. These priorities include the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce led by Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of the Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney. The MBS Review Taskforce has been tasked with considering how services can be aligned with contemporary clinical evidence and improve health outcomes for patients.

The Primary Health Care Advisory Group (PHCAG), led by former AMA president and practising GP, Dr Steve Hambleton, will investigate options to provide; better care for people with complex and chronic illness; innovative care and funding models; better recognition and treatment of mental health conditions; and greater connection between primary health care and hospital care. Karen Booth has a lead role as a member of this group.

The third component of the Federal Government’s vision is a review of Medicare compliance rules and benchmarks, and will work with clinical leaders, medical organisations and patient representatives. The use of new techniques such as analytics and behavioural economics will provide more information to clinicians to enable them to better manage appropriate practices. As well, more information will be available to patients about fees charged by health professionals so they can make informed choices about their healthcare.

Some of the key outcomes of the MBS Review Stakeholder Forum included roundtable discussions on what major shifts will be required as part of the recommendations to the Review. The group identified a number of barriers to success which included a level of scepticism on the purpose and goals, financial implications of major changes, evidence or rather the lack thereof on more effective methodologies, inertia, workload and data availability. Some of the recommendations for overcoming these barriers as identified by participants included developing a clear case for change, high levels of consultation, robust commercial modelling, effective communication, connected systems and a well considered and designed implementation strategy.

We will provide updated information as we continue to work closely with these groups and forums.

We always want to hear from you on these matters and acknowledge you are the experts working in the field and have direct contact with patients and communities. We encourage you to provide us with your thoughts and feedback at every step of this journey so we can actively advocate on your behalf.

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