Removal of healthy kids check from MBS

From 1 November 2015, Medicare benefits for the pre-school healthy kids check (including the nurse item #10986) will no longer be available. See here for the MBS notification.

The Australian Government has cited a lack of evidence around the current system providing a higher quality service and the increased annual cost of delivering pre-school health checks as factors behind its decision to remove the healthy kids check MBS items.

The four year old health check remains a recommended child health assessment, which can still be undertaken in general practice settings using time and complexity based MBS items #23, #36, #44 (and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health assessment item #715). The health checks can also be undertaken by State and Territory funded infant health clinics, where available.

With these changes in mind there is debate around whether the rebates for these consults accurately reflect the work required to undertake a comprehensive childhood health assessment or support the non face-to-face work undertaken outside of the consultation.

  • Do you believe there will be a change in your health assessment rates for children in your area as a result of the Government’s decision?

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3 thoughts on “Removal of healthy kids check from MBS

  1. I do believe that there will be a decline the number of 4 year olds having health checks.
    seeing a nurse for this removed the strain on GPs, parents were happy to be seen by a nurse and didn’t have to wait as long to find appts as they do with GPs. some places don’t have community health services with childhealth nurses offering the checks.
    at our practice, we are nervous for those child who will not have their toilet training issues identified, or their diet issues noted to parents, or vision deficits picked up.
    our aim is to continue to send our reminder letters for 4 year old vaccinations and when presenting for these – either offer some basic checks or standard information packages and further to this – promote the use of our child health nurses in our local community centres.
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    1. Hi Amanda
      We have heard a number of similar concerns from nurses relating to the reduced structured opportunity to follow up these important issues. What a fabulous idea to now incorporate it in with your immunisation reminders and to continue to provide the assessment. Can you tell me if you are opportunistically chatting with parents at the immunisation appointment about any pressing issues and then scheduling a GP and future nurse appointment for follow up or an alternate system? We would really love to hear how this is being managed in your practice to provide others with potential solutions which might fit with their workflow
      Look forward to hearing from you again on this issue
      Cheers Lisa
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  2. HI all
    Just to clarify again now that November 1st has come and gone

    Item Numbers 701, 703, 705, 707 and nurse item #10986 are no longer available to utilize when performing a child health assessment

    The four year old health check remains a recommended child health assessment, which can still be undertaken in general practice settings using time and complexity based GP MBS items #23, #36, #44 (and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health assessment item #715). The health checks can also be undertaken by State and Territory funded infant health clinics, where available.

    The need for a child health assessment for Family assistance/ benefits payments varies from state to state so may be affected if the health assessment is not performed – please refer to the Australian Government Department of Human Services regarding the requirements for each state to provide a health assessment http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/centrelink/family-tax-benefit-part-a-part-b/healthy-start-for-school-health-check#a4 and also check the Australian Government Department Immunise Australia website
    http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/news-20151109 Childhood immunisation arrangements to receive family assistance payments are changing on 1 January 2016.

    Find out more on the individuals and families page http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/news-20151109
    and the health professionals page http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/news-20151109

    It is recommended that you also refer to local state and territory guidelines

    Hope this helps
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