Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

General practice utilisation of Medicare Benefits Schedule items to support the care of older patients: findings from the REDIRECT study

Lyle R. Turner A , Christopher Pearce A B , Bianca Brijnath C , Colette Browning D , Judy Lowthian E F , Marianne Shearer G and Danielle Mazza A H
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of General Practice, Monash University, Building 1, 270 Ferntree Gully Road, Notting Hill, Vic. 3168, Australia.

B Melbourne East General Practice Network (trading as Outcome Health), 1/5 Lakeside Drive, Burwood East, Vic. 3151, Australia.

C National Aging Research Institute (NARI), 34–48 Poplar Road, Parkville, Vic, 3052, Australia.

D Shenzhen International Institute for Primary Health Care Research, Shenzhen, Guangdong, P.R. China.

E Bolton Clarke, 31 Alma Road, St Kilda, Vic. 3182, Australia.

F Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, The Alfred Centre, 99 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Vic. 3004, Australia.

G Gippsland Primary Health Network, 16 Kirk Street, Moe, Vic. 3825, Australia.

H Corresponding author. Email: danielle.mazza@monash.edu

Australian Journal of Primary Health - https://doi.org/10.1071/PY17047
Submitted: 13 April 2017  Accepted: 29 August 2017   Published online: 8 November 2017

Abstract

Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items designed to support the wellbeing of older people may reduce unnecessary emergency department utilisation, however it is unclear to what extent such items are used. This study examined general practitioner (GP) utilisation of these MBS items through an analysis of the Melbourne East Monash General Practice Database (MAGNET), which contains information collected from GP clinics within the inner east Melbourne region. Sociodemographic and MBS claim data were extracted for patients aged ≥75 years attending a GP between 2005 and 2012. Utilisation of 75+ Health Assessments, General Practitioner Management Plans (GPMP), Team Care Arrangements (TCAs) or reviews, or Medication Management Reviews (MMRs) was assessed. There were 12 962 (60.6%) patients assigned at least one of the MBS items. The highest level of claiming was for GPMPs (n = 4754; 35.8%) and TCAs (n = 4476; 33.7%), with MMRs having the lowest use (n = 1023; 6.8%). Examination of GP and patient barriers to the uptake of these items is needed, along with a greater understanding as to whether those most at risk of hospitalisation are receiving these services. Strategies that support capacity to implement these items are also required.


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