Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Advisory Committee post-implementation review of MBS telehealth items: abolition of initial telehealth consultations for non-general practitioner specialistsJeffrey C. L. Looi A B * , Stephen Allison B C , Tarun Bastiampillai B C D , Steve Kisely B E F and William Pring G H
© 2024 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing on behalf of AHHA.
In 2022, the Australian Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care commissioned the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Advisory Committee (MRAC) to conduct a post-implementation review of MBS telehealth services, including settings of video and telephone consultations. The MRAC has made a series of administrative recommendations for telehealth practice that appear at cross-purposes to the evidence-base on medical consultations and that would limit patient access to medical specialist assessment in Australia. These recommendations particularly underestimate the role of telehealth in rural and remote Australia and did not take into account high patient satisfaction with telehealth assessment and treatment during the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. They also appear to contradict the Medical Board of Australia’s guidance on telehealth. On this basis, the recommendations for telehealth principles and abolition of reimbursement for telehealth for all initial non-general practitioner medical specialist consultations should be withdrawn.
Keywords: clinical pathways, e-health, health funding and financing, Medicare Benefits Schedule, quality and safety, rural and remote health, telehealth, urgent care.
2 Medical Board of Australia. Telehealth consultations with patients. 2023. Available at https://www.medicalboard.gov.au/Codes-Guidelines-Policies/Telehealth-consultations-with-patients.aspx [accessed 30 October 2023].
10 Medical Board of Australia. Revised telehealth guidelines raise standards, protect patients. 2023. Available at https://www.medicalboard.gov.au/News/2023-05-31-Revised-telehealth-guidelines.aspx [accessed 30 October 2023].