‘Patients first’ must be mantra for MBS Review Taskforce

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce must look beyond cost-cutting and take steps to help build a patient-centred health system for the 21st century, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has urged in a submission to the Commonwealth Government.

“It is important that the evidence-base and the cost-benefit of existing MBS items is critically assessed, and that the Taskforce’s core work results in new, revised and de-listed MBS items, which will add value to the Australian taxpayer and the public health system,” AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

“The AHHA is supportive of the Taskforce’s vision of reforming the MBS in the short, medium and long term to provide affordable universal access to best-practice health services.

“There is a clear need for a transparent review of MBS items to ensure they are evidence-based, fit-for-purpose, reflect contemporary medical practice and offer value for money.”

The AHHA has urged the Taskforce to ensure its processes and practices put patients first.

 “To ensure the review is thorough and well informed, it is important that the Taskforce bring together clinicians, consumers, researchers and service representatives with regular consultation that fully engages frontline clinicians and the communities they serve.”

The changes to the MBS must also aid improved integration across multidisciplinary teams in both community and hospital-based health services, while also supporting preventative care, quality of life and longevity as well as focusing on the health benefits of individual treatments.

“It is important also to encourage high value choices for consumers and their treating health service providers, supported by evidence and best-practice in line with individual clinical and social circumstances,” Ms Verhoeven said.

“Alternative funding models such as bundled payments for chronic conditions should be explored to support optimum care that places the consumer at the centre rather than the payment system at the centre.”

The MBS Review is an important part of reforming Australia’s health system to meet current and future challenges including a growing burden of chronic and complex disease, an ageing population, and costly medical technology innovations.

“Leadership in the field of health needs to represent more than just financial cuts and cost saving measures,” Ms Verhoeven said.

“The MBS Review Taskforce has a complex and important task ahead, and the AHHA welcomes the opportunity to support its work.”

To view the full submission, click here.

Media enquiries:

Alison Verhoeven

Chief Executive, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association

0403 282 501