Medicare review plods along

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) is disappointed at the slow pace of progress in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review.

The AHHA supports the vision of reforming the MBS over the short and long-term to provide affordable universal access to best-practice health services that represent value for the individual patient and the health system.

“The work of the MBS Review is an opportunity to guarantee a 21st century health system with sustainable funding support for evidence-based medical procedures and practices, ensuring equitable access and affordability for all Australians,” AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

“AHHA supports a vision of reforming the MBS, but the current approach appears to be focused on savings rather than transformational reform. The removal of redundant items from the schedule will only deliver $5.1 million over the forward estimates. The Government is gambling on achieving bigger savings to the order of $66 million with an expanded compliance program.

“Healthcare reforms must be considered as part of a co-ordinated approach to the delivery of care across the primary, acute, aged and disability care sectors. It is disappointing that cuts have been made to the health system prior to the completion of the multiple review process currently underway across health.

“The current MBS is an uncapped, demand-driven fee-for-service program. The challenge of increasing chronic disease, multi-comorbidities and how the health system can more effectively respond to these pressures must be considered by the Taskforce in the quest for a more efficient health system that better meets consumers’ needs. The establishment of Health Care Homes is a step in the right direction, but inadequate funding merged with the Chronic Disease Management Medicare items will not see the initiative succeed.

“The AHHA supports the potential establishment of “sunset clauses” to remove the necessity of exhaustive review processes every few decades, as well as rapid reviews to allow the Medicare Services Advisory Committee to speed up some applications to add new services to the MBS.

Read AHHA’s submission to the MBS Review Taskforce here

Media enquiries:
Alison Verhoeven
Chief Executive, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
0403 282 501