Guaranteeing Medicare – Medical Benefits Schedule Review – General Surgery Services

The Australian Government is making changes to Medicare-funded general surgery services to support best practice treatment and improve patient experience and safety. These changes follow recommendations from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review

Page last updated: 17 December 2019

Guaranteeing Medicare – Medical Benefits Schedule Review – General Surgery Services (PDF 76 KB)
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What are the changes?

From 1 July 2021, there will be a number of changes to the MBS items to better align general surgery services with contemporary and evidence based treatment.

Some items will be changed to provide greater flexibility of approach which will assist surgeons to tailor treatment to a patient based on benefits and risks, patient’s pathology and patient choice.

This includes the combining of services that are similar procedures separated by means of access (such as laparoscopy and laparotomy), and services that are frequently co-claimed.

Additionally, existing items will be consolidated to simplify the claiming of some life extending procedures.

A range of other changes will be made to simplify the items and improve billing consistency for patients.

Why are these changes being made?

These changes were recommended by the independent MBS Review Taskforce, following a comprehensive review of the MBS items by clinicians, health system experts and consumers.

The revised item descriptors better reflect the procedures being performed by practitioners and contemporary best-practice. These changes will also ensure that claims are consistent and appropriate.

What does this mean for patients?

Patients will benefit as general surgery services will be aligned to contemporary care. Providers will be supported to provide best practice treatment, tailored to individual patient needs, which will lead to better health outcomes for patients.

What does this mean for providers?

Providers will benefit as Medicare funding will better align with contemporary clinical practice for general surgery services.

The consolidation of the items will streamline billing practices and support more uniform billing across patients.

The Department will work closely with peak bodies when implementing the changes to the general surgery MBS items. Providers will receive further information about the changes as implementation proceeds.

Further detail will be available on MBS online website.