Medicare Health Assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (PDF 322 KB)
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This fact sheet must be read in conjunction with the item descriptors and associated notes for item 715 (as set out in the Medicare Benefits Schedule).
The aim of this MBS health assessment item (more commonly known as the health check) is to help ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive primary health care that meets their needs, by supporting their health and wellbeing, establishing their health priorities and plan for good health and encouraging early detection, diagnosis and intervention for common and treatable conditions that cause morbidity and early mortality.
For the purpose of this item, a person is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person if they self-identify, or if their parent or carer, identifies them as being an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person.
The health check for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people covers the full age spectrum, and should be used for health checks for the following age groups:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants who are aged between zero and five
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are aged between five and 12
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents and young people who are aged between 12 and 24
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults who are aged between 25 and 49
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander older people who are aged over 50
Components of the Health Check
A good health check:
- is useful to the patient
- identifies health needs, including patient health goals and priorities
- supports patients to take charge of their health and wellbeing
- provides a framework for primary and secondary disease prevention through healthcare advice, risk assessment and other measures
- is provided by the regular healthcare provider
- includes a plan for follow-up of identified health needs, priorities and goals.
The health check supports a review of the patient’s health and wellbeing, including their physical, psychological and social wellbeing. It also assesses what preventive health care, education and other assistance should be offered to the patient to improve their health and wellbeing. It complements existing services already undertaken by a range of health care providers.
This health check must include:
- information collection, including taking a patient history and undertaking examinations and investigations as required;
- making an overall assessment of the patient;
- recommending appropriate interventions;
- providing advice and information to the patient;
- keeping a record of the health check, and offering the patient a written report about the health check, with recommendations about matters covered by the health check; and
- offering the patient’s carer (if any, and if the medical practitioner considers it appropriate and the patient agrees) a copy of the report or extracts of the report relevant to the carer.
As part of a health check, a medical practitioner may work with the patient to develop a simple strategy for the good health of the patient. The strategy should identify any services the patient needs and the actions the patient, or parent or carer, can take. It should must be developed in collaboration with the patient, or parent or carer, and documented in the written report on the health check that is offered to the patient, and/or patient’s carer.
This health check MBS item may only be claimed by a medical practitioner (including a general practitioner but not including a specialist or consultant physician).
The medical practitioner may only undertake the health check, after the patient, their parent or carer, has been given an explanation about what is involved and has given their consent.
A practice nurse or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner or an Aboriginal Health Worker can assist the medical practitioner in the information collection stage of the health check and with providing patients with information about recommended interventions at the direction of the medical practitioner.
Restrictions on providing the health check for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
This health check is an annual service. The minimum time allowed between services is nine (9) months. This allows flexibility for very remote communities, where medical practitioner visits may be less frequent and may make it more difficult to follow a consistent schedule of health checks.
This MBS Item does not apply for services that are provided by any other Commonwealth or State funded services. However, where an exemption under subsection 19(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 has been granted to an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service or State/Territory Government health clinic, the MBS item can be claimed for services provided by medical practitioners salaried by or contracted to, the service or health clinic so long as all requirements of the item are met.
Medical practitioners should not conduct a separate consultation in conjunction with a health assessment unless it is clinically necessary (ie. the patient has an acute health problem that needs to be managed separately from the check).
This health check item is not available to people who are in-patients of a hospital or care recipients in a residential aged care facility.
Guidelines and Resources
Medical practitioners are encouraged to utilise relevant guidelines and resources, such as:
- Information about MBS primary care items at the MBS Primary Care Items webpage.
- The Services Australia (Medicare) provider enquiry line on 132 150.
- Item descriptors and explanatory notes at MBS Online.
- The health check templates are available at the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners website.