Make your voice heard on specialist attendance item changes: AMA


By David Rowley

23 Apr 2019

The largest proposed overhaul of MBS items for specialists and consultant physicians in decades needs input from “all concerned clinicians”, AMA president Dr Tony Bartone says.

In a letter to AMA members, Dr Bartone described the comprehensive restructuring of attendance items proposed in the  Specialist and Consultant Physicians Consultation Clinical Committee report, released in February, as “far-reaching”. And, apparently concerned its implications might not be fully appreciated, he stressed “the message about this report must be spread further”.

The report’s proposed major reforms, including a move away from initial and subsequent consultations, would cut across all specialties, he said.

Its key elements include:

  • a shedding of more than 60% of attendance items
  • a new, more GP-like time-based attendance fee structure with five different time tiers
  • an incentive payment to increase My Health Record uptake and use
  • removal of the current 50% telehealth loading
  • new telehealth attendance items
  • a new, simplified three category framework for case conferencing items
  • use of more data to inform patients of clinical practice variations between institutions and individual providers, out of pocket fees and clinical outcomes

“These recommendations have the potential to impact not just specialists and consultant physicians, but also their patients,” wrote Dr Bartone.

Although the consultation is currently open for submissions until May 17, 2019 and taskforce head Professor Bruce Robinson has already called for input from physicians, Dr Bartone said the AMA was advocating for more time to allow the profession to respond.

“The report will require a response from all concerned clinicians,” he said, urging them to respond directly to the Health Department while imploring the membership to also highlight the report for their relevant college, association or society.

“Such critical proposed reforms need all voices to be heard,” he said.

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