First AskMBS advisory shines a light on general practice

Anastasia Tsirtsakis

4/03/2020 2:38:14 PM

GPs and practice managers now have easy access to advice on commonly asked questions regarding the MBS.

GP at computer
The first AskMBS advisory includes topics that have been identified from common enquiries submitted by GPs.

GPs and practice managers seeking advice on interpretation of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items and rules will now have easy access to frequently asked questions thanks to an advisory launched by the Department of Health’s (DoH) AskMBS.
The first AskMBS advisory, now available to download, includes ‘hot’ topics that have been identified from common enquiries submitted by GPs and covers the period from 1 March to 31 December 2019. 
Topics covered include:

  • bulk billing (additional charges and split billing)
  • chronic disease management (GP Management Plans)
  • GP Mental Health Treatment Plans
  • GP health assessments
  • residential aged care facility flag-fall items.
In addition to general practice services, the AskMBS email service also provides responses to queries surrounding dental services, pathology and diagnostic imaging, as well as the Health Insurance Act and associated regulations.
The DoH’s decision to make general practice the key focus of the first AskMBS advisory comes after the topic was identified as a consistently dominant theme among enquiries received.
The advisory also includes metrics on the performance of AskMBS against key performance indicators. In the period March–December 2019, AskMBS responded to 72.8% of enquiries within 10 working days, with an average response time across all enquiries of nine working days – a significant wait time for GPs and practice managers who require a prompt response, highlighting the advisory as a step forward.
The RACGP has repeatedly called for better education for GPs to help prevent any errors or misunderstandings in interpretation of Medicare items, as seen in the college’s submission to the Australian National Audit Office’s Managing health provider compliance audit.
Future AskMBS advisories will be published on a quarterly basis, as well as ad hoc if a need is identified. Each advisory will focus on a particular provider group, area of practice, or other subjects as identified through frequently asked questions received by the email advice service.
GPs should note that some of the information in the AskMBS advisory is broad in nature, reflecting responses to a range of enquiries. The DoH has advised providers to contact AskMBS for clarification of any specific issues.
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AskMBS Medicare Benefits Schedule

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A.Prof Christopher David Hogan   5/03/2020 11:17:07 PM

Why are they providing this service now when we have been asking for it since Medicare came in ?
Does it have anything to do with matters soon to be before the High Court?

Dr Jitendra Natverlal Parikh   5/07/2020 9:54:02 PM

This advisory service is available for long time You may have to wait but it is good to check
1 item number for various services
2 Rejected items and reason
3 checking eligibility for say care plan etc
4 Checking on patients medicare number
They all will put us first through 3 rd degree interrogation first