Which July Medicare changes will impact GPs?

Jolyon Attwooll

27/06/2023 3:52:55 PM

With the new financial year almost upon us, newsGP sums up the key changes to MBS item numbers from the beginning of next month.

Calendar saying July 1.
A number of changes to MBS items will come into effect shortly.

The end of the financial year is traditionally a time for changes to MBS items that GPs need to be aware of, and the final days of 2022–23 are no exception.
While some of the big announcements in the Federal Budget last month will not kick in until November – with the tripling of the bulk billing incentive the most prominent example – a number of changes will come into effect as of 1 July.
From telehealth item extensions to the rise in the annual fee indexation, here are the key details.
Indexation of MBS items

From 1 July 2023, an annual fee indexation of 3.6% will be applied to most MBS items relevant to general practice.
Below are the new rebates for standard consultation items:

  • Item 3, level A: $18.85 (was $18.20)
  • Item 23, level B: $41.20 (was $39.75)
  • Item 36, level C: $79.70 (was $76.95)
  • Item 44, level D: $117.40 (was $113.30)
The RACGP’s Medicare Benefits Schedule online tool will be updated on 1 July to reflect the indexation.
Rebates for other MBS items can also be found by downloading and viewing the updated XML file on the MBS website here.
Mental health case conferencing services

New items designed to facilitate mental health case conferences involving patients treated under the Better Access initiative or an eating disorder treatment and management plan will also be introduced as of 1 July.
Six of the items are aimed at GPs either organising and coordinating a mental health conference or participating in one as part of a multidisciplinary team.
They are:
  • items 930, 933 and 935 for attendance by a GP to organise and coordinate a mental health case conference
  • items 937, 943, 945 for attendance by a GP to participate in a mental health case conference as part of multidisciplinary team.

Plastic and reconstructive surgery items

From 1 July 2023 around 360 MBS items for plastic and reconstructive surgery services will change. Four will have a direct impact on general practice: 

  • Items 30003 and 30006, which will have their descriptions amended
  • Item 30007 will be created, for use in burns covering 10% or more of the body’s surface
  • Item 45201 is also being amended so it can be performed in association with MBS items 31378, 31380 and 31383
Descriptions for the new items can be found in this new MBS fact sheet and MBS mapping document.
More information about changes to skin excision and skin flap items are also in this MBS fact sheet.
Temporary MBS item extensions

GP telehealth items for blood-borne viruses, sexual reproductive health services, and non-directive pregnancy counselling have been extended until 31 December.
It follows lobbying from the RACGP for their continuation.
The Department of Health and Aged Care (DoH) has also said the items will remain exempt from the ‘established clinical relationship’ rule, as is the case with GP nicotine cessation items and temporary COVID-19 related telehealth measures.

Affected item numbers relevant to GPs include:
  • items 92138 and 92136 for phone attendances by a GP registered with the Chief Executive Medicare for providing non‑directive pregnancy support counselling
  • items 92715, 92718, 92721, 92724 for GP telehealth attendances involving any of the following have been extended: taking a short patient history; arranging any necessary investigation; implementing a management plan; providing appropriate preventive healthcare
  • items 92731, 92734, 92737, 92740 for GP phone attendances involving the same processes outlined above.
A review is taking place, which will inform whether the items will be extended beyond 2023.
Heart health assessment item extended
Most of the MBS extensions are short-term, going until 31 December this year, but the temporary item number for a heart health assessment has been funded until 30 June 2025.
Its details are:
  • item 699 for a patient aged 30 years of age or over for a heart health assessment by a GP lasting at least 20 minutes.
A summary of the MBS changes that came into effect in March this year is also available.
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Dr Jean-Marc De Maroussem   28/06/2023 7:06:56 AM

No mention of item 11700 (ECG recording and analysis) being reviewed and reintroduced?

Dr Siva Kumar Raju Muppala   28/06/2023 12:18:56 PM

Hi RACGP, You have been advocating the importance of the long consultations throughout the year. But in fact the changes in November going to be advantageous to the doctors who conduct short consultations. Same bulk billing incentive to short and long consultations ( if the doctor able
To do 2 short consultations in 20 minutes, he can claim 2 bulk bill Incentives). It is reasonable to have adequate incentive to do long consultations. I hope our doctors are aware of what’s been happening .