New MBS tool ‘just what the doctor ordered’

Matt Woodley

9/12/2020 3:21:27 PM

The RACGP’s new interactive resource will make it easier for GPs to navigate the increasingly complex Medicare Benefits Schedule.

Screenshot of MBS tool
The interactive tool allows GPs to search for and access specific MBS item numbers and descriptors.

The RACGP-developed tool allows users to enter clinic fees for Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) services, calculate patient out-of-pocket contributions and print hard copies.
Users will also be able to create custom lists of items they use in their practice, while the tool will be updated whenever there are changes to MBS items.
Dr Emil Djakic, GP and Deputy Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Funding and Health System Reform (REC–FHSR), told newsGP the resource is designed to be an ‘intelligent’ digital tool that is more compatible with the way GPs want to use software.
‘Paper-based documents in databases, which get updated once a year, don’t really have much of a role in our general practice MBS world anymore because things keep changing,’ he said.
‘The complexity of the MBS has increased, so the ability for us to retain in our heads all of the necessary numbers and values has become a more difficult task.
‘I think it’s just what the doctor ordered, which is a functional MBS access tool that’s been organised specifically for general practice and has the appropriate links built into it.’
The online tool has four components:

Each page contains step-by-step instructions on how to use the tool, and its usage will be monitored in conjunction with member feedback in order to help inform future improvements.
Dr Djakic said the ability to transition from the tool directly to the MBS’ own website via a link attached to each item number is a ‘big leap’ as it will allow GPs to read the descriptor in detail.
‘More and more in general practice, we’re finding that we just need every now and then to refresh ourselves as to exactly what the wording is surrounding some of our item numbers, because complexity has escalated,’ he said.
‘The RACGP has listened to members … [and] I see it as something that will be resident on GPs’ desktops and will prove very valuable.’
In addition to the online tool, the RACGP has developed a number of other resources designed to help manage and enhance the business side of general practice, including a General Practice Business Toolkit that includes a billing calculator to help GPs consider how practice billing affects their income and the lifestyle they wish to achieve.
Members are able to submit feedback on the new MBS tool via a short survey, or by emailing suggestions or queries directly to the Funding and Health System Reform team via
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MBS Medicare Medicare Benefits Schedule

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