AMA releases suggested MBS item numbers for PCEHR work

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has devised its own list of items to be added to the Medicare Benefits Schedule to adequately recompense doctors for the work it says will be required to prepare and manage a shared health summary for the PCEHR.

The item numbers start from $53 for “professional service initiated by the patient and rendered by a medical practitioner” to prepare or manage a shared health summary for the patient’s PCEHR of not more than 15 minutes duration.

It is asking for new items to be set at $104 for a service of more than 15 minutes but less than 30 minutes; $154 for more than 30 minutes but less than 45 minutes; and $210 for a service of more than 45 minutes duration.

AMA president Steve Hambleton said in a statement that the government had not created new items for doctors’ time and work with patients on the PCEHR and had not allocated any new funding in the MBS to cover this new clinical service to be provided by doctors.

“The public announcements from the government suggest that patients will only get a Medicare rebate if the shared health summary is prepared as part of an existing MBS consultation,” Dr Hambleton said.

“GPs are being asked to do more work in their consultations for no reward. We have sought more information and clarification but no formal public response has been forthcoming.”

A spokesperson for the Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, has confirmed to Pulse+IT that there was no extra funding as part of her announcement that GPs could claim the longer consultation item numbers when preparing a patient's shared health summary.

Dr Hambleton said the AMA had “taken the initiative to give doctors and their patients some certainty by setting items that realistically reflect the time, the work and the expertise required to ensure that shared health summaries are thorough, up-to-date, and useful across health care settings”.

“The items provide guidance to AMA members on medical fees for this important clinical service for their patients,” he said. “It is not a recommended fee. The AMA encourages its members to set their own fees based on their practice cost experience.

“The AMA items are time-tiered and can be billed in addition to any consultation that is provided to the patient on the same day.

“The AMA is a strong supporter of the PCEHR and the benefits for patients and the healthcare system – but we have to get it right the first time.”

Pulse+IT has requested a comment from the minister's office and the Department of Health and Ageing.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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