GP Network News Issue 12 Number 41

22 Oct 2012

MBS Rebates Fail to Keep Pace with the True Value of Quality Medical Care

The new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) patient rebates, to apply from 1 November 2012, fail dismally to reflect the true value of quality medical care in Australia. The new MBS patient rebate for a standard GP consultation is $36.30, an increase of just 70 cents.

AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, said there is a significant and growing disconnect between MBS fees and the realistic cost of providing the services and this is shifting higher costs to patients.

The AMA List of Medical Services and Fees better reflects the value of quality medical care and what is occurring at the coalface of health service delivery. The new AMA recommended fee for a standard GP consultation is $71, up from $69 in 2011.

This year, AMA fees have been indexed, on average, by 3 per cent to reflect increasing practice costs such as staff wages, and operating expenses such as rent, electricity, computers and professional insurance. This compares with the Labour Price Index of 3.65 per cent and CPI of 1.75 per cent.

View the full press release here.

GP Referred MRI effective 1 November 2012

The AMA has lobbied hard for GPs to be able to order MRIs for patients. In the 2011-12 Federal Budget funding was allocated and from 1 November 2012, GPs will be able to order MRIs for under 16 year olds for the following:

  • a scan of head for any of the following: unexplained seizure(s); unexplained headache where significant pathology is suspected; paranasal sinus pathology which has not responded to conservative therapy.
  • a scan of spine following radiographic examination for any or the following: significant trauma; unexplained neck or back with associated neurological signs; unexplained back pain where significant pathology is suspected.
  • a scan of knee following radiographic examination for internal joint derangement.
  • a scan of hip following radiographic examination for any of the following: suspected septic arthritis; suspected slipped capital femoral epiphysis; suspected perthes disease
  • a scan of elbow following radiographic examination where a significant fracture or avulsion injury is suspected that would change the way in which the patient is managed.
  • a scan of wrist following radiographic examination where scaphoid fracture is suspected

The GP referred MRI items will be further expanded from 1 November 2013.

GP Super Clinics Evaluation

In Australian Medicine Online this week, Dr Brian Morton, Chair of the AMA’s Council of General Practice, reviewed a recent evaluation of the GP Super Clinic Program, conducted for the Department of Health and Ageing. This evaluation has not delivered the glowing report card that the Government would have hoped for. Click here to see why.

AMA Council of General Practice

The AMA Council of General Practice (AMACGP) at its meeting held in Canberra last weekend discussed a range of issues including the draft national framework for primary health care. The draft framework, while recognising the central role of general practice, fails to acknowledge the need for improved funding for primary care.

Other issues discussed over the weekend included the increasing role of private health insurers in primary care, the need to better recognise quality general practice, barriers to GPs teaching, and ongoing issues with the introduction of the PCEHR.

Accessing the AMA List of Medical Services and Fees - 1 November 2012

The AMA List of Medical Services and Fees (AMA List), effective 1 November 2012, provides guidance to AMA members in setting their fees, based on their practice costs. It has been produced and distributed to all members listed as being in private practice or with rights of private practice, and to salaried members who have ordered a copy.

To access the List from the AMA website simply enter your username and password in the box on the right hand side of the home page and follow these steps:

  1. Once you have entered your login details, from the home page go to Members Benefits at the top of the page.
  2. Under AMA Member Benefits, select AMA List of Medical Services and Fees link.
  3. For the Fees List, select option 1, AMA List of Medical Services and Fees - 1 November 2012.
  4. Download either or both the CSV (for importing into practice software) and PDF (for viewing) versions of the AMA List.

A Fees Indexation Calculator (option 13) is also available for members to calculate their own fee increase based on their individual cost profile.

The AMA Fees List Online Database (option 12), where members can view, print or download individual items or groups of items to suit their needs, will be updated as at 1 November 2012.

AMA members, can also access the AMA List of Medical Services and Fees and other relevant tools via the GP Desktop Practice Support Toolkit.

We welcome your comments and suggestions as well. Please tell us what you think.

GP Desktop Practice Support Toolkit

The AMA Council of General Practice has developed a resource that brings together in one place all the forms, guidelines, practice tools, information and resources used by general practitioners in their daily work.

The GP Desktop Practice Support Toolkit, which is free to members, has links to around 300 commonly used administrative and diagnostic tools, saving GPs time spent fishing around trying to locate them.

It is available free for AMA members and can be uploaded onto the desktop.

In this issue

AMA is the peak medical organisation in Australia representing the profession’s interests to Government and the wider community. Your Federal AMA General Practice Policy team can be contacted via email or by phone (02) 6270 5400. You can unsubscribe from GPNN by emailing