MBS Reviews: General Practice and Primary Care Clinical Committee
This week, AMA Council of General Practice Chair, Dr Richard Kidd, presented to the MBS Reviews’ General Practice and Primary Care Clinical Committee (GPPCCC) meeting to discuss MBS funding for GP attendances at residential aged care facilities (RACFs).
Dr Kidd provided feedback on the existing barriers that GPs experience when visiting patients who reside in RACFs. MBS rebates do not properly compensate GPs for the high value care they provide, or the opportunity cost of leaving their practice. Patients in aged care are now frailer, with more complex care needs. This means that providing medical care in RACFs can be time-consuming and challenging. Dr Kidd discussed that significant non-face-to-face time is involved for each patient that is not compensated for, such as travel time, talking to relatives, and discussing issues with RACF staff on the telephone while in the surgery.
The 2017 AMA Aged Care Survey showed that inadequate MBS rebates is a major influence for GPs to avoid visiting RACFs, which has likely led to increased unnecessary hospital admissions and delayed quality care for older people.
Dr Kidd strongly represented the interests of AMA GP members involved with aged care, and called for increased MBS rebates for GP RACF attendances, telehealth consultation items for GPs, and for the Practice Incentive Program (PIP) Aged Care Access Incentive (ACAI) to remain.
The AMA is continuing to advocate for adequate resourcing in aged care to ensure equitable access to medical care for older people. The AMA released its Resourcing aged care position statement earlier this week.